Info → 2008 Tour                    

A sample setlist from the 2008 tour detailing the order of the songs, the vocalists for each one and what pedals to use on each song for the live musicians.

A sample setlist from the 2008 tour detailing the order of the songs, the vocalists for each one and what pedals to use on each song for the live musicians.

Typical Setlist Of 2008 Tour

Total Shows Played In 2008: 32

Duration Of 2008 Tour: 9th June - 14th September

The setlist this year underwent a big overhaul, with many songs that had been permanent fixtures in the past been dropped such as Black MeltFuture ProofFalse Flags,Hymn Of The Big Wheel and Group Four. In their place though was an exciting new list of songs which were been debuted for the first time (to a live audience or otherwise). Somewhat like the 1997 tour, Massive Attack would use the 2008 tour to showcase the upcoming tracks to be destined for what would be their next studio album,Heligoland. Seven brand new tracks were played for the first time this year (not including 16 Seeter, which had been played the year before on the Iberian mini-tour).

There was also some mild varation in the setlist this year. The setlist below is the most common one that was played on the 30 odd dates, however for the first 3 dates of the tour back in June, there was no Karmacoma on the setlist, before it entered the setlist as the new finale song, replacing Dobro with that privledge. Karmacoma‘s position in the show switched around a little bit in July, between being the finale or appearing midway during the show (in which case, Dobro was the last song), but generally it was favoured as the finale. For one date only at the end of tour in Manchester in September, United Snakes opened the show accompanied with a one-off cinema screen projection mounted in front of the stage.

Click on the song titles in the setlist below to go straight to the Live Appearances paragraph regarding these songs in the Song Info section. The songs denoted with a * are the new songs that were played for the first time on this tour (16 Seeter included), which should feature on the next Massive Attack album.

01. All I Want *

02. Marooned *

03. Risingson *

04. Teardrop *

05. Girl I Love You (originally titled “16 Seeter”) *

06. Kingpin *

07. Mezzanine

08. Paradise Circus (originally titled “Harpsichord”) *

09. Red Light *

10. Inertia Creeps

11. Safe From Harm

12. Marakesh *

13. Angel

14. Unfinished Sympathy

15. Dobro *

16. Karmacoma

Additional Info

Promo poster for Massive Attack’s Meltdown Festival, which was undoubtedly the highlight of their 2008 European tour.

Promo poster for Massive Attack’s Meltdown Festival, which was undoubtedly the highlight of their 2008 European tour.

With no specific album or major release to promote with this tour of just over 30 European destinations, Massive Attack would use the opportunity to debut new material to their fans, in an attempt to get some feedback on the new tracks which were destined to end up on the next studio album, Heligoland. In terms of stage setup and lighting (once again provided by UVA) a new stage set was made, with a wide, sculptural LED screen (most closely resembling the 2004 tour screen configuration) as the centrepiece. The visual treatments, created in collaboration with 3D, would be the group’s most explicitly political yet. 3D spoke of Massive Attack’s collaborations with UVA in the past during this tour when he said [Quote] – “We’ve remained tight with them since we started working together in 2003 on our 100th Window tour. We share a common ideology in terms of how lights should work with the music, whether cinematically or transmitting information. I had a bit of an idea about what I wanted to do but, pixel by pixel, they extended and developed it. The end experience is different for every viewer; each one feeds it in a different way”.

The low rise touring screen upstage of the band was made up of 15 custom frames populated with 2 x 10 high stacks of 8 alternating strips of Barco O-Lite 510 giving approximately 1440 pixels wide over 15 metres. The frames were designed and built by XL Lighting in conjunction with UVA – also containing inbuilt moving lights – for fast assembly and dismantling, making it practical for the band to retain their full visuals show in festival situations with short changeover times.

During each show this year, flickering references to rendition flights, detention without charge and surveillance societies lit up the stage and computer-controlled lights, also designed by UVA, were all in perfect synchronisation between the music and the visuals. Many of these statistics came from an organization known as Reprieve, who uses the law to improve and enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay. Massive Attack had first become aware of Reprieve, the year before, in the process of scoring the film, ‘In Prison My Whole Life’.

Besides all this, there was probably two big events on this years tour, which were pretty noteworthy. The first was Massive Attack playing the Glastonbury festival as headliners of the Second Stage on the Saturday night of the festival. This was the first time since 1997, that Massive Attack had played this iconic festival. The other notable date of the 2008 tour was Massive Attack’s cu ration of London’s annual Meltdown festival held in various locales of the Southbank area of the city, the week before Glastonbury. As curators, Massive Attack in a unique capacity for the first time in their career, were tasked with coming up with the musical and artistic lineup for the 10 day long festival. Massive Attack used the opportunity to present and distill their wide range of influences from the cultural to the political (much of which was inspired by Massive Attack’s links to Reprieve).

[Quote – 3D and Daddy G together about Meltdown] – “We came into Meltdown with the same ideology we applied to the jams and parties we used to put on: we’d come up with an image to describe it, flypost it everywhere till people were bored, choose the DJ’s and the tunes, borrow a generator, decorate the room and sell a load of beer out of the boot of a car. Well… that bit’s a little different this time”.

[Quote – 3D about Meltdown] – “We’re trying to distill all the things we want out of a festival: to share information and learn things ourselves about how we can put on, play with and be around some of the great bands who have influenced us, and what we can do visually in the space we’ve got. We want to mess with the fucking space. I want people to go into spaces and feel there’s something going on everywhere, there’s messages, information and ideology. We want everyone to have a good time. Every night should be a party, a good laugh, a thrill. It’s a Meltdown reflecting our tastes and influences. It’s very personal”.

You can read more about Massive Attack’s curation of the 2008 Meltdown Festival by checking out the 8 page feature on it that was published in “The Observer” newspaper back in June 2008, which is available through this link.


3D: Provided vocals on the songs RisingsonButterfly CaughtMezzanineSafe From HarmInertia Creeps, along with new tracks Marooned, Marakesh and Dobro. 3D also performed United Snakes once on this tour at the Manchester show, which was the first time this track had been performed live since the 2004 tour. Apart from vocals, 3D also used a small sampling machine attached to a small pedestal beside his microphone to sample his own vocals live and trigger some song samples. He was also a bit more animated on this tour on certain songs giving an impromptu ‘kung-fu’ inspired dance rather than turing his back to the audience on the 100th Window tour.

Daddy G: Provided vocals on RisingsonKarmacoma andMezzanine along with one new track alongside Yolanda, All I Want. Not only this, but much like on the Collected tour but Daddy G’s role in the live band was expanded upon as he undertook some DJ-ing (scratching) on certain songs likeRisingson and Unfinished Sympathy.

Horace Andy: Provided vocals on Angel and one new track 16 Seeter. Noticeably, this tour marked the first time thatHymn Of The Big Wheel was left off the setlist.

Stephanie Dosen: Stephanie’s first time touring with Massive Attack on tour. She had been brought into the studio to record vocals for Massive Attack’s fifth album in 2007 and was asked to tour and perform them with the band on the following tour. Those new tracks she sings are Kingpin, Red Light, Marakesh along with crowd favourite,Teardrop (Elizabeth Fraser was sadly not apart of this year’s tour as she had been on the last one). Stephanie’s dress on stage varied from black to white most nights of the tour alongside her accoutic guitar which was usually the opposing colour to her dress on the night.

Yolanda Quarty:Yolanda is a member of Brostol based band “Phantom Limb” and was brought on board by Daddy G to record vocals for the next Massive Attack album which naturally led to her been asked to take int he tour with them. She repleaced Deborah Miller in the live lineup as the designated ‘soul singer’ in the live band, singing classic tracks such as Unfinished Sympathy and Safe From Harmalong with new tracks All I Want and Harpsichord (later to be retitled Paradise Circus on Heligoland). Also just like Deborah Miller before, she would used the tambourine the during the climax of Unfinished Sympathy


Angelo Bruschini: Angelo typically uses a Boss GT5 guitar as his main effects, plus a Ground Control Plus midi footswitch. Unfinished Sympathy is the only song were Angelo is absent from the stage as electric guitar is not required for this song.

Winston Blisset: Winston is the bass guitarist and used a footswitch controller, which is used for bringing in effects when needed or routing to a tuner. The amp his bass is attached to is a 600 watt head and the spare is a 350 head, both of which are made by Boogie.

Andrew Smalls: Andrew provides the drums and percussive elements to the live tracks. He used Yamaha electric pads along with a number of Emu samplers triggering specfic loops which had been cut up into elements. Andrew’s setup was like the other drummers Damon’s setup with the added Sennheiser mic in the kick.

John Baggott: A new addition for this year’s tour was John Baggott, replacing Arden Hart who had been doing keyboards for the last few tours. Before this year’s tour with Massive, he was Portishead’s live keyboardist.

Damon Reece: Former drummer of Bristol based alt rock outfit Lupine Howl and husband of Elizabeth Fraser, Damon Reece joined Andrew Small on the Collected tour as the band’s second drummer to provide a tighter rhythm section behind the music. His drum vintage kit is miked with Shure SM91/Beta 52 (kick), SM57 (snare) and SM98s (toms); and Audio-Technica 4050 (hi-hat/overheads). The 2008 tour was Damon’s 2nd tour with Massive Attack, after the Collected tour.

Wired Strings: The trio of women who would come onto the stage to do the live string arrangements on Kingpin, Harpsichord (later to be retitled Paradise Circus onHeligoland) and Unfinished Sympathy came from an outfit known as Wired Strings, who provide hired violinists for live performances and studio recordings for different artists. This was the first time they had done a tour with Massive Attack. It was also the first time Massive Attack had used a violinist(s) since Lucy Wilkins on the 2003 tour.

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