The Church: Dream comes true at Carrboro, NC

By Bob and Lois Sweitzer

Since becoming a huge fan of The Church in 1985, I jumped at the chance to see them in concert for the very first time in October, 1998 at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC The show was all that I had hoped for and more. My wife Lois and I traveled some 250 miles from our home in Salem, Virginia in order to catch the show. This time around, thanks to Chrispy's Tour page (we had the pleasure of meeting Chrispy at Polly's in DC ) we opted to attend the Carrboro, NC show at the Cat's Cradle on October 6, 1999, some 70 miles "closer" to home. We both had to work that day, so we were unable to depart until 6:00PM. Because the trip was some 180 miles with very few major highways to traverse, we arrived at the Cat's Cradle at precisely 10:00PM. "Should I bring the camera?", Lois queried. "No", I said, "they probably won't allow them", I said.

As we picked up our tickets at the door, the warm-up act Senseless Happy was just beginning their first number. Talk about timing! As we entered and walked past the stage, Lois snapped "too loud, too smoky!" So we retreated to the back of the place, purchased a few beers and found a comfortable couch. The place was relatively un-crowded, I estimate only 150 people at the most. I felt much better after my first beer, and started to talk to the patrons, several of which wore Hologram of Baal tee shirts. We do not remember too many of their names, but one was Eric Peace, whom I know from the Seance mailing list. Since I have read so many reports of Seancers getting to meet some of the guys in The Church, I brought with me my booklet from the new CD "Under the Milky Way, just in case we might be so lucky. Just a dream, I thought. We also befriended a couple of older fellows (like us, we felt as if we were the oldest people there!) from Wilmington, NC (George and Dennis Williams) who also sported Hologram shirts which they picked up in DC. We chatted mostly about The Church, of course.

After another round of beers and a game of pool with Lois, the first band was finished. They did sound pretty good, but we really were not paying too much attention. George was busy asking the bouncers for some of The Church posters stapled to the walls. He managed quite a few, and presented one to Lois. It was time! Since the crowd was so sparse, any place in the room afforded a great view of the band. Lois and I were about 15 feet in front of Marty to the right of center stage. None of us knew of Steve's problem in New York City (I found out the next day via internet). Steve came out to a huge ovation and announced the problem of their equipment not arriving and that they would do their best. Interesting, to say the least. I braced for the first tune....

Fantastic sound, fabulous vocals, WOW! They played about a 100 minute show, which I later understood to deviate from their normal tour playlist, including the two encore tunes. Our personal favorites from this magical evening were "Grind", "Destination", "Reptile" and " Two Places at Once". The performance just seemed to go so fast! Lois and I knew all the songs except for one, which must be a new one. If Steve had not announced their equipment was missing, we probably would not have known it. They sounded terrific! If only I had let Lois bring the camera, several others were taking photos all evening, and one guy was taking videos! Dream crushed.

The crowd filed out, and Lois and I were preparing to depart. George and Dennis came up to us and said "if you want to meet the band, then hang with us". We waited about 20 minutes, the staff started to mop the floors. Marty was the first to come on stage and he was packing up his guitar and cables. There were only about 10 people milling about the stage including ourselves. As the eager fans waited, I was the first to say " Great show Marty, can you please sign my CD?". He replied "Sure, give me a minute". We shook hands. chatted for a few minutes, and we talked about his new CD. He signed my CD booklet "love, Marty". Lois was next in line and Marty signed the poster. Peter and Tim came out next. Most of the remaining fans went in Peters direction.

According to Dennis, Peter's autograph is the hardest to get. I opted to chat with Tim, which lasted over 5 minutes. He signed my booklet "to Bob and Lois". I also managed to get Peter's handshake and signature just as he was leaving. Lois had already gotten her poster signed by both Tim and Peter already! The bouncer said we have to leave now. NO STEVE!.

Well, amazingly just as we were to exit the place, George said he saw Steve in a room off to the side. "Lets go in!" he said. So we did. Steve was sitting on a couch with one of the roadies, puffing a cigarette. We all introduced ourselves, and chatted. We told him we traveled 180 miles to see the show and he was appreciative. Steve was very cordial and signed both the booklet and the poster!. Cool, all four autographs! A Church dream come true. Too bad we did not get any photographs! As we left the room Steve said "Goodbye Bob and Lois!"

We ended up accompanying George and Dennis to their motel to party a little more and talk about this most enjoyable evening, and thanked them for showing us how to meet The Church.. Lois and I hadn't even found our motel yet. We finally arrived to the Holiday Inn in nearby Durham, NC at 5:00AM! (Nice place). Check-out time was 12 noon, and needless to say, that is precisely when we did. As we proceeded to the motel lobby, a man was sitting on the curb just outside the entrance, next to an airport van. Lois said "Isn't that Marty?" It was! He was cutting up an avocado. He offered some to a man sitting in the van. It was Peter. We said hello to Peter, but he did not speak. Marty was friendly and chatted with us, the Tim came out, started putting bags in the van and also chatted. "Lois, get the camera!", I exclaimed. Tim posed for a photo with me and Marty posed solo for the camera, Lois snapped a most amazing daylight shot.

When we went into the lobby to check out, I heard Steve's voice around the corner. He was on the telephone with his girlfriend. When he came around the corner, he spied us and said "Hello Bob and Lois!" Cool, he remembered our names! We talked for just a moment. Lois was able to get two photos of Steve and I together. Then it was goodbye. A Church dream came true.


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