The Mission Newcastle City Hall 1987 and 1988
I saw the Mission on four occasions during ’87 and ’88; three times at Newcastle City Hall, and supporting U2 at Edinburgh Murrayfield Stadium (in August 1987). They were a mesmerising live act, whose set included dark, heavy rock, psych, and some great cover versions. The first time I saw them was 20th March 1987 at the City Hall. The support act was All About Eve, who were to go on to achieve success in their own right. They opened with a great heavy-psych version of The Beatles “Tomorrow Never Knows”, which set the mood for the rest of the gig. Their own material was all jangling guitars, swirling rhythms, and dark, deep goth vocals from front man Wayne Hussey. He formed the Mission after spells with Pauline Murray’s Invisible Girls, and the Sisters of Mercy.
Hussey was simply a revelation on stage, there was a unique connection between him and the fans; he took control of the entire hall and everyone joined together in a swirling, sprawling mass of music and celebration. Wayne would dance around like a dervish, all in black, lots of jewelry, wearing a wide brimmed hat, sometimes throwing read roses into the audience. The stage set would feature dark, heavy imagery and the song titles themselves conveyed gothic messages from a darker world: “Serpent’s Kiss”, “Sacrilege”, “Blood Brother”: all quite deep, dark, doomy stuff (but great :)). There was a strong feeling of camaraderie at a Mission gig. The band had a group of intensely loyal fans, known as the Eskimos (not sure why ?), who travelled to every gig and were always down the front clambering on top of each other and diving on stage to dance with the band. The classic line-up was singer/ guitarist Hussey, bassist Craig Adams, lead guitarist Simon Hinkler and drummer Mick Brown. Live favourites of mine at the time were: a great cover of Free’s “Wishing Well”, the single “Severina” and “Serpents Kiss”. For the gig on 4th March 1988 the support act was Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, and on 29th November 1988 it was The Mighty Lemon Drops. These were wild, joyous, nights with a strong happy, family feel about them. There was a sense of occasion, of being part of something special and quite stunning; a oneness of band and audience, an intensity and passion; very very different to any other gigs at the time. The Mission were, without a doubt, one of the best live acts around during the late 80s. Set list from March 1987: Tomorrow never knows, Stay with me, Garden of delight, Like a hurricane, Let sleeping dogs die, Severina, Serpents kiss, Over the hills and far away, Sacrilege, wake, Blood brother, 1969, Love me to death, Wasteland, Wishing well, Shelter from the storm.
Setlist from March 1988: Beyond the pale, And the dance goes on, Like a hurricane, Child’s play, Serpents kiss, Garden of delight, Tower of strength, The crystal ocean, Dream on, Sacrilege, Wasteland, 1969, Wishing well, Blood brother, Love me to death, Shelter from the storm.
Setlist from November 1988: Wasteland, Serpents kiss, Severina, Belief, Stay with me, Kingdom come, Deliverance, Tower of strength, The crystal ocean, The grip of disease, Dream on, Sacrilege, 1969, Beyond the pale, Like a hurricane, Child’s play, Dancing barefoot, Gone to the devil (Hungry as the hunter), Shelter from the storm /
PS I found an explanation of the name “The Eskimos” on a forum. Apparently the group of fans was originally called “the Missionaries”. At one point when travelling through Europe, a customs guy called one of the group an “eskimo” when going throught a checkpoint, and the name stuck. Not sure that makes me any the wiser, however :).
Archive for the ‘All About Eve’ Category
The Mission Newcastle City Hall 1987 and 1988
All About Eve Newcastle City Hall 1988
Its taking me longer than I thought to work through my concert recollections. So far this year I’ve been blogging every day, jumping around concerts a little, but also working through the letter A, which I am almost (but not quite) through. I’ve left some bands that I’ve only seen once or twice to last…All About Eve makes me think of Martha’s Harbour and that fateful performance on Top of the Pops when the tape played away while the band sat motionless. That song, which was their biggest hit was in the charts when I saw them at the City Hall in 1988. I’d seen them a year or so before supporting The Mission at the same venue. I remember them as more melodic folk rock than being part of the goth genre, which is how they are often classified. Martha’s Harbour remains a classic beautiful song. I’m going to see UFO in Newcastle tonight, and I’m really looking forward to it.