Pics by Bob Schweitzer (Schweitz97@aol.com)
, Ok, tonight looked as though it could have been the biggest disappointment I've ever seen. I was supposed to interview Tim on Sunday, no call; they were having trouble. We tentatively rescheduled the interview and I was supposed to show up at today's concert for the sound check. Sound check was supposed to be at 3:00 PM.
I called in to check with the record company--the band had problems getting out of NYC. Laurie with Thirsty Ear advised me to skip waiting for the band and try to work something else out. It gave me a bad feeling.
So I show up at the Cat's Cradle in Carrboro at 9:30. Opening act was due to play at 10:00. Talking to some folks there I learn a couple of things: First the sound check didn't happen until about 9PM. Second, I understand that 1) Marty looked pissed and 2) there's a rumor that Steve got thrown in jail in NYC. All of this is unsubstantiated.
I begin to fear the worst. There is no rack of "Marty Amps" or "Pete Amps." There are none of Tim's kit onstage. I began to have visions of a no-show or of Marty walking off; I guess I had visions of that first show stuck in my head. I wasn't there, but I heard about it.
The opening act plays; I'm quite impressed by the singer/rhythm guitarist (Playing a Fender Coronodo XII, which is the guitar version of the bass Steve played for years) and the bass player (I would bet that Steve wouldn't like him, as he plays aggressively--moving around the fretboard like a fiend).
I'm reassured. If we've got an opening act, surely we've got The Church...
After the opening band left the stage, Tim came out and began to TUNE THE OPENING ACT'S DRUMS. Pete wanders out and moves a Rickenbacker 6-string (with glow-in-the-dark stars stuck all over it) to his side of the stage, along with his white Stratocaster. Marty wanders out with his black 12-string Rick and the Fender he's been playing on tour.
Steve comes out last, explaining that they have no gear, that they've borrowed some, and that they're going to do their best. Set lists are set out. The list contained: Myrrh, Ripple, Dome, Comedown, After E (the new song), Reptile, Anaesthesia (in parentheses, which I thought meant that they couldn't perform it with their gear), Tranquility, Buffalo, Grind, Endless C, 2 Places, Destination, and Tantalize. Notice, no encore songs.
Steve explained that they couldn't do all the songs that they'd been performing and begins to play.
This may sound weird, but tonight's show was the best damned show I've ever seen. I won't even try to explain it now, I'm tired and I can't believe this happened. Steve talked, Pete talked, Marty smiled, and Tim bashed the hell out of those borrowed drums.
I think that an indication of how the band reacted to us is they gave us two encores. The first was Day of the Dead with the opening act's percussionist on bongos and assorted knick-knack things that percussionists bang. The second was Cortez the Killer. Steve was awesome. The whole thing was incredible.
I have more info, but as I learned in grad school, you never show all your cards. I've still got to interview Tim and get the thing written up for Modern Drummer (hopefully they'll like it and then we can all go party like it's 2001).
Going into the show my wife and I really didn't know what to expect. We had been Church fans since around 1990; our favorite albums have always been Starfish, Heyday and Blurred Crusade, although the degree of our loyalty has varied considerably based on how we liked their album du jour. Neither of us had ever seen the Church live. Our best opportunity would have been when they played Raleigh in 1990.
Anyway, we were very excited as we milled around outside the Cat's Cradle with about 50 other fans, most much more ardent than ourselves. We were very impressed with the girl who could immediately recall all songs in order from P=A and the two girls who made the 4-hour pilgrimage as it were from South Carolina. Our excitement became momentarily short-lived when we heard the band's equipment had not arrived, and I wondered if The Church would go on. However, soon, we heard the soundcheck begin from outside the club and realized "It's really them!" and our spirits lifted.
Finally, we were allowed into the venue, and after another wait, the opening band, Senseless Happy, began to play. They were quite good, and we enjoyed their set, which I though set the tone for The Church.
Finally, after another long interlude, the (Unguarded) moment arrived. The Church took the stage, all in seemingly good spirits, particularly for a band who didn't have their gear. To see them in person after all this time was an incredible rush. Steve Kilbey began by explaining they had to use the opening band's gear, something about problems getting their equipment from New York, and that they'd play the songs that they could. He picked up a borrowed four-string, plucked it several times, and commented that it "sounds more like a bass (the fish) than a bass (the guitar)!" He also mentioned something about "maybe you'd rather listen to a lecture from a professor of economics in the crowd who probably makes more than the band".
We knew the boys were about to produce something special that evening when they opened with "Myrrh", which happens to be my wife's fave Church song. From that point on, The Church had the audience's undivided attention. Kilbey was in rare form that night, bantering back and forth with the crowd, making jokes, etc., as fans shouted out their requests. Marty Willson Piper was the catalyst that night, a dynamo of energy, by far the most animated with his stage presence, as he wrested every bit of sound, tremolo, and vibrato out of his guitar. Peter Koppes was content to basically stand in place, although he and Willson-Piper both alternated their roles of solo and rhythm quite well, sometimes switcing in the same song.
For me, the concert's other high points were "Reptile", "Tantalized", and "Comedown", which were very well done and really worked the crowd into a frenzy. All in all, it was a very good show; we were both very well pleased, even after the band abruptly left the stage in the middle of the second song of the encore. Hopefully it will not be the only time we get to see them.
Bob Mills, Burlington, NC, USA
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?", Loisqueried. "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.
BOB AND LOIS SCHWEITZER, Salem, Virginia USA
It was like a private party at a Church rehearsal. I was glad their equipment didnt make it cause I and the rest of the fans were treated to a very spontaneous performance that was nearly perfect...
I also have to comment on the opening act, Senseless Happy. The lead singer/guitarrist was extremely good and can play the hell out of his guitar. I felt a little disappointed when their set was cut short due to time. I really enjoyed their act.