Last night, Ed, Frans and I went to the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam to see the opening performance of the Sisters of Mercy Smoke and Mirrors European tour. I’m afraid that I have to report that it was a dismal performance.
It might have been the acoustics, it might have been the sound engineers or it could just be that the SoM are past their prime. It could also be that live performances are just not their thing. During the performance, I moved around in the large hall to try and find an acoustic sweet spot, but to no avail. I also stood by the sound engineers to make sure that I heard the music as they were hearing it: it was still quite disappointing. The melody was not really distinguishable and Andrew Eldritch’s vocals were terribly weak, although there’s no mistaking that voice. In spite of having listened to most of their work more times than I can count, I sometimes had trouble identifying which song they were performing.
Judging by the low levels of enthusiasm and applause of the few thousand strong crowd, I was not the only one that was disappointed. I spoke to one or two strangers afterwards and they concurred that it had been sub-par. Even super-positive Frans (with clogs) had to admit that it was not up to standard even after having fought his way to the front so that he could listen to the on-stage monitors.
In June I am planning to go back to the Heineken Music Hall to see Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds live. This will be a good opportunity for a second judgement on the acoustics of the hall and consequently on last night’s performance. I’m also curious to see the Smoke and Mirrors reviews that should appear so that I can compare notes.
I’ve been a fan of the SoM for the last ten years. I will remain a fan in spite of last night.