I’ve been to a lot of concerts in my life. Some, like INXS (before Michael Hutchence passed away) and Depeche Mode, I’ve seen multiple times. Others, I’ve only seen once.
This is one of the latter.
And, sadly, it’s also the only show I can honestly say I was pissed off about.
See, I’m not a huge Sisters of Mercy fan – I have a few favorite tunes, and have heard enough to know they sound awesome in a club and make great dancing music. I’d always wanted to see them live, but since they don’t tour in the US often (as far as I remember), I’d never had the chance. When they played a club tour back in the earlyish 2000s, you can bet I jumped at the chance to go.
If memory serves, it was Fall of 2005 – I had moved back from Los Angeles to Florida earlier that year – and decided to move back up to Atlanta after giving teaching a try (not one of my best fits work-wise.) It was also the year that I got to see Bauhaus in Ft. Lauderdale before I moved and Front 242 in Atlanta within weeks of Sisters of Mercy.
At any rate, it was an exciting time, because I never thought I’d get to see any of the three live. Ever.
I ended up going to the Sisters of Mercy show by myself, which isn’t a big deal – I’ve done that plenty and have zero qualms about it. (I always say, I’d never do anything if I balked at doing stuff alone.) I paid for my ticket, and between that and Atlanta parking, I paid near $70. I was running late (thanks to not being able to find parking), so missed part of the opening song (SOM is one of the only bands I’ve ever heard of who started a show exactly on time). None of that would have been a big deal had the show blown me out of the water.
I go to live shows to hear the music, yes, but to also watch the musicians do what they do best. I love watching them interact with their audience and watching the audience adore them in return. The love definitely spreads, and so I leave any concert feeling happy and fulfilled and upbeat.
I walked into the club and the smoke machine was in full force. All you could see onstage was smoke, an occasional glimpse of Andrew Eldritch’s bald head, and a balloon tied to the neck of the bass player’s bass. I thought surely the smoke would dissipate, but nope. I paid way too much money to sit and watch smoke for about an hour.
For all that, I could have stayed home, shut myself in my bedroom, put on Floodland, chain smoked, and spent the $70 on something else.
I still love the Sisters of Mercy songs I love, and Lucretia My Reflection is one of them. Despite the crappy live experience, I have great memories of Respectable Street Café and hearing the strains of Lucretia, or This Corrosion, or Dominion filter out over the speakers, and hitting the dance floor with my friends.
And despite the fact I keep in touch with very few people from the Respectable days, those memories are among the best, drama-filled, chaotic, and emotionally-charged memories I have.