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Morten Skjefte reviews two acoustic shows Print E-mail
Tuesday, 07 February 1995
From: Morten.Skjefte
To: seance
Subject: SF and PA concerts (long)
Date: Tuesday, 7 February 1995 12:39PM
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Date: Tue, 7 Feb 1995 12:39:58 -0800
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It's taken me several days to type this in. It's probably too detailed
and all that jazz, but that's just the way it is...  It's what I heard,
saw & learned, so here we go:


I attended last Monday's San Francisco gig with Matthew Green (mrg) from
Australia and his girlfriend Monica....  We showed up fairly early and
managed to get a front row table.  As we were sitting there, some guy
were distributing some flyers for a British Church magazine.  He put only one
on our table, so I asked him if I could have another copy. "Sure" he replied
and handed me one.  Just as he left, Matthew leans over and says "Steve 
just walked by." "Where? When?"  I asked. "Right behind you, when you were
talking to Marty". "Marty?  What do you mean I was talking to Marty?"  
"That was Marty handing out the flyers" Matthew said with a grin.  I
felt pretty stupid after such a brush with greatness without even 
recognizing it....

The opening act "Me Jane" was ok, but heck, who pays attention to 
support bands when you know Steve and Marty are in the house?  
The Church came on around 9:30pm  and opened with the Cockney Rebel song
"Ritz".  Mmmmmmmmmm...... "Shadow Cabinet", "Tristesse" and "Mistress"
were next, all delivered to a tee. Steve seemed his usual aloof self, 
but Marty seemed to enjoy himself quite a bit...

Steve introduced "Providence" with "This one's for my sister...." And
what a version they delivered. Marty really took off on this one, 
with a great solo and some wonderful fill-in licks. Even though he was
playing his 12-string Takamime acoustic all through the set, it sounded
like he had several different guitars at his disposal. The sounds this
man can get with the help of some effects pedals are just amazing...
Next came "Will I Start To Bleed?" and "Grind", followed by a short
improvised version of "House Of The Rising Sun".  "Month Of Sundays"
was followed by "Almost With You".  I didn't notice whether Marty 
played the solo on this in San Francisco, but he definitely didn't
play it in Palo Alto. Strange, as I don't think it should be too difficult
for Marty to adapt Pete's solo.

"Don't Look Back" and "My Little Problem" were followed by another cover
song, this time "Life's A Gas" from T.Rex's "Electric Warrior".  Marc
Bolan's songs fits Steve's singing style very well, and I really liked
this version. The obligatory "Under The Milky Way" was followed by a
very funny, spoken version of Free's "All Right Now".  Steve delivered
it with obvious disgust for the lyrics, to which Marty replied something
like "so how come you know them so well?".

"10,000 Miles" was next, and it was nothing short of fantastic. As Dave 
noted in his Sacramento review, Marty's right hand moves as fast as a
hummingbird.... On this song, it was almost impossible to distinguish 
Marty's hand. I almost expected it to fly off at any time. 
Steve jammed pretty heavily on his guitar too, and they built the song 
to a climax, stopped for a tenth of a second and then went straight
back into the refrain.  The crowd was roaring..... I'm really looking
forward to hearing the tape of that song....

"The next song is a Swedish one" said Steve. "It's called "Natten Ar
Jattemjuk". I was actually a bit disappointed when I realized it was
"The Night Is Very Soft" they had introduced this way....I was really
hoping for a Swedish song. :-)

On "Hotel Womb" Marty pulled of yet another incredible solo. By this 
time there was no doubt who the most incredible guitar-player in the
world is, and there was no doubt that he was having a great day and 
a good time too. Amazing.....

The last song was "Is This Where You Live?" which I was kind of surprised 
that they even thought about covering acoustically.  It worked very well
actually.

The encores were "Constant In Opal" and "Reptile".  Needless to say, it 
was over much too fast, even though they played for about 90 mins.
Due to a major security glitch (they forgot to guard the door) about
20 people went backstage afterwards. On my way down Steve comes walking 
back up and when I tried to flag him down, he said "I'll be back, I'm
just going to get my guitar". Apparently the tour did not include many 
(if any) roadies...

Down in the dressing room Marty was tying his shoelaces (or something)
when someone from the crowd said "Hi Marty, how are you?" "I'm
doing pretty good" Marty replied as he slowly looked up and noticed 
the people at the door, "...except I am going to kill someone in a
couple of minutes..."  "Do you need any help?" was the quick reply.

Who said San Franciscans aren't helpful???  :-)

Right afterwards Marty pointed at me (at least it looked like it) and
said "You, mate!!!!"  I nervously stepped forward and asked if he would
mind signing some autographs. "Oh sure, no problem" he said.  I fumbled
so much with the bag I had that Marty grabbed the bag with me and started
shaking it too. I finally managed to get the covers out of the bag. 
When Marty found out I was Norwegian he smiled and started talking
Swedish to me. He talked Swedish the rest of the time. I asked him about new
releases from him, but I think he misunderstood, because he said "we
don't even have a contract at the moment". He seemed pretty upset about
it. Steve interrupted us by asking Marty if he had his guitar. "Yes, it's
right here..." Then he pointed at me, telling Steve I spoke Swedish. "That's
nice" was Steve's reply....

When Marty was done, I approached Steve and noticed that he also was talking
Swedish to somebody. I introduced myself and told him that he had replied to
a couple of the letters I sent him. "Great", he said, "why don't you send me 
another and I'll post you back".  I told him there is already one waiting
for him when he gets back. I handed Steve the covers with "Narcosis" on top
and someone asked me what it was. "His best solo work" I said. "It is"
agreed Steve, "and here's my second best" he continued as he pulled out 
the "Remindlessness" cover.   I asked him what his involvement with Fake
was, and he said "I'm one third of it". When I asked if Karen was involved,
He said "no, no, no, it's not Karen. The other two are just some studio
musicians. Just some studio musicians..."  I also asked him if he would
play on the next Margot Smith album, but truth is I didn't understand
what he said and I didn't pursue it further. It sounded like a "no" though,
which I dearly hope is incorrect.....

There were some idle banter afterwards but not much of interest. Marty did
ask me to show some of his solo-albums to one of the other fans who hadn't
seen any of his solo albums. And Marty claimed he hadn't heard "Almost 
Yesterday" yet. 

I spent most of the train-ride home looking at my signed covers.... :-)

The concert in Palo Alto was somewhat a repeat of Monday's concert,
at least song-wise.  Steve seemed in a lot better mood, and Marty was 
about the same as in San Francisco. However, the deliveries never 
matched the SF concert, something I think can be blamed on Marty
having some technical difficulties with his effects pedal. His guitar
lost volume when he played his soli, and he was checking the speakers
several times. This held him back some, and therefore the show never
got that extra little spark.   Steve played a few bars of "Sound of
Silence" which he credited Simon and Garfuck-knuckle.  He also asked
"How are you all doing tonight" to which the (very ecstatic) crowd 
went nuts, to which Steve replied "It was just a joke."  After "A 
Month Of Sundays" he said "it's all coming back to me now...."

They did 2 encores this time, as Marty triumphantly came back onstage
with another effects box saying something like "we'll see what this 
one can do". They played "Myrrh" and then the Neil Young song "Cortez
the Killer".  And on this one Marty finally took off and played a
version I think Neil Young would have been very proud of. Amazing.

It was not easy to get backstage after the show, but I had brought 
with me an e-mail from a friend of theirs and with it's help,
Paul Webb and I managed to get backstage.  There really wasn't a
whole lot going on when we got back there.  Steve was about to
leave for his hotelroom with a couple of ladies and Marty was
about to discuss with the club management the amount of money they 
were going to get. I assume from this that they were getting a cut 
from the money they brought in.  As Steve was walking out, Marty 
commented to Steve (in Swedish) on his choice of companions for the night.

"Sssh..." Steve said, "pointed at me and said "he speaks Swedish!"

"I know" Marty replied, "that's why I said it". Marty looked at me and
grinned from ear to ear....

Marty also displayed his linguistic abilities by explaining (in spanish) 
the meaning of the song "Kiss You To Death"  to one of the ladies.  At the 
same time as he taught her how to say "I love you" in Swedish. He also
said he could speak German and French.  Shortly afterwards he was 
called in to a sideroom to discuss money..... Oh, yeah, and he also 
mentioned (as Paul wrote) that he has a new girlfriend, Zoe, who's
"blunt but nice" :-)

It was good to see them again, and especially at the San Francisco
concert I was really impressed at how good they were just the 2 of them.
I also enjoyed meeting them.  Marty was very friendly and outgoing,
Steve was reserved but polite.  The saddest part though was to realize
the fact that these incredible musicians now are reduced to a small
bar-act, that have to set up their own gear, hand out flyers and 
hassle with managemnet about getting paid. There just is no fairness
in this business, is there????

-morten
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