98 Tour Reports

98 Tour Reports


These are my personal observations of the dates on the tour. They are very
subjective so probably worthless but I am happy to share them with you. It is
safe to say I thought every gig great so don't expect any musical comment from
me. I enjoyed the gigs completely as a fan and that is why the atmosphere at the
Sendia gig made that my favourite of the tour. If any one who went to a gig
wants to write reviews for me I would love to add them

Tour Dates



October 24th Sat Bears, Epsom, London

November 1st Sun Kings Head Putney, London (closest tube Putney Bridge)

November 3rd Tues Dean Swift, Commerical Road, Aldgate East, London

November 4th Wed Royal Standard- Walthamstow, London

November 9th Mon Macana, Sendai

November 10th Tue Banana Hall, Osaka

November 11th Wed Bottom Line, Nagoya

November 12th Thu Club Citta, Kawasaki


Praying Mantis – Bears Epsom 24 Oct 1998

Bruce's Homemade poster for the gig

I don't think l have ever gone to a gig so on edge. I have no logical
explanation for it. But l guess 17 years without ever having seen them play live
builds up a lot of desire (Let's face it l have also got to be slightly of my
head to have decided I will be attempting the Japanese what with the expense and
my ill health) I have of course seen the Captured Alive In Tokyo City video and
in my view that was great. But tonight's gig is the first of four UK warm up
gigs and I have no real idea of what the venue will be like. l expect it to be
small hopefully with a little stage but who knows? As for the Audience I again
find it hard to imagine. A couple of fans have said they will be going but will
their be a local turn out or just friends and family of the band? I doubt there
will have been much publicity.


I am also curious to see how Tino and Dennis will mess around when there is
unlikely to be any room or point to them dashing about in there usual style.


I will find out in six hours I guess


– – – – –


Well What a cracker!


Bears in Epsom is a typical UK pub that has bands in. I suspect the most it
will hold is 100-150 in the corner is a triangular stage area about 4 Metres by
4 Metres. As is to be expected there are six members of the band tonight. The
addition for the tour being Leon Lawson on keyboards. As the band were settling
up they must have blown the circuit about 10 times. Tony, Bruce, Chris, Tino

This created a slightly tense atmosphere and people were wondering if they
would get chance to play at all. It was eventually worked out that Leon's
keyboard rig was the problem and he was therefore reduced to one keyboard for
the night. Never mind it still sounded good to me.


There were about 50-70 people in the place. Some locals but mainly friends of
the band and two people from the internet Ger Lemmens from Holland and Derrick
Sheldon who discovered the gig was happening two days before.


With the problems setting up the band had to adjust the balance and volume as
they went along. The volume overall was really too loud for a pub but it was
good for the band to get out and play to some real people.


Leon Lawson, Dennis, Tony, Chris

Having just interviewed Bernie Shaw and hearing all his comments about Tino
"Dripping charisma" and doing any thing for a performance it came as no real
surprise to me that Tino was the putting his all into it even if it meant
bouncing up and down on the spot due to lack of room. This in turn rubbed of on
Chris. I was really amazed at how much concentration Bruce puts into his
playing. It was clearly visible on his face throughout . I mentioned this to him
and this was apparently because he was trying to play quietly. Tony sang really
well but neither he or Dennis were in Tino's arena performance mode. There
approach was what you would expect with the lack of space in a little pub.


The music was every thing l hoped it would be and I let myself get into. Roll
on next Sunday at the Kings Head Putney!


One further thing the band were very tolerant and allowed Ger and me flash
away on our cameras they even posed for us. Gers photos should be better than
mine as he was moving round to get his. I will no doubt be adding some to the
pages before I go to Japan. They also patiently signed all our CD sleeves.


Ger Lemmens and Derrick Sheldon

Set List


Wasted years

The Messiah

The Man Behind The Mask

A Cry For The New World

Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark

Rise Up Again

Turn The Tables

Best Years

Can't See The Angels

Children of The Earth

Lettin' Go

Praying Mantis – Kings Head Putney 1 Nov 1998


Group Shot

Chris had indicated this would be a better gig for people to attend. From
that I figured the venue would probably be a dedicated Band room and that it
might hold several hundred. When I got to the venue (1hr later than I intended
due to traffic) I was pleased to see the band had a proper stage set up
including monitors. I had been told by the venue the band might go on and play
around 8.30pm. Since I got there at 9pm I was pleased they did not go on until
9.30.

Derrick's daughter Nikki,Derrick Sheldon, Yoko, Ko Yamada, Rick Gillyon

It also gave me a bit of time to meet the fans I know through the net. Yoko
had traveled over from New York as I expected but when I met her she introduced
me to Ko Yamada. He had come over from Tokyo just for this gig. He has been
quite a good contact for me in Japan helping to keep me up to date with news
articles and TV appearances. I had no idea he was coming over so I was
absolutely gobsmacked to meet him. Derrick Sheldon had made the gig again this
time bringing his daughter along. Rick Gillyon from Tyne & Wear and also made
with gig with his brother. This therefore made an interesting start to the
evening for me. The audience overall I would guess was only 50 but I saw no sign
of any advertising and I don't think the band had as many people along this
time.

BruceTony, Bruce and Chris

TinoRight
now for the music. Well I was extremely happy to have seen the band at Epsom but
this gig was so much better. Everyone was a lot more relaxed and confident about
the sound. I think I will work left to right. Leon Lawson had his full keyboard
set up tonight. And the Venue had a dry ice machine which was behind him and
kept making Dennis and Leon disappear. I have to say I did not really notice
what he was playing so much tonight. I was just enjoying the overall
presentation. Dennis was a lot more relaxed and into it tonight and did not let
a broken guitar string during the first number put him off. The band did have to
take five to give him time to sort it out. Tony have some effects on his voice
tonight and he really let rip. I thought he was having to hold back a lot at
Epsom because of the sound and volume problems and this proved it. There was
still no room for running around on stage etc. so it is still difficult to see
exactly what Tony's stage manner is going to be like. He was certainly a lot
more expressive with the Mic stand and his hands tonight though. Bruce still
looked very concentrated. And I have to confess I did not pay much attention to
him tonight either. Chris seemed to be a lot more up for this gig from the start
and at first I thought Tino seemed a little subdued but I think I was probably
just remembering how up for it he was towards the end of Epsom. IE it was just a
problem with my preception. I sat probably 10m back from the band this time. At
Epsom it was probably 1m. It is surprising how even that sort of distance
changes affects perception. I think that is why I was watching the band more as
an overall entity and not so much as individuals.

The band played much the same set as they had at Epsom. The did do two
numbers different both of the last album and nothing of Time Tells No Lies. Tony
dedicated three songs tonight. One each to Yoko and Ko and one to a friend that
sadly died before last Saturday before making it to a gig that I know he was
looking forward too. I was very moved that they should do this for him. I am
sure he would have been very happy.

Leon Lawson, Dennis, Tony

Set List


Wasted years

The Messiah

A Cry For The New World

Remember My Name

Valley Of The Kings

Rise Up Again

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

Turn The Tables

Best Years

Lettin' Go

Can't See The Angels

Dean Swift Aldgate London – 3rd Nov 1998


Tony, Chris, Tino

This is apparently Dennis's local pub and from the posters he plays here in a
band called the Clangers most Sundays. I was expecting I will find it hard to
find things to say about each gig but each gig so far has had a completely
different character.

Bruce and Dennis

Bruce

The swift is a very small pub. Basically the room is an oblong with a
squarish bar section in the centre of the long side and a slight raised area on
the other length. I guess at most it was 2-3m deep so the band were spaced out
along its length. I was sat at the side of the room so I could not really see
Tino or Chris. It was back to a basic pub set up again so there was no echo on
Tony. Leon did get to use all his keyboards though. Since I was sat right behind
him I got a very good view of what he had to play which was nice. Being Dennis's
local the crowd was very receptive and seemed to contain a lot more Rocker/Biker
types. Dennis's also bought his son Jack along. He also did more of the between
song chat and seemed happy. Tony seems to be getting more relaxed and again was
able to scream without fear of being too loud. Bruce was facing in Chris's
direction so I could not see how much fun he was having and from the little I
could see of Tino and Chris they were having a good time as you would expect.
This was defiantly the most photographed gig. The crowd of I guess 70 really
enjoyed it. At one point even an old guy went up front and had a drunken dance
around.


Leon Lawson

The band have now a rough idea of the running order of the set and we were
treated to two more songs not played so far this time. One thing is for sure I
don't think anyone will guess the set list. It has certainly surprised me. It is
excellent just surprising. It is beginning to look like this tour should be
sub-named the "Bruce wrote this" tour as that is becoming the standard joke 🙂

Set List



Wasted years

The Messiah

A Cry For The New World

Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark

Remember My Name

Valley Of The Kings

——


Rise Up Again

Forever In Time

Turn The Tables

The Day The Sun Turned Cold

Best Years

Can't See The Angels

Children of The Earth

Lettin' Go

Praying Mantis – Royal Standard 4 Nov 1998


This was a very good venue for the last warm up gig. The Standard was the
biggest venue they had played and is what I would call a rock house. I reckon
the place could hold 400-500 people and tonight must have had 200-300. The venue
had a good set of PA equipment, lights and monitors. It also had some room on
stage so tonight we experienced Tino's first run down to Dennis's position.
Chris and Tony helping Tino get his Guitar on after a quick change

I suspect the crowd were mainly neutral rock fans and while they seemed to enjoy
it but I thought the crowd at the Dean Swift piped them overall on volume. The
set list was the some as the previous night with one exception they came back
and played Smoke on the water as a final, final encore. They did not start
playing until 9.40 so I was very surprised when the decided to break the set
into two halves again. That meant the and 2nd set did not start until around
11pm and I am sure the crowd had thinned down a bit (perhaps because they have
work to go to etc? I struggle to believe it would be because of the music but I
was interested to hear not all Mantis fans like Tony's vocals. I think the
majority do though). The ones that remained however were really into it. I
noticed a lot of the same faces from the Dean Swift and Dennis had bought Jack
again. He and a friend of Dennis's had been head banging all night and during
the last number of the official set list Dennis tried to get Jack to join him on
Stage. Jack was to shy so a couple of Dennis's mates worked on him for a few
minutes and he finally went up. The crowd had really warmed up by end of the
encores and still wanted more hence for a laugh they did a totally unrehearsed
Smoke. Bruce had actually started going into the audience before he realised
another encore was required. There was a good 20 people up the front head
banging and dancing to this.

Dennis and son JackDave Potts

There were rumours Gary Barden and Phil Moog might attend I don't know if
they did but some one who was in the crowd was Dave Potts. He was happy to give
me his phone number so when I recover from Japan I will interview him. Overall
it was a cracking gig and now it is Japan's turn!


Set List


Wasted years

The Messiah

A Cry For The New World

Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark

Remember My Name

Valley Of The Kings

Rise Up Again

——


Forever In Time

Turn The Tables

The Day The Sun Turned Cold

Best Years

Can't See The Angels

Children of The Earth

Lettin' Go

——


Smoke on the water

Sendai Ma.ca.na



Wow this place is small I would be surprised if it is bigger than the Dean
Swift after the bar area is removed. Mind you there is a lot of equipment. I
reckon 70-100 lights. The stage I think is about the size of Walthamstow. I went
into the gig about 10 minutes before the start and was amazed at how full the
place was. It was packed.

The place holds 200 and 150 tickets were pre-sold so I guess 200 were there .
And very enthusiastic they were to. They were singing and arm waving all night.
It was great to see how different Mantis were to such a friendly crowd. From the
moment they stepped out on the stage they were a different band to the one in
the UK. Dennis and Tony in particular but Tino and Chris too. Even Leon was able
to look up from his keyboards more. I again forgot to look to see how Bruce was
looking.


Set List


Wasted years

The Messiah

A Cry For The New World

Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark

Remember My Name

Valley Of The Kings

Rise Up Again

Forever In Time

Turn The Tables

The Day The Sun Turned Cold

Best Years

——


Children of The Earth

Can't See The Angels

——


Lettin' Go

Banana Hall – Osaka – 11 Nov 1998



This was a nice venue maybe 50m x 20m. The front 10m was standing only. Then
there was some normal height seating and then further back higher stools. The
crowd initially looked a little disappointing I believe about 220 tickets were
pre-sold. But by 7pm and show time the Audience looked more evenly spaced. I
believe there was still only 300 there though. I was expecting the gigs in Japan
to be about 1000 a show but never mind the show set up was a lot more
professional than in the UK so the venue size did not effect the show. Ticket
prices seem incredibly expensive at 6300 yen and a couple of fans I spoke to
before the show were complaining of this and wondering why Sendai had been 500
yen cheaper.

TonyTony

That's a Pick in Chris's MouthThe
stage here was full size so everyone was on radio leads and fully mobile. At one
point Tino even decided to go and play behind Bruce. The crowd were keen but I
suspect the Sendai atmosphere was better. It was difficult for me to gauge
though as I could not see anywhere suitable to sit in the main hall. I therefore
decide to watch the main set from the spotlight rigging about 10m in front of
the stage and in the ceiling. This made for a good view and I was able to
observe Leon and Bruce a lot more easily. I stupidly forgot to take my
painkillers to the gig so by the end of the main set my back was killing me and
I decided to go and stand for the encores that's when the change in the crowd
from earlier grabbed my attention. It is getting hard to comment on the bands
overall performance now as I enjoy them so much. I therefore won't try.

I clearly meet Masami Mizutani after the show as I took her card but it
doesn't have an E-mail address and I did not take a photo so I need reminding as
to why I got the card.

Set List


Wasted years

The Messiah

A Cry For The New World

Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark

Remember My Name

Valley Of The Kings

Forever In Time

Turn The Tables

The Day The Sun Turned Cold

Rise Up Again

Best Years

——


Children of The Earth

Can't See The Angels

——


Lettin' Go

Bottom Line Nagoya 11 Nov 1998



This gig was a very hard one for me to enjoy from my personal health level as
I had decided to rest from the extra painkillers I was taking while in Japan. I
was getting very fatigued by this gig so there was not enough adrenaline flowing
through my body until Tony, half way through the show, complained no one
upstairs was singing. Upstairs was closed to the public so I was the only fan up
there. This effectively personal comment had a remarkable effect on increasing
my enjoyment from that point on.

A New Pose For TinoLeon Lawson and Tino

The hall was much the same size and shape as Banana Hall except the stage was
length ways. The audience was not as big as it could have been. Nagoya is
apparently a tough city to play for a lot of bands. For some reason the fans
there aren't as keen on hard rock as in other places. The band did not let a
little thing like a disappointing crowd put them off though.

While the show was not quite up to the previous two nights for me Tino
commented after Tokyo he thought he had played better at the previous night so
it could well have been a better gig music wise. The sound was definitely better
though. Leon's keyboards have been struggling in the mix at times (IMO) but
tonight I could hear what he was playing. During Can't See The Angles Tony
surprised everyone, me included, by disappearing from the stage (still singing)
and reappearing upstairs. While everyone one was looking for him the band
switched the chorus to "Can't see Tony from here". At the end of the encore
Bruce got to wear Chris's bass guitar so he decided to give us a 'solo' in true
Bruce style.


Tony Looking At The Stage During Can't See The AngelsMr Bruce Bisland on the Bass

Set List


Wasted years

The Messiah

A Cry For The New World

Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark

Remember My Name

Valley Of The Kings

Forever In Time

Turn The Tables

The Day The Sun Turned Cold

Rise Up Again

Best Years

——


Children of The Earth

Can't See The Angels

——


Lettin' Go

Tokyo -Club Citta -12 Nov 98



Being the Final gig of the tour and by far the biggest I was very much
looking forward to this and I think the band were too. Anyone having seen the
Captured video or the TV special from an earlier tour will have seen the size of
Club Citta. I guess it is about 50m wide by 100M and holds just Over 1000
people. I believe there were 600-700 in tonight but from the stage it looked
full. The lights to me were the best of the tour but apparently not as good as
previous tours. Again the signs of the economy in Japan. It is probably a good
place to mention that the band were very unhappy with ticket prices. At most
gigs they seemed to be one of the most expensive on the forthcoming events
posters. The band have stated in an interview that next time they would like to
reduce their costs and therefore ticket prices. This assumes though that the
costs the band can effect are significant in the final ticket price. And I am
not sure they are.


TinoBruce on Bass again

The gig was being filmed so that it might be possible to show an MTV gig
review quality recorded song on Masa Itto's TV show. I have to confess I am slow
writing this gig up (it's the 16th today) so I am struggling to remember the
differences between this gig and previous ones. Looking at my photos I think one
was that at the start of one song Dennis and Tino decided to sit on the drum
riser to do their quite intro. Tony also decided to sit on the floor for
"Remember My Name" and on a Monitor for a latter song. There was a 1m gap
between the stage and the audience and on a couple of occasions Tony jumped into
the gap. The 2nd time walking from end to end shaking hands. The band enjoyed
Bruce's bass solo the previous night so they got him to do it again. There was
also a professional photographer at work for this gig. That is something I have
found really strange about the Japanese gigs. In England Photos aren't allowed
and cameras are often searched for but people still use flash cameras during
gigs. In Japan the same rules apply and yet I never saw one flash (except my
own). Does that mean people never take photos here or just that they wisely keep
their flash turned off to avoid attracting attention? Given Japan's reputation
for bootlegging I am sure Japanese fans can't be completely law abiding.

Taking it easyDennis Tony and Chris

Flame and Nobuo Suzuki and fianceeI
got to meet a 3 more of my e-mail contacts after this gig which was nice. I have
of course become aware of a lot more fans during my trip and hopefully I will
get to chat with a few by email. Some it has to be said a far more dedicated
than me waiting around for hours just to see the band for a signature at a train
station or Hotel etc. It amazes me how well the fans discover the bands
movements.


Set List


Wasted years

The Messiah

A Cry For The New World

Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark

Remember My Name

Valley Of The Kings

Forever In Time

Turn The Tables

The Day The Sun Turned Cold

Rise Up Again

Best Years

——


Children of The Earth

Can't See The Angels

——


Lettin' Go

I have heard that one of the UK venues was interested in having Mantis play
again soon so I might not have to wait for a new album to see the play again.
This is the first time the feedback in the UK has been so positive. A good sign
for the future I hope. The band have certainly been extremely happy and relaxed
on this tour and really want to get on with a new album to solidify what they
consider to be there strongest and hopefully most stable unit to date.

About

I have been a Praying Mantis fan since I first heard "Captured City" on Metal for Muthas. Time Tells No Lies has always been on of my favourite albums and I was overjoyed when I first discovered it was out on CD. I didn't know what had happened after the first album until in about 1994 I discovered "A Cry For The New World". I was worried about getting it as I thought it had to be a disappointment but I was wrong. I loved it and have followed the band and maintained this website ever since.

Posted in Live reviews, Picture Gallery

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