First Avenue, Minneapolis


Well, it's 1:15 am here in Mpls and my head is spinning from the show. Being that this was my eighth Church show, I've been trying to put this one into perspective in relationship to the others. Although it started out a bit rocky, the lads kicked it in from the NSEW onward. Wasn't the best show I've seen in terms of performance (the 1987 Heyday show at 1st Ave is still is the best), it was probably the best in terms of the songs performed. Many of which I hadn't seen the whole band play live ever.

The show brought back a flood of memories, even more so than the last show (Kilbey/Wilson-Piper show at the House of Blues in L.A.). Back when I saw them the first time with the Remote Luxury tour, they were one of two bands that really mattered at the time (the other being the Rain Parade). With every subsequent record from the Blurred Crusade onward, I've seemed to be able to remember certain milestones in my life, i.e back when Seance came out. The years always seemed to be blurred, but events were always tied to each release.

Although you really can't count the Church as being a nostalgia band, I know a lot of old fans that came to the show and were the "flame" was re-kindled. The best quote was "I forgot how good these guys really are!".

The great thing about the show, was that the lads seemed to be truly enjoying themselves, something I hadn't seen in later shows. The set list was fairly similar to what's been published the last few weeks, but what was special was the way the set bridged nearly all of the records. Sure, it would have been nice to hear somemore stuff from the Blurred Crusade or at least one song off of each Of Skins and Hearts and Seance, but I was not disappointed. In all of the shows I've seen over the years, they have never performed the same songs. That was what was truly great about this show.

Not sure if I'll be able to go to sleep, but I'm going to try. I'm sure I'll have Peter's lead from Almost With You ringing through my head, but hell, I can give up a good night's sleep for something this special....

Ali I will attempt to relate my experiences at the in-store signing at Let It Be records Minneapolis. To all Seancers, Chuck, Marcello, and Nicole whom I met, I was NOT myself that night I was completely on another planet mentally and my head was spinning.

The Church was scheduled to arrive at 6pm at the record store, I rolled into town from my four hour drive just around that time and was freaking coz I expected ONLY the Seancers to be there and thought that if the guys had come at that time and met the seancers and left already. When I arrived a the record store I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was packed and a huge line had formed inside leading to the table where they would be sitting. Some time after 6:30pm, I recognized Peter walking in, then Tim, and I told my sister, cousin, and best friend, all who were with me that they had arrived. I was at the tail end of the line, at this time I met Chuck and then Marcello. Never found the guy with the Sonic Youth SYR t-shirt.

Anyway I finally reached the table and I had an anxiety attack, and realized that everything I'm gonna relate to you I said like a machine gun to the guys, later on my sister told me Steve couldn't a word in edgewise and was staring at me with his mouth wide open, when I met them at the table (later on the conversations etc were more relaxed). Here goes. From left to right they were seated on the table, Marty, Tim, Steve, Peter. The line formed from the right side of the table so first up was Pete. I had my Australian pressing of the Sťance LP for him to sign. I couldn't think of what to say but I tried to tell him "I wanted to bring The Well CD for you to sign, but it's half way across the globe" (but I stuttered and my tongue was tied so imagine that sentence with a lot of pausing forgetting what word to say next, stuttering, etc) Pete had no idea what the fuck I was saying and stared at me blankly, acknowledged when I said The Well and smiled. I didn't explain to him that my Well CD was with a cousin in Dubai, who was borrowing it.

Next on the table, Steve. I was speechless even more of a bumbling fool than I was with Pete. I handed him Sťance, next I handed him two sheets of paper upon which were the Exquisite Corpses [Brian: a technique for writing poetry with other people] that I had done with Brian, Donnette Thayer, and a couple of other people. I told Steve nervously "I was scared to show this to you because of one person, then he looked at the paper saw Donnette and said "as in Donnette Thayer?" I said "yes", he smiled to himself and he took them! Yes! Mission #1 accomplished. He asked my name then since I hadn't introduced myself! Then signed my Seance vinyl.

While Steve was signing Sťance I handed my Baal CD sleeve to Tim. I told him I loved the production on the album. Then against Chuck's bad advice I mentioned to Tim (steve was listening) how I had pestered the record store in Minneapolis not only to promote the album but about the concert and how I got them to get the Church to come. THEN ALL OF THE GUYS THANKED ME!

Tim: "So are you a general in the Church Army" (in his awesome Ozzie accent)
Me: "no Doug Berry is the General, I'm just part of the midwestern contingent [marty was leaning over and listening too, I think he was rattling off different army divisions and brainstorming with Tim]
Tim: "ah so you're like a Brigadier then. I'm just the drummer boy the other guys make it all happen"
Me: "no you're producer extraordinaire, I love the sound on the new album that's all thanks to you! You're just as important"
Marty: "you know Tim mixes in the nude"
Me(with a staight face to Marty): "So that's it! That's why it's so awesome! That adds so much to it!"
[me and marty laugh, Tim smiles sheepishly]

Then it was Marty's turn. I gave him Seance to sign. I asked him about Seeing Stars he told me to ask the record store people, I did and no cigar. I then gave Marty my band's tape. I told him that you inspired me to play the 12-string and this is nothing in comparison for all that you guys have done but I'd like you to have it nonetheless. He took it and told Tim "this would be great for the tourbus". I looked like I didn't believe Marty, then Marty said, "I'm not joking, I don't lie, that's my problem, that's what gets me into trouble I'm not a liar." Then I thanked him for Another Earth. I said was that Rick line yours? He then sort of sang the rick lines. I said, yeah those. I told him when I heard that song I was like "thank you Marty" he liked that. I then stumbled off and realized I had given Steve duplicate copies of the SAME exquisite corpse. So I got the 2nd exquisite corpse copy and ran back over to the table and said "Steve I'm sorry I think I gave you two copies of the same thing and he said "you did" then we traded a duplicate for the correct one.

I then proceeded to hang around at the record store after everyone had left and finished signing. I walked up very nervously to Marty and said, "could I have a quickie picture with you?" I wanted the whole band though, and at this point Marty was languidly posing with me (no picture of this was taken) and I asked Steve to join us, well I nervously said 'Steve could I have a quickie picture with you? I'm sorry I looked and acted like such an idiot during the signing, it's just that I was tongue-tied and nervous and didn't have a proper conversation with you like I would have liked'. Steve reassuringly told me, "that's alright", and completely blocked out Marty's hilarious pose and bounded over and put his arm around me and said "my friend Ali Baba!" While the picture was being taken I turned to him and said "you remembered my name?" and very reassuringly he said "of course". Then an interesting conversation ensued with Steve:

Me: Do you mind if I ask you a not so nice question?
Steve: Go ahead.
Me: During Heyday you were very pleased with Pete Walsh as a producer and wanted him to work on Starfish. How come he didn't?
Steve: They wouldn't let us.
Me: that's what I thought Arista wanted that wino.
Steve: They wanted those American fucks, Waddy Wachtel
Me: what did he call himself? Expensive wino.
Steve: Expensive Coke Fiend, is more like it.
[I was too much in a whirl to catch that witticism from steve my cousin who was there heard him say that]
[Steve then looked at me with a sort of look of regret and said]
Steve: Well, I think it's too late for Pete Walsh, now, anyway.
Me (reassuringly): That doesn't matter though, you guys have done a better job with Baal, Tim's production was excellent the sound is just beautiful.
Steve: you think so? Really?
Me: Well this is coming from a Ploog sympathizer
Steve: Tim's far better than Ploog
Me: well for a long time my fave has been P=A but, well I can't say I have a fave church album they all go in rotation but right now my fave is Baal it's up there if not better than P=A.
Steve: What do you guys think of Bastard Universe (to me, my cousin, and best friend)
Us: It's amazing.
Me: [smiling] Can you please play more songs off the new album tonight
Steve: Have you seen us live this time around, which show did you see us at?
Me: no this is the first time this tour.
Steve: (baffled) how do you know we haven't been playing our new songs?
Me: I'm a stalker.
Steve: Oh yeah, the Internet.
Me: yeah.
Steve: Well when we started the tour the album wasn't out. And now we just haven't - I mean - I've just been to lazy to...
Me: ...figure it out.
Steve: figure it out live.

Marty was looking at some LP's that a customer at the record store had bought and was walking around with the tape I had given him. Woohoo. Then I walked up to him and apologized for him getting cut out of the picture when I asked Steve to take one with us. Then he put his arm around me and we had a nice picture. He commented on the size of my flash. I said I better put it away coz they wouldn't let me in the club with it. Marty was like "they wouldn't?".
Me: "well I mean 4 brown people and this huge camera that looks like a weapon?" "Hologram of Allah, I'll put a fatwah on you" [Marty and I had a hearty laugh on that one]

As I left the record store the guys were outside and Steve told me "good luck in finding a tabla player, they're always hard to find". This was in relation to me telling Steve earlier that my band used to have a tabla player but he left and it's just me and another guitarist.

As we were walking to the car, I looked back and the whole band was a like a block behind us walking to the venue. I wanted to join them but we needed to drop our LP sleeves and camera and stuff off, and I didn't' want to be too psycho.

I'll leave the concert review for another time though I'm sure everyone else who went will do a good job of relating that. I'll add my two bit to whatever any other Minneapolis concert goer has posted.


Well, I certainly don't have as much to tell as Ali did. :) Just a couple of interesting things. My hubby (he likes them a bit but he really dislikes SK's voice! oh the horror) and I arrived at Let It Be records an hour early. I shopped around, bought nearly $100 worth of music impossible to find in Duluth including HOB/BU (and Cd's by Rusted Root, Pulp, the Wonder Stuff, That Petrol Emotion, AND Of Skins and Heart which I didn't have on CD yet). When they announced the signing was about to begin we queued up and were about 4th in line. My knees were shaking, I was pretty much out of my head. I've NEVER seen them live before, never met them, and I've been a rabid fan since 88. Then they walked in, and this incredible calm fell over me. I'd told Josh I didn't think I'd be able to say a word to them, because I tend to freeze in any social situation, let alone something like this. But then we got up to the table, and as Peter is starting to sign my copy of HOB, out I blurt "So, I see none of you are lefties!"

So, as I'm chatting with Peter about this fact ("No, none of us are, are you?" "No, I'm not, but he is" *points at Josh* "You know, three of the Beatles were left handed" "Oh really? Wow") I failed to notice that Steve was signing my HOB with his LEFT HAND! Ha! A bit shaky, but definately legible, moreso than any of the other signatures I think! I also had them sign my Starfish shirt, mentioning that I've had it since I was 14 (Marty: "Wow, that's a really long time" hey, it only came OUT 10 years ago :). And Tim drew a cute little smiley-face with spikey hair.

The concert, of course, did not disappoint. Marty's mic stand fell on him at one point, he finally managed to duck it and let if fall without a break in his playing (of course). The only flaw in the experience was some guy behind me who insisted on singing several of the songs so loudly (and off key to boot) that I couldn't hear STEVE over him. He didn't seem to be singing much pre-Starfish so I was praying for older songs until the crowd shifted enough that I wasn't near him.

I couldn't have asked for a much better setlist. Marty stole the show of course. And yes, one of the nicest parts was the little grins, the definite impression that they were truely enjoying themselves. And I'm actually glad I wasn't able to hear HOB before the show. Because when I was finally able to sit down in a quiet room with some good headphones and give it a spin, Louisiana caused me to burst into tears as it transported me right back in time to my spot in the crowd, 5 feet from the stage right between Steve and Marty, I mean I was THERE. And that association won't last, but it was worth those few minutes of melancholy bliss.

Ok, two more years? Well, I can hope.


Return to Hologram of Baal tour page.