RSL Club, Bulli, NSW

October 28th 1998

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Pictures by Sean Maguire (Already Yesterday photography) and Brett Dicks

Anthony Gallagher
Got along last night to the Church gig at Bulli RSL and it was one of the most powerful and enjoyable ones I have ever witnessed, including even the U2 'Pop' gig I saw earlier this year. It made the Hobart gig I saw in '90 seem even more pale by comparison. They played for 2 or so hours with one mighty cataclysmic encore and the version of 'Tantilised' which closed the gig was a sonic boom of seering white hot guitar-work and drumming that blew you into next week. They played 5 tracks from 'Starfish' (Reptile, Hotel Womb, North South East West, Under the Milky Way (which everyone sang along with) and the first encore song, 'Destination', which had such a cosmic mystique and scarey ambiance). There was a good cross section of stuff but they only went back beyond 'Heyday' once with a heavy version of 'Almost with you'. The drummer is amazing too, adds a new depth to the live sound.

Some of the newer stuff had a presence which wasn't apparrent when first release on CD and at times, Marty's guitar work bordered on brilliant as in Dave Gilmore (when he was good!) type brilliance. At the end I was left in awe and wanting more, as were, no doubt, the crowd of 300 (my guess) which had thoroughly gotten into it.

whew! still coming down from it all.

The lizard in my brain.........

I finally get to add my own inadequate words to the thousands I've already posted from other fans. Last night's gig was very special for me because Deanne, my girlfriend, came with me to the show. It was her first Church show and though she's only been listening to them for a short while, she really enjoys the music...and nobody can sniff out *every* Church related item in a second-hand CD store like Deanne can ! :)

The set list was as follows:

They didn't play You Took because the venue closed at midnight and they would've gone over time. I really enjoyed the renditions of the songs off the new album, which the band seemed to put extra energy into performing. I can't really comment on the overall sound because we were standing *right* in front of Marty and the main thing we heard was his amp...a night of raw, unprocessed Marty-guitaring :) He was a little bit cold in the first couple of songs, but after warming up, he was doing all sorts of cool stuff, and wrenching his guitar around in ways I've never seen. In Day of the Dead, he leans heavily on his Crybaby Wahwah pedal while pulling the whammy bar UP (instead of the usual downwards action). He got some really good, emotive sounds out of it - I heard cougars snarling, voices talking...what a trip.

Another highlight was Tantalized, which started as usual with Marty chocking away at his muted 12 string. I swear this intro went on for two minutes. The tension builds and builds, and finally he starts hitting the notes that signal the beginning of the song...and we're in. The first two verses go by, then the middle 8 "Marty chocking" starts up again. Another extended session of percussive playing is accompanied by heavy strobe-effects from the lightshow, which sent me into a weird lose track of time...way cool :) Unfortunately Marty didn't get the re-entry into the last verse quite right, he was off by a beat and left Steve unable to sing the first line. But Steve just laughed and waited for the next line, by when everything was back in sync.

William Bowden, who played radiotronics on the album, didn't appear at this concert. There was a suggestion earlier on that he would perform live with the band during the Australian leg of the tour...perhaps later ?

Pedal info: Marty used Boss Overdrive, Overdrive 2 and Sustainer pedals. He had volume and wah-wah foot pedals, his Ibanez unit and another one I didn't recognize.

Going backstage afterwards was fun. I chatted with Steve about his arm (he can't play guitar at the moment) and he said the most painful part of the whole thing was waking up after the operation to fix it. The surgeons had to re-break and reset the bone and the pain when he woke up was worse than getting hit by the car in the first place. The first thing he asked for when he woke up was "MORPHINE !!". He commended me on choosing an American girlfriend - I told him that I didn't choose doesn't let you choose :). I also gave him a Babylon 5 collectors card depicting "The Great Machine", which is an artifact that appears in the show. He said he had no idea that a connection existed; he didn't take the name of the song from the show, and also said, jokingly, that the rest of the band wouldn't be interested in seeing the card because "they don't care about the lyrics, just the music." :)

All in all it was a great night, especially because I could share it with Deanne and fellow fans Gary (from Adelaide), Tom, Barry (all the way from Perth !), Paula, Sandra (both from Melbourne), Jane and Sue. Tomorrow we'll stand a little further back and hear a more balanced (and processed !) sound...BTW Peter was very mobile in the Bulli show. Lots of smiling, spinning, guitar-throttling and even a little jump at one point :)

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