Info → Protection Tour (1995-1997)
Total Shows Played In 1995: 32(Inconclusive)
Duration Of 1995 Tour: 16th May - 21st October (Inconclusive)
Total Shows Played In 1996: 14(Inconclusive)
Duration Of 1996 Tour: 20th May - 20th July (Inconclusive)
Total Shows Played In 1997: 10 (Inconclusive)
Duration Of 1997 Tour: 21st June - 2nd August (Inconclusive)
Not so much information exists concerning the first few years of the Protection tour, but what is certain is that Five Man Army with Willy Wee on guest vocals was played for the probable majority of the 1995 leg but dropped along with Willy Wee at the start of 1996 tour. Another interesting entry on the setlist for both 1995 and 1996 was an instrumental version of Protection that was played at the very start of each show as a brief prologue that seemlessly segued into the opening of Safe From Harm. One last difference between the two years was that on the 1995 tour, the version of Eurochild played was the same arrangement as on the album Protection. From 1996 onwards, the version of Eurochild played changed to an alternative version known as Euro Zero Zero, which came about from Massive Attack wishing to add more live instrumentation elements to the song.
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 songs that changed the most frequently on the setlists during the 1995-1996 shows.
02. Safe From Harm
04. One Love
06. Spying Glass
09. Five Man Army *
10. Heat Miser
Three of the songs (Dissolved Girl, Risingson and Man Next Door) played on the 1997 setlist would feature the following year on Mezzanine, along with the rare b-side track, Wire, which was typically the last song played with an occasional reprise of Euro Zero Zero appearing as a sort of epilogue on some dates. One other interesting feature of this year’s tour was the beginning song which was an untitled duet between 3D and Daddy G which combined some elements of a proto-Angel combined with the lyrics to Mezzanine. This intro was probably the basis for the finished song Mezzanine.
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 songs that changed the most frequently on the setlists during the 1997 shows.
03. Dissolved Girl
04. One Love
05. Spying Glass
06. Euro Zero Zero
09. Man Next Door
Beginning in the summer of 1995, the following 3 year tour would be Massive Attack’s first outing using a live backing band of trained musicians much like any conventional band – guitar, bass, drums and keyboards. The impetus for dropping the soundsystem ethos which had been all the band had known from the days in The Wild Bunch was partly to simply try something new and also because some of the scathing reviews Massive Attack had received, particularly in their soundsystem tour of North America the preceeding year, where the whole soundsystem concept involving a rotating roster of MC-ing, toasting and DJ-ing, was’nt understood at all by the audience. 3D said of the North American soundsystem tour Quote – “Did’nt go down to well at all. The worst show was Minneapolis. Prince’s Club. What was it called? Glam Slam? In the end they had to put the curtain down on us, we were so bad. Bloody terrible”. [Details Magazine – Febraury 1995]
Apart from how the music would be presented, 3D being the visual artist of the group also had some grand designs for the Protection tour from a visual aspect. The Eurochild character, which is on the front cover of the Protectionalbum and was the effective mascot of the band at the time, was present at the shows in 1995-1996 in the form of large inflatable Eurochild dolls arranged either side of the stage. 3D also had some grander plans for the tour that were never really realised, such as having Quote – “This whole installation/exhibition/animation underway at the upcoming live shows using computer graphics and virtual reality”. [The Face Magazine – September 1994]
The tour itself was co-financed by Levi Jeans, who had some form of advertising at the shows (like on the Eurochild’s for example). Levi Jeans would also serve the same role for the Mezzanine tour as well. It was also the Levi’s connection that brought the Massive Attack’s current manager, Marc Picken to them, who worked for Levi’s at the time and had some form of organizing role for the Protection tour, left Levi’s to manage Massive Attack full-time and also setup their Melankolic record label as well with them.
After assembling the touring party, which notably excluded Tracey Thorn (which except on a few precious dates) and Nicolette, but still had Wild Bunch hanger-on Willy Wee, who was another remnant from the soundsystem days, the tour got under way. Throughout 1995 apart from the live touring dates, there was also some TV appearances on few noted British music programmes such as Later With Jools Holland, The White Room and MTV where Massive Attack would perform some interesting performances of their songs, like Protection (with a very rare Tracey Thorn appearance) and a great re-interpretation of Karmacoma more like the Fake The Aroma version featuring Talvin Singh playing the tabla. Generally, since then Massive Attack have not done these type of shows or performances again sadly, with the recent Abbey Road performance being an exception.
Their was not much change in the touring setup between 1995 and 1996 except Willy Wee left the touring band and Massive Attack on a permanent basis (therefore dropping Five Man Army from the setlist forever) and Winston Blisset who had come on as a replacement bass player halfway through the 1995 tour was made a permanent member.
It was in the final year of the Protection tour, 1997, which was really also more of a tour for debuting and roadtesting the new songs which would very soon find a place on Mezzanine, that there were a few big changes. This tour was mostly focused on festival dates, much like the 100th Window tour of 2004, and was a small tour that began around the same time that Massive Attack launched the Risingson single, which was released both to help promote the 1997 tour while also previewing what the upcoming, still nearly a year away Mezzanine album would sound like. Even the backdrop to the stage in this year was the same artwork used on the front cover of theRisingson single. Of the new songs, debuted for the first time on the 1997 tour which would later be Mezzaninebound, Man Next Door and early forms of Mezzanine and Angel were heard for the first time. Dissolved Girl (again an early version) and Wire were also both played at every show, as Sara Jay, the vocalist of these two songs was present on this tour (but only this one). Her absence on subsequent tours has meant the 1997 tour is the only time these songs have been played.
Deborah Miller: Provided vocals on Hymn Of The Big Big Wheel, Safe From Harm, Daydreaming and Unfinished Sympathy. She also helped do many backing vocals on certain songs such as Dissolved Girl, Wire, and Spying Glass. Apart from this she also played the tambourine onUnfinished Sympathy. This was her first tour of many with Massive Attack providing replacement diva vocals filling in for Shara Nelson.
Mushroom: Would do the ‘DJ-ing’ and scratching noises heard on the live songs behind a pair of Technics turntables as he would do on the Mezzanine tour later on. On Heat Miser, he would also do some softer breathing noises down the microphone to complement Daddy G’s heavy breathing on this song.
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. The Protection tour was Angelo’s first time touring with Massive Attack. How he came to be Massive Attack’s full-time guitarist, was that after he had done some guitar parts on the album Protection, the previous year, he got an unexpected call from 3D only two weeks before the Protection tour was due to start, desperate to find a replacement guitarist, as the one already hired had to pull out. Angelo accepted the offer and in his words “never looked back” and has become Massive Attack’s full-time guitarist both on stage and in the studio.
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. Winston came onto the Protection tour roughly half through the 1995 leg of the tour, as replacement bass player for then bass guitarist, Steve Lewinson and gradually became Massive Attack full-time live bass player in the same manner that Angelo came on board. Winston was also the bass player on the Mezzaninealbum.
- Live Performance of Unfinished Sympathy From The Phoenix Festival 1996
- Live Performance of Safe From Harm From The Phoenix Festival 1996
- Live Performance of Eurochild From The Phoenix Festival 1996
- Live Performance of Heat Miser From The Phoenix Festival 1996
- Live Performance Of Dissolved Girl In Berlin, Germany 1997
- Live Performance Of Wire In Berlin, Germany 1997