Last night, The Sisters of Mercy cancelled their sold-out Lisbon show whilst the audience stood in expectation with the lights down and the intro tape running. Mr Taylor was at the hospital and unable to perform after fainting. Can you imagine? I’m not sure if I have been at a show that didn’t happen before, I’ve had tickets for shows I didn’t make, David Bowie‘s Glass Spider tour in California (ill), Led Zeppelin at Earls Court, London 1973 (dad wouldn’t let me go because Scotland were playing England the same night). Once I had tickets to see The Tubes at Liverpool Empire, but Fee Waybill had ridden his motorbike off stage at a previous gig, so the tour was cancelled.
The day began with more rain, I don’t mind, but it’s always a shame not to see the café deck open at our front gate. Our friend Lars and his daughter Kaya were coming to see us in The Archive. The night before they’d been in Lisbon helping Jorge and Xana, the promoters at the gig that never happened. They arrived and found a park right outside and the first question was is tonight’s Sisters of Mercy gig in Porto going to happen? It was also sold out with a capacity of 1000 people. Lars didn’t know, no one knew till the moment of truth – would Andrew walk on stage?
We met him once, he came backstage at a gig we did in London. I’m not sure if I remember this correctly, but I think it was the Camden Underworld. When I joined AAE, Tim Bricheno who I replaced, joined Sisters of Mercy for the Vision Thing album. It was to be their last studio album, so far, it’s been 33 years, but they play new songs live, they just don’t record and release them.
We went across to the café for a coffee as the deck was wet. Whilst there, one of the customers alerted me to the fact that someone was at our gate. It was Nuno, our ex-landlord, André the agent that found us the place and three of Nuno’s staff from his design studio at the end of the street. They came to see The Archive’s renovation progress, they loved it, everyone loves it except for one thing – the records aren’t there yet! March is the date and we will be trying to raise the money to make it happen – and then everyone is invited.
Olivia was going out for dinner with the girl who had been helping her put her poetry book out (Sleep for Dessert). She was going to join me later at the gig that might not be happening. I had a sesh with sessioner Mike in Chicago and then a long talk with Sarah in Dallas before I had to leave for the Hard Club, uncertain if I was going to see a band or not.
It was packed, hot inside and the performance time was minutes away. Still, everyone was unsure if the show would happen, everyone in the audience knew that the Lisbon gig had been cancelled. Suddenly the lights went down, the intro music came on, and everyone crossed their fingers, this was the time that the show was cancelled in Lisbon. Would there be a concert tonight or not?
Then, there they were, the usual unrevealing backlighting, beams of green light, Doc Avalanche and two grungy guitar players. The singer appeared, kind of, and it was on. In Berlin, they managed half an hour, so even seeing the show start didn’t guarantee the full set. As it happened, we saw the whole show – new songs, peppered with crowd favourites Dominion, More, Temple of Love, Lucretia My Reflection and This Corrosion as a finale. The audience sang all the words to the songs they knew and clapped the songs they didn’t. The vocal was low in the mix and the audience filled in for the missing melodies. People love it.