Michael Rose (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Well, I was lucky enough to see the Church again in Portland. Considering the fact that I am now in my mid-30s, and never lived close to any previous Church shows (lots of moving around), two concerts in two years is amazing!
To get some facts out of the way: Last year's Portland audience was slightly larger and more vocal - maybe it was the excitement of touring behind a new album, or so many people realizing they were still alive! The opening band were godawful - I don't know if this was the band's idea of a sick joke or what. The "band" started of as one individual playing solo electric guitar. The first song was off of one of Marty's solo albums ("On the Tip Of My Tongue "). Nice start. Then a Husker Du song ("Green Eyes") was ritually slaughtered. Then solo guitar player was joined by a keyboard player. An impressive keyboard rack of three synths and a laptop computer was used to assault the audience with various electronic bleeps and farts. It sounded as if a washing machine factory had been installed in a disco. Fortunately this only lasted about 40 minutes.
Eventually the band we had been waiting for popped up on the stage. Marty was his usual animated self, but I think the other three may have been a little tired. This show didn't last as long as last year, with two short encores. Maybe the travel arangements from San Francisco to Portland were not up to par ...... I'm not complaining about the quality of the show, just being selfish and wishing they could have played longer. Some of the songs plerformed include, Anesthesia, Buffalo, Tranquility, Destination, Tantalized, Day of the Dead, and Grind. The covers included Iggy Pop's Endless Sea, Neil Young's Cortez Cortez ...... which was just stunning ..... and Silver Machine (I _think_ that's a cover, I don't know everything they ever recorded like some of you out there). I think they also played two new songs, which I liked ..... both mid-tempo with lots of room to roam and evolve.
I continue to be amazed by Tim Powles performance. He is rock solid but also brings a lot of passion to some things and absoloutely errupted during Cortez Cortez and Tantalized. Never underestimate the importance of a passionate yet reliable drummer to a band. Peter seemed a lot more into the show this year, moving around more and actually facing the other band members most of the time he was on stage. He is playing a lot of interesting parts and I wish his guitar could have been mixed as high as Marty's. Steve is still playing and looking over the audience - maybe that's the way he has always done things. Marty was Marty and brought his usual 120% to the edge of the stage.
Two funny things and then I'll shut up. At this show (maybe they are doing this throughout the tour) the band was videotaped as they played. This video, at about a 20 second delay, was then played back on the wall behind the stage. This led to some funny scenes (the video Marty jumping around and throttling his guitar near the end of a song behind real Marty lighting a smoke or tuning his guitar between songs). At the end of the second encore, Marty's hair was nearly set on fire by a drunk fan trying to light his cigarette as he bent over the edge of the stage.
I really enjoyed the show and hope they can come back to Portland and Seattle soon.
Portland Community College/Cascade Campus