The Mission - Live And Last
Album Review

The Mission – Live And Last

Last year in the spring, The Mission took to the stage at Shepherd’s Bush Empire for four evenings to finally call the curtain on a venture that has successfully brought music to us for the better part of the last 15 years. Each night was album specific (The First Chapter; God’s Own Medicine; Children; Carved in Sand).

This double-disc issue comes with a 15 track first disc, the second disc being more of a bonus track disc comprising of a very informative interview with Janis Long and four live tracks from a gig in Germany. Thankfully the four tracks are not repeats of anything from the first disc.
It’s a shame that so many live albums are cut and paste efforts. The CD blatantly starts after the opening of the show. Sometimes the opening of a show comes with a higher reward when you can hear a band coming on stage to rousing effect from the crowd. Here the crowd are already settled which does kind of feel like you walked in half way through a show and can’t soak up the atmosphere as they did at the start.

But that aside, the performances chosen for this disc are fine. Some of the musical work can range from workmanlike (and in some places, slightly rushed) to very energised. Live performances can sometimes speed up tracks a little for effect which works well when you are there, but on Disc it merely sounds like they are trying to get to the end of the song as fast as they can. Thankfully The Mission don’t bastardise any of the slower tracks (like the fine ‘Dance on Glass’) which need to take there time in order to have the right impact.

The best thing about this release is, of course, Wayne Hussey. His voice is still spot on after all these years performing. Despite it being a sad farewell to the band, it is at least good news that he his continuing to produce more material as a solo artist.

With only 15 tracks on the first disc, Completeists will be saddened by the lack of such Mission heavyweights as “Deliverance,” “Hands Across the Ocean,” “Into the Blue,” “Wasteland,” and even “Amelia.”

Of course every show must come to an end and this is with The Mission’s all time favourite to end on, and still debatably their best song, “Tower of Strength.” 80’s rock/Goth acts seem to each have a long anthem-esque song which you expect to hear at the end of a gig. The Cure have “A Forest” which clocks in anywhere between 5 and 7 minutes depending on which version you listen to. Tower of Strength album version is over 8. It opens slowly and builds and builds and takes left and right turns along the way and then slowly fades down. It’s a song that was born into the world as a big number. It’s also perfect for the crowd to follow and presents the right moments at the start of each chorus for the crowd to unite and cry out simply “TO ME!”

A song this big can also be worked and altered for live performance effect. The guitar can go off on tangents, openings can be built differently and it can be deconstructed differently towards the end as well which makes for a fitting send off for the band. Mission: Accomplished.

A DVD set is also due for release. One would only wish that it comprised the four shows in there entirety as it covers Hussey’s best works to date.

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