The third of four great Mission albums, replayed in full over the third of four nights in London in early 2008 -- and, astonishingly, sounding even better than you remember it used to. The Mission, after all, were such a child of the '80s that it is too easy to simply file their memory away alongside the other childish pastimes you long ago outgrew. But as the opening, Led Zeppelin-esque chords of "Beyond the Pale" thump in over the roar of a solidly sold-out audience, it's as if time hasn't so much fallen away as not even passed by in the first place. Welcome to the 1988 show, indeed.
Children, of course, was the album where the Mish first started to seriously lose people, a record that seemed to spend so much time investigating producer John Paul Jones' back catalog that it forgot to look at the band's own. But with guitarist Simon Hinkler chiming out the riffs that came so easily to him back then, and Wayne Hussey sounding more dramatically earnest than he has in years, Children simply exploded off the stage, and now it treats your stereo to more of the same, a soaring, punchdrunk exercise in unbridled ambition, incendiary melody, and who even cares what the critics are going to say? This is what the Mission were, and we bless them for every note of it. Yes, even the cover of Aerosmith's "Dream On" -- which, say it loud, now sounds more like a classic Mission song than it ever was a Steven Tyler chestbeater. ~ Dave Thompson