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Review of a live Sydney show before Starfish release Print E-mail
Monday, 01 June 1987

I'm guessing about the date for this gig; the setlist database (http://faculty.rwu.edu/pwebb/setlists.html) has very little 1987 data, but there's a 1987 date on the back of the clipping. The songs mentioned are from Starfish, but must be from before the release.

 

The Church

Tivoli, Sydney

"I wish you came to all our gigs. You wouldn't believe Wollongong the other night. I thought we'd become Ted Mulry."

Packed in like sardines and yelling/stomping appreciation, the Tivoli crowd spurred on the Church to one of the best gigs I've seen them play, matching some of last year's high-energy nights. They were relaxed (yes, I saw Steve Kilbey smile broadly more than a half dozen times), and confidently at ease, slipping in half a dozen new songs and even reviving the rarely heard In A Heartbeat, which felt right at home.

Hair slicked back a la Valentino and looking remarkably healthy, Steve punched out Tantalized and Roman which steamrolled the first four rows, and caressed Now I Wonder Why with equal style. The partisan crowd was easily convinced, and the reception afforded the new material was appreciated: "Thank you, we need that sort of encouragement."

Those new songs, including Frozen and Distant which they were playing last year, showed a small move away from the full-throttle attack of Heyday. Blood Money, a tale of not very pleasant types, and Antenna stood out as cleverly constructed yet controlled pieces  that sounded immediately Church-like but with new shadings on offer. Another one about a man finding solace in a hotel room (Hotel Womb I think, but don't quote me) confirmed that the revitalised songwriting of the Church is reaping dividends.

Apart from a determined reading of Shadow Cabinet and Constant In Opal, the set was drawn from heday (Tantalised, Columbus, Roman, Myrrh), Blurred Crusade (You Took, When You Were Mine, Almost With You), with one each from Of Skins And Heart (Is This Where You Live?) and Seance (Now I Wonder Why). And for once no-one called for the absent Unguarded Moment, much to the band's surprise and pleasure. All in all, a tight band doing justice to both the told and new made it seem so effortless - and the Ted Mulry Gang can rest easy, the Church aren't quite ready for Clubland yet.

 Bernard Zuel

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