Fenix, Seattle

September 26th 1998

Photos available thanks to Kevin Gamble.

It was a hundred and one voluptuous minutes(actually about 2 hours) of incredible music. The set list was the same as the previous gigs. When the Church took the stage Steve said something like,"It's no use in yelling requests because we can't hear them", or "because we are deaf" something like that. Even though I knew the songs they were going to play, it was still tremendous. I thought the highlights of the show were "An Interlude", "Day of the Dead", "Tantalized", and "You Took".

Marty jammed with a grin and his guitar at his boots for most of the show. Peter jammed as well but seemed to have a couple difficulties during the show. At the end of "Destination", he dropped his guitar and picked out another one to play. Tim played like "a thunderous god of percussion", which Steve refered to him as. Steve himself was brilliant. He did not say much to the crowd, but seemed vey grateful. When he took the stage for the second encore he said,"thank you very much we really appreciate it." After "You Took", Steve said,"thank you, we will see you again." He did mention the new album was out right before they played "Buffalo". Perhaps the most energy Steve showed was for the first encore. Peter was tuning his guitar for "Destination" and seemed to be in no hurry and Steve said,"We are just going to stand here for five minutes." Then he did a whirl wind motion with his arm several times. Kind of like myself playing air guitar in the audience most of the evening. The crowd favorites of course were "Under The Milky Way" and "Almost With You". It was a small club, but it was packed. It gave me a better chance to see them up close and hopefully it will not be a long time before I see them again.


It was with great anticipation that my wife and I flew to Vancouver from Calgary and drove down to Seattle for the show at the Fenix. Prior to the show we had the pleasure of meeting up with some seancers and meeting up with them again at the club. It was so wonderful to be in a foreign city and yet to be able to mingle with people in the crowd and realize that however small, we all shared this common bond that is the love of the Church. Amazing!!

As other people have probably posted detailed reviews, I'll just give my general impressions.

I have been a fan since 81 but having never seen them live before it was such a thrill/dream to see Steve and the boys come on stage...Wow, The Church live...Finally! The set list was the same as the other shows other than they played NSEW before Ripple. Steve opened the show by telling the near sell-out crowd (250-300) not to bother yelling for requests as they were too deaf to hear them anyway. As people who have seen the Church probably know, Steve doesn't talk much during the show...the odd thanks or thank you after songs.. He also introduced Buffalo by muttering that they had a new album out this week but he wondered if you could get it here...he answered his own question by saying, "someone must have a copy".

As I was standing right in front of Marty the whole night, I couldn't help but get drawn in by his energy; the guy was/is simply amazing...a real treat to watch and listen to. Pete and Steve seemed a little tired and while Marty rocked, Pete almost looked indifferent at times. The sound in general was inconsistent and it seemed to be pissing off Steve and Pete. After some feedback problems during Destination, Pete threw his white guitar on the stage in disgust and kicked it toward the road manager.

The show on the whole, however, was a real treat...NSEW, Hotel Womb, GRIND!!!!, Day of the dead, Almost w/ you , Tantalized and You took were incredible...Marty just wailed on his guitar...unbelievable playing!!

The songs that relied on Marty and Steve harmonizing (including Lousiana) were hampered by poor sound but Marty's playing more than made up for any minor technical problems.

After the show a few of us got a chance to meet the band...a really nice group...When asked about the tour, Tim mentioned it was going slow, and that the band still had some work to do (to get better). Attendance-wise the only disappointment according to him was the Fillmore but he said it was still pretty amazing to play in such a venue. He also said he had no idea what was up with his solo album as he was too busy with this tour. Steve was Steve, holding court in a big comfy-looking chair, cool. Pete's ears were ringing and he seemed a little tired...still very kind, though. Marty was also very kind and of the four seemed to be the one who enjoyed this evening the most.

All in all an absolutely incredible (not to over use the term) night.


(see my portland review for setlist)

After the terrific but somewhat harshly loud show in Portland, I was looking forward to immersing myself again the next night. And the band didn't fail to deliver--there was a palpable increase in energy, intensity, and good spirits at The Fenix. Fellow Seancers Dean and Nick were in attendance, further lending credence to the idea that Seance contains the nicest bunch of fans around. I think we were all suitably blown away by the band's performance--I was hanging out down at the front of the stage with Dean's friend Dawn, and we gave each other amazed looks at least once per song!

The opening acts were pretty good. The first, whose name escapes me right now, was a sort of goth/glam/metal trio which was almost cartoonish but quite entertaining. Their lead singer had a definite Peter Murphy/Bowie/Iggy Pop look going, and he really played up the drama. Their bassist was kinda weak (fell off the beat several times) but they gave it their all. The next act, Pilot (a fellow Thirsty Ear band), who I'd found just okay in Portland, blew me away this night. They seemed to be having a blast onstage and they sounded great, full of energy. I'm listening to their CD right now (they far surpassed it live).

The Church took the stage to thunderous applause and delivered in spades. They all seemed a bit more relaxed and easygoing than the night before, and the music only benefitted from it. The crowd really got into every song, and was especially frenetic for such numbers as Myrrh, An Interlude, NSEW, Almost With You, Reptile, Tantalized, and You Took.

Peter, who had left his mike idle all night in Portland, was singing backup on several numbers (including the hazy chorus in Ripple and his usual role in NSEW). He was again impeccable throughout, not moving much but creating wonderful beds and webs of sound. It was a real blast to hear his solos, too (the crowd gave a hearty cheer at the end of his "Almost With You" solo). Along with his classic lines he also created some unusual, edgy atmospherics with various combinations of equipment, the kind of thing he really lays into on BU. After the show he was patient and gracious to the people talking with him, a truly nice guy.

Steve wasn't overly talkative but seemed genuinely moved by all the cheering. He again dropped the Aerosmith lyric into Grind, and slightly altered a line in Destination ("it's just a way of making you freak...out"). His bass lines were pretty straightforward, moreso even than the record in some cases, and he was locked in tight with Tim. He did great vocally, throwing in a passionate last "buffalo" near the end of that song, and nailing most all lyrics. He also seemed relaxed and comfortable after the show, gladly shaking my hand and wishing me well.

Marty was, as usual, a ball of energy, and the crowd really ate it up. Seeing the band both nights showed me how much Marty puts into it--you can really see how he goes for it constantly, always pushing himself to the edge, and the band is aware of it, giving him room. Sometimes he didn't come up with gold, but when he did it was really special. He had some intense, aggressive rhythm part to go along with his frenetic leads, especially on Tantalized, which bordered on heavy metal at some points. I missed him after the show--I had to rush to catch a ferry, and he was off in some other room from the other guys, talking with some adoring females.

Tim was an MVP for sure. He, too, played with much intensity and almost painful-looking focus at times. He was rock solid (though after the show he said he felt off that night) and the band seemed tremendously at ease with his foundation beneath them. You can tell he really cares about this band and doing his absolute best. After the show he was very patient with all the onlookers and was very kind. He remembered me from Portland and thanked me for coming all the way out from Missouri to see them. Of all the band, I seemed to have the best rapport with Tim--he seemed really down-to-earth and appreciative of what's around him.

A great cap to a whirlwind weekend. On the way home I felt just a touch of the melancholy that always accompanies imagined-to-reality situations, but was ultimately left with a feeling of joy--it was great to finally see them and I wish 'em all the best. And best of all, I get to see them again in NYC! :)

take care,

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