Brighton Chalk

Tonight The Mission is in Brighton for a warm-up gig at the start of their 2022 “Deja Vu 2022” European tour. The band has not played live for over two years and prior to tonight have been holed up deep in the Cornish countryside for their rehearsals. Firstly Wayne, Craig, and Simon have had to reacquaint themselves with each other and secondly, they had to break in their new drummer Alex Baum, who has been brought in to replace Mike Kelly who recently left the band.

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The support for this evening is Leeds band Salvation, who are old friends of The Mission’s and have supported them before on a number of occasions. Tonight the line-up is a little different as there is no rhythm section and this has been replaced by some electronica, which is refusing to work. After an agonizing, a collection of techs and roadies finally found the gremlin and get things working. Despite this minor setback, the band have the full support and patience of the audience, who all seem to relish the first number “The Answer” as the band kick-off. Their familiar sound breathes some life into the audience and gets the evening off to a fine start. The two guitarists show off their skills with some lovely atmospheric sounds, while singer Daniel provides some stirring vocals. The melodic tunes draw people to the stage as they arrive as most are caught off unaware to the early stage time of 6:45pm. Like with their recent live album the band deliver their version of Donavan’s “Sunshine Superman”; along with a splendid selection of their originals, which all resonate well within the crowd. Sadly due to the earlier technical problems the band have to end a song early, but they end on a high with “All & More” from their album “Sass” giving the evening the spirited warm-up it needs.

After a quick 20-minute changeover the epic instrumental “Tadeuz” from The Mission’s Children era starts up and this builds to a crescendo as the band take to the stage. The welcome from the fans is ecstatic and tonight feels like a hometown show and it’s like we have been waiting for a long time for tonight to arrive. Kicking off with “Beyond The Pale”, Wayne with his wondrous sounding twelve-string white Schecter guitars, and “Mr. Cool” Simon with his metal-fronted Zemaitis Custom guitar create the band’s distinctive atmospheric sound. The ever-dependable rock-solid Craig on bass shows his worth; working with the new young American Alex who appears to physically attack his task with much youthful enthusiasm, clearly pushing his new bandmates to up their game.

The Mission have never been a predictable band and with such a huge back catalogue to choose from, it’s anyone’s guess where the setlist will take us. With a core of over 60 tracks rehearsed for the tour, there was always bound to be a few surprises along the way. The first of these arrives as one of the newer tracks, the dark and mysterious “Fearful” before a journey back to the “God Is A Bullet” album with a rarely played epic track called “Grotesque” which goes down well with the faithful fans. Most of the more familiar tracks have had a few tweaks here and there to make them sound fresher, with audience favourites like “Severina”, “Wasteland” and “Blood Brother” causing plenty of dancing with abandonment.

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The encores soon arrive and the band has really found their stride, Wayne puts down his guitar and gives us his full frontman treatment with a powerful version of “Hungry as The Hunter”. With his customary bottle of wine in his hand, this 63-year-old body youthfully jumps across the stage whipping up the audience, just like he has always done since the band formed in 1986. As the lyrics in the next track “Swan Song” clearly state “There’s life left in this ol’ dog yet”, “There’s still gas left in this tank” “It ain’t over ’til it’s over until the fat lady sings” and there are definitely no fat lady’s singing yet!!

The evening ends with a poignant “Tower of Strength” and Wayne tells us that the recent “ReMission International” music celebrity-filled reissue of the track has raised over £100,000 for various charities. The song was adopted during the pandemic as an anthem by some NHS workers with the lyrics being as uplifting today as they were when the song was first written over 30 years ago. Sadly due to the venues strict rules the fans are not permitted to get on each other’s shoulders or build pyramids as is usually customary. The song however still resonates with the audience and does its job, ending the show in an immense way leaving the audience further elevated. This is just night one of a long tour to come with dates all over Europe leading to South America in the Autumn. If you haven’t got yourselves a ticket for one or more of the shows you better, as you’ll miss out on one hell of a show that these guys deliver.

The Mission
Intro Tadeusz
Beyond the Pale
Hands Across The Ocean
Into The Blue
Garden of Delight
Naked & Savage

Blood Brother
Hungry As The Hunter
Swan Song

Butterfly on A Wheel
The Crystal Ocean
Tower of Strength

The Answer
Paint it Rose
The October Hour
Sunshine Superman
Clearing (Out The Debris)
Pearl Necklace
The Shining
All & More



Words & Media by David Chinery
Pictures by Jon Musselwhite

The Mission