Pictures by Anthony Collins (ACollins@K-W-B.COM). Heap praise upon him.
I thought it couldn't get any better than last year's show but there was last night....
(start-10:10p) 1. hiroshima mon amour 2. ripple 3. dome 4. kings 5. new song** 6. myrrh 7. anaesthesia 8. tranquility 9. buffalo 10. grind 11. the endless sea 12. two places at once 13. destination 14. tantalized +++++++++++ 15. day of the dead 16. cortez the killer +++++++++++ 17. silver machine (finish 12:10a)
i've attached the setlist - 2 solid hours of great sound, and packed with such great songs that the "hits" were not missed. i met marty before the show downstairs and he was incredibly gracious and friendly. signed my 'priest' and 'magician' cds as these are religious icons to me (!) i didn't ask for a backstage pass ("we're all separate countries, bill" marty said to me as i sought autographs from his bandmates), but my wife leyla and i managed to get backstage about 15 mins after the show. Jay dee daugherty (Brian: Drummer on the Priest=Aura album and tour.) was there (what a bonus!) and i got him to sign 'aura' as well. peter offered me a beer and loved the story (don't ask how it came up, i DON'T remember) about my turkish born wife picking ME up w/her broken english (he repeated it later).
tim got drenched (for the 2nd time) w/a beer but swore i was not the culprit. he, too signed all i asked. steve was talking w/jay dee and also was nice enough to sign. both he and marty seemed a bit surprised when i mentioned that contrary to what i had read about the 'sequencing', that i thought 'magician' was amazing 'as is' and i was disappointed they played nothing from it this year or last. i erred by not getting steve's signature on 'magician' nor peter's on 'louisiana'. unfortunately, with only 3.5 hrs. sleep in me chances are i won't make it tonight for round 2. i couldn't (and can't right now) help being the typical fan, but the CHURCH are an amazing musical experience.
ps - a rowdy fan interrupted the show during 'dome' and before 'kings'. he was quite drunk and slamming into female fans around him (my wife included). i yelled i would kill him if he continued and steve was aware of the situation. between songs he put up the V symbol and said "peace, peace". the rowdy fan told steve he was threatened w/death and steve said, "don't kill him, it would be embarrassing" then said something about david cassidy. steve then told the guy to enjoy himself without bothering those around him, which drew big cheers. sadly, ultimately the 'fan' was removed from the show.
pss - i mentioned to a seancer from australia, greg, standing next to me that i suspected marty was in fact an extraterrestrial (after hearing 'tantalized') because he did 'unhumanly' things with the guitar last night. not capable of being done by humans. i'm sure of it.
I guess Monday night could largely be a ditto of many of the reviews from earlier shows... superb, awesome, magnificent, orgiastic. All of the superlatives were there in attendance. It took probably two or three songs for the band to really settle, but once they found their groove, and Steve had moved on from bantering with an over exuberant fan, they came together as a truly tightknit four piece band, merging as one to bring the Bowery Ballroom to life. The venue itself was perfect for the night. A stage layout providing perfect visibility for everyone in the crowd, an even, well balanced sound, an upstairs balcony for those desiring an aerial view, and a good size room with the all important bar at the back. To say that the band were playing to the converted would be an understatement. Everyone in the crowd seemed intimate with the band, many having seen them on the tour twelve months ago, having been fans for a long time. The venue was comfortably full, although the shows were not sold out, perhaps indicating the fluctuating fortunes and popularity of the Church over recent years. I recall clambering around the precarious old roof of The Venue in Melbourne some years back, along with a few intrepid friends, looking for a way in at a sell out show . We contemplated the drop through a skylight into a pitch black room below but eventually decided that spending the night in a dark, locked room at the back of the venue with two broken legs was not a particularly enjoyable way to spend an evening. That, accompanied by speculation of the following days newspaper headlines - "Church fans plummet to their death" - eventually led us to abandon the quest. This time a ticket purchase at the door was sufficient.
For me the highlights of the show were Tantalised - how does Marty play those rhythms so fast, a rockingly atmospheric Cortez, a chilling version of Endless Sea that leaves their recorded version for dead, and the sublime Tranquility - has Steve ever penned a more beautiful song. The main disappointment of the band playing only their more recent material is that Peter doesn't get as much opportunity to showcase his enormous talent, tending these days to play second fiddle to Marty, so to speak. Earlier material seemed to provide a more even balance - nothing surpassed Peter's live guitar breaks in An Interlude for pure guitar magic.
The set was long, the encores generous, and the crowd lapped it up. Some favourites were obviously missing, but with all of the previous reviews, everyone expected this, and everyone seemed to leave completely satisfied. I hadn't seen The Church live for five years, and that was not even the full band but Steve and Marty's acoustic duo. I was in bliss. I met several Seancers and stumbled clumsily around the band room for a couple of hours talking to whoever was there - it's always a pleasure to meet anybody who is into The Church. Jay Dee Daugherty was at the gig and upstairs after the show, obviously still good friends with the band. Marty rushed over happily to see him and to tell him about his impending solo release which he seems very excited about.
Greg also reported on the next night's show, which didn't go so smoothly....