arrowHome arrow Written arrow Fan/Other Reviews arrow Ryan (cstcoach) reviews the Sellersville, PA sho Friday, 19 January 2018  
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Ryan (cstcoach) reviews the Sellersville, PA sho Print E-mail
Monday, 14 August 2006
This review says so much about what is good and right about this tour, I hope it's OK to copy it here and share it with everyone. Thanks Ryan (and your quietly sobbing girlfriend :) ) Just returned home from last night?s gig in Sellersville, PA, and I have to say that I was ready to drive another 6 hours from Ottawa, Canada to see it all over again.

First off, Rob Dickinson played an energetic opener of rocking guitar and full-on vocals. I picked up his CD Fresh Wine for the Horses on the recommendation of some folks on here, and played it several times on the drive home. I wasn?t familiar with his Catherine Wheel stuff, but I aim to become familiar very soon.

I must admit that, having never seen The Church live despite 20 years of obsessive listening (from the age of 15!) I was a little disappointed to hear they?d be acoustic this time and not full-on electric. I knew I?d enjoy it regardless, but I do want to catch their legendary show in full force.

Being acoustic I expected something more sedate and introspective, something like Steve?s Acoustic and Intimate CD from KH. I couldn?t have been more wrong. They blew the fucking roof off the joint! I could hardly believe that an acoustic show could rock like that! How many guitar strings did they sacrifice to produce such energy and such force? Throughout the show they kept telling the soundman to crank it up. By the end it seemed that the building was held up by solid walls of sound. The magic was palpable ? you could reach out and grab handfuls.

The venue was a wonderful old theatre. It was big enough to contain a crowd, yet narrow enough to feel intimate. Of course, row 3 seating added to that ;-). The downside of the setting was that the theatre seating made one feel like a spectator rather than a participant, which I think accounted for the somewhat sedateness of the crowd during the first half of the show. However, the upside was that there were no talkers, at least in my section (and so I didn?t have to follow through on my promise to choke anyone out). The audience was quiet but attentive, hanging off the edges of their seats - the repeated standing ovations at the end and after the two encores said it all.

The set list was the same as that posted for other shows on this tour. They came out strong and built the atmosphere with Block, and then a beautiful rendition of All I Know that had my girlfriend quietly wiping the tears from her eyes (she wasn?t really a Church fan despite repeated forced listenings ? until last night. Now she finally understands what I?m always on about). Next, Marty shredded up such a storm in the middle bit of Grind that the deafening applause stopped the show. The band even thought the song was over until Peter reminded them to play the second half.

That would have been the grand finale for most bands, but these guys were just getting started! I?m still amazed at how they built and built the energy long past the point of what I thought was possibility. It just kept going, shredding louder and faster, reaching deeper and deeper, to that point of absolute transcendence and beyond. The two encores went nova, really.

It would be too much to give a play by play ? Peter?s beautiful piano and vocals on A New Season, the intelligent, witty banter between songs, the instrument swapping (these guys are ridiculously talented)? and I was very pleased to hear Marty and Steve sing Two Places at Once, one of my favourite Church songs. These guys played for 2 ? nonstop hours. I don?t know where they get the energy! When he came out for the second encore Steve looked out to the crowd and asked if it was okay to play one more. He was talking to the theatre manager. They played right up until they closed the joint.

There were so many great songs, so many amazing moments. I was particularly impressed with how they cranked up Invisible in the encore. It?s such a quiet song, but they rocked it up and shredded it! It was amazing.

After the show I noticed a few hardcore Churchies hanging around by the stage. I leaned on a wall until the guys came out to sign stuff. Steve was gracious and friendly, signing loads of stuff though he looked tired as hell (who wouldn?t be after a performance like that!!). I bumped into one fellow from the blog and his lady (I?m sorry, I didn?t catch your login name, but heard you were a regular) who were getting some old vinyl covers signed, so the fiends were well represented in Sellersville.

My girlfriend and I really enjoyed chatting with Peter about Japan and music and things historical/anthropological. And the highlight of the night was of course a conversation with Steve, a man whose work I admire and respect. He was gracious enough to pose for pictures with Tomoko and I (druid, I?ll work on that expedition plan and line up a plush one ? I can always create a position for ?team bard? or something?) I?m not sure if I was making any sense, I hadn?t quite de-tranced, my mind was still in that other place where the music took it. The show really floored me, and it showed. There were so many clever things I wanted to say, so many songs and moments and projects I wanted to mention. I guess it?ll have to wait till next time.

I envy those headed to the rest of the shows on this tour. Be sure to check out the merch table, and get there early! I picked up a great SK print, the new Noctorum album (great!!), PK?s From The Well, a couple t-shirts, Tin Mine? There?s loads of cool stuff!

My only critique of the entire show regards the price. $30 per ticket is far too little! You guys should honestly double it. I wouldn?t blink at paying more, even with the gas and hotel and all that thrown in (and my bags of Church merch!). Rob?s one hour set plus 2 ? nonstop Church is worth far, far more.

Thanks, guys, for an incredible evening. You transcended, and brought us along with you. It was everything we could have possibly asked for, and more.

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