Pictures by Valerie (ValPasal@aol.com)
Sorry I waited to put a posting on for the Chicago show. Simply the show was good BUT it lacked the energy of last years HOB show. I actually was a really disappointed in the choice to use songs like "Dome", "Day of the Dead", "Grind", "Tranquility", and "Kings". The songs were played with excellence yet slow was the droning anthem of the evening. I really would have loved to see them play "Fog"(b-side single to Ripple), "Essence", "Luscious Ghost" and "Don't Fear the Reaper!" Yet, as I said, they did a great job of playing.
I got my dream fulfilled when I was able to go back-stage with 2 other people to meet the band. When we entered the room, Marty was sitting with his shirt off and abruptly said "doesn't anyone eat around here", Pointing to a dish of cheeses. I was shell shocked. I was in a room with my Favorite band and I didn't know what to say but "Will you guys sign this?" Peter looked at my VINYL original of "Starfish" with shock and smiled. Steve looked really burnt out (or high. Who really cares; just because they are The Church doesn't mean that they have to be saints! Good Luck With N.Y. Justice Steve!!!!). Tim Looked a little disappointed until I asked him by name to autograph the Louisiana single. I think that he was happy to be recognized. Marty, my favorite guitar player of all time, still looked ready to go. I commented on how I wished that he would have played "Luscious Ghost". He started reciting the lyrics and like an IDIOT I didn't recognize them! I felt completely stupid. I wanted to stay longer but I had school at 8 in the morning-- 6 hours away!
Before I bid them Adieu I asked them to say hello into the TAPE PLAYER THAT RECORDED THE SHOW to a friend that couldn't make it (Karen Clayton- Seance member and academic advisor for my university.) Marty, Steve and Tim looked really Surprised but complied. I knew my drive would be a long one so I made a hasty exit after only 2-3 minutes with the band. On the way out I encountered Peter. He also complied with my request to say "hi" to Karen, of course with a warning: "Don't believe everything you read on SEANCE!!!" The only intelligent question I could finally muster up was about a re-releasing of "A Different Man". To my disappointment he replied that it was never going to happen due to it being owned by the record company.
I want to thank the guys for making my evening in more ways than one. I would kill for another chance to talk to them. I had so many questions to ask and I blew it. PLEASE GIVE ME ANOTHER CHANCE!!!!! O.K. enough of my whining. Peter, Marty, Steve and Tim: If you guys would like I will send YOU a copy of the show. It wasn't a perfect taping but it was still a good show. Anyone else who is looking for a copy I will only trade for either CD "LIVE UNDER the MILKY WAY" or CD of "A Different MAN".
Are there going to be any added shows now that Steve has to stay in the U.S.? HINT HINT -- St. Louis Mo.!!!!!!!!
Hope that the rest of the tour has better luck than NY. Fans: Don't get down on STEVE for his mistake. NO ONE IS PERFECT. Not even our Favorite Saints!!! replies welcome...
Vinnie Stefanelli - VINI@siu.edu
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
Their Lighting and sound guy "trevor" helped us out in the end in meeting the band. They had this projection camera that showed footage of an older Church show in the background while they played, that was strange. During the Intro when the played the House version of UTMW (which they don't know who did and they find it to be quite dreadful) they projected on the stage all the covers for Box of birds. The were selling Steve's book and all their solo CDs and 2 t-shirts, 1 black and 1 white with a picture of a carton of eggs and the caption "the church, box of birds" on it. the black t-shirt had tour dates on it. The shirts were really cheap, only 12 dollars and they were selling the cd single for louisiana for 5 dollars. Too bad they did not play it.
The gig itself was great, Steve remarked later that he loved the venue and thought the show was good, but Tim felt that he did not have a good show which I think wasn't true, he was great. Marty was AMAZING, the crowd during solos of GRIND and Anaesthesia and all of his other guitar parts. He was the center of the show tonight. I asked them the name of their new song, but I forgot it, its called soething like (and always, once forever) 4 words, with a comma. The show was pretty packed which is amazing for a house of blues show on a tuesday night and the gig got no promotion really too, it was great. There were a few hecklers stating "Play the song that I know" and stuff like that. The croud seemed to love the older stuff like Myrrh, Grind. It seemed like people really wern't into the Baal or Priest=Aura stuff.
After the show, we got backstage passes from Trevor since we needed to give Tim my band's cd (www.edgetolife.com) in which we did a Drum and Base Cover of Reptile and wanted to give Tim a copy. Everyone was waiting after the gig to meet the band and we got our passes and kicked everyone out of the venue and then they said "We got a call from the bands manager, they want everyone to leave, there is no aftershow, get out!" and I was pissed. There were people there who had passes and were in contact with the band and were being asked to leave. Me and my friend wouldn't leave and demanded to hear straight from Tim face to leave! cause we had a cd to give him. Finanly the HOB manager went upstairs to tell them that we had a cd for tim and that we won't leave until he tells us personally via the walkie talkie to go home. Tim comes downstairs to us and was upset saying" Where is everyone, I promised so many of the internet fans backstage passes and now they were asked to leave?!?!" he was pissed and wanted answers. There was a backstage gathering and he wanted the people who were going to meet the band to meet them. He looked around the venue and found this one girl that has been wanting to meet the Church forever and he took us all upstairs to meet them. I asked Steve if it was ok if we covered Reptile and he said "cover all our songs, I don't like that song reptile anymore" Tim said "we played only 8 bars of that song and we'll probably never sing that song again" Tim also said "If we like your ban'ds version of reptile, we'll play it after the gigs as people leave. So TOO anyone WHO GOES TO any other Church Gig. Can you Please tell me if you hear a Drum and Base version of Reptile AFter the show is over or even before the show!!!!!!! I would love to know if our version got played. I'd appreaciate it. Marty might tour the US solo in Feb.
Highlights: Myrhh, played early in the set. Marty was fantastic, playing with intensity and polish, and soloing with an e-bow. Tantalized was energetic and powerful. Marty pretty much shined on every song he touched. The band was very tight and more powerful than I have seen in the past. They're clearly having alot of fun this time out, and it's great to see. Steve did play with some of the lyrics, but I can't remember how. Two girls I stood next to in the audience drove great distances to see the show. One girl drove from Michigan, and another from Dallas.
No guitars into the audience from Marty. He wouldn't have got it back from me. Overall a fantastic show from a great band in their top form. Probably the best show I've seen in 10 years, and maybe the best one ever. I'm glad to see the guys still going strong.
The boys took the stage and I have to agree they all look very healthy although I saw Marty's missing tooth. Steve stuck with a Fender precision bass all night except for the new song where he played Marty's Fender (the new song sounds nice, kind of "Buffalo"-ish, but slower), Marty alternated between a black Rick 12-string and the aformentioned brown Fender. I managed to wrangle the same spot I did last year; front row, dead-center directly in front of Steve, and the sound this year was much better. Steve sounded great and sung with much enthusiasm, Steve and Peter even smiled a few times! Steve didn't have much to say except "Thank you" and "Hello, Toronto." Marty was his usual jumpy, feedback-addicted self. Tim did some great drum re-arrangements to some of the songs, adding many intricate rolls. I really liked the first chorus to "Buffalo," which was much gentler than the record with Tim only supplying simple percussion while Peter and Marty strummed oh-so-gently. I'm glad they retired "Milky Way" although I still love to hear "Reptile" and it would of been cool if they played "Old Flame" again. Peter stuck to his zombie stare but did smile now and then, and let out a big grin when some people in the audience made an effort to shout out his name all at once. There was also some great dual e-bow work from Marty + Pete. I think the increase in the smile factor is attributed to the fact they are playing covers and playing more recent stuff. "Reptile" was the most popular request, and during the 1st encore a woman to my left kept shouting for "Essence" while Steve rested on the drum riser with a "Yeah, right" look on his face whenever he heard her shout it. Towards the end of the 2nd encore Marty's guitar fizzled out towards the end of the song and he abruptly flung it to a roadie and walked offstage. Seeing the different mix of people again this year was also encouraging - many geeks, yuppies, surfer-looking dudes, and of course the dorky Church-heads which you could spot a mile away (paisley shirts, suede jackets, corduroy pants, silver earrings, shaggy hair and / or Kilbey beards). I myself am guilty of fashion symptoms 4 and 6. All in all, last year's concert had a better set list (especially their performance of "Ripple") but this was still a great show, just wish Steve was a little more playful with the audience. Thank you Steve, Peter, Marty and Tim!
I was also grateful that fate allowed me the opportunity to attend this show. The night before, one of the power cords to my stereo blew, and ignited a pair of headphones on the floor. If I was anywhere else at that exact moment, the results could have been horrendous, if not tragic.
At the concessions table, the seller wasn't making a lot of sales (initially anyhow), since nobody at the venue thought to provide him with some change to break the larger bills. Still, I got the impression that this guy was not the sharpest knife in the drawer. I asked for one of each "Box of Birds" shirt (too bad there were no "Hologram" shirts available) at $12 each, and one "Refo:mation" CD at $15. I figured that $39 order would help me ditch a couple of twenties, but he kept saying $29. Befuddled by this stunning indictment of Chicago's educational system, I just popped the bills down and told him to keep the change. Perhaps I should have finalged another shirt out of the deal, but I didn't want to see what kind of answer he'd have for a second math test.
Not knowing anything at all about the warm-up act, Box-O-Car, I flippantly remarked, "Miller Lite presents the "Not-Quite-Ready-For-Garage-Band-Status-Band." The lead singer looked as if he lifted some mascara and lipstick from Robert Smith's (The Cure) toiletries kit. Also, his leg-kicks reminded me of the nadir of 80's glam-rock bands. I was gratified to hear that this Chicago band was no pantywaist. Although I couldn't understand the lyrics, the triple-guitar-powered line-up rocked for ten songs, and the gaunt lead singer did some good Iggy-ish gyrations. I'll have to watch and see if they hit O'Cayz Corral here in Madison sometime soon. (For more info on the band, go to www.box-o-car.com.)
Steve Kilbey made his presence known during this warm-up gig. During the third number, the lead guitarist popped a string and had to switch guitars. (Funny. I thought string-whipping was Marty's latest trick.) The other guitar was taken backstage for restrining, and it was returned a couple of numbers later. Steve then appeared over stage-left, presumably to check that the borrowed guitar was tuned properly. My jaw dropped seeing Kilbey appearing so unexpectedly. (It was my first time seeing him in the flesh, so forgive my drooling-fanboy reaction.)
He then went backstage and worked over to stage-right, where he was smiling a lot and truly seemed to be enjoying the act. He also stepped in to help the bass guitarist, whose strap broke, and Steve stepped in to attach a new one, while the guitarist did the best he could to continue through the number. (And yes, the guitarist did take a moment to acknowledge his great assistance, referring to him as "our backstage guy", and suggesting that the two of them had been rehearsing the accident. I also noticed a look of concern on Steve's face when Dan (the other bassist) gyrated and threw himself on the floor, which disconnected the plugs to his guitar. Fortunately, the band continued through and were able to recover by themselves. That made for a nice bit of drama on-stage.
After what seemed like an hour's wait, the Church finally took the stage, and so help me, I could not I.D. the first song, short as it was. Still, it was very polished with no technical problems, which was rather par for the whole show. The first half of the show belonged to Kilbey, as he ran through three numbers from "Priest=Aura": "Ripple", "Dome" (a very intriguing choice, and Kilbey's performance especially personalized it) and "Kings."
I was in heaven seeing "Myrrh" performed live, and just hearing its introductory, hyper-kinetic vamp had me palpitating. The song from the forthcoming LP has me giddy and quivering in excitement. The melodic hook grabs your soul from the first instant, and though some of the lyrics eluded my transcribing abilities, they have the classic Kilbey tone of resignment to one's destiny (The show's been paid for, the audience is here, the performance must go on), and the chorus' reiteration of regrets that it couldn't go on forever. I don't know how the band could do that song any better than they did last night. It's THAT good!
Seeing the show live has altered my perception of the songs, now that I am able to identify Peter as the backup voalist on "Ripple", as well as watching Tim rage through "Tantalized", or seeing how Marty accomplishes those incredible sonic effects on "Destination." While Koppes seemed understated from my vantage point, he was in excellent form, doing an incredible job of creating the desolate mood with a sonic flood at the start of "The Endless Sea." Sure, he doesn't smile a lot, but then I have to remind myself to smile when I'm enjoying myself. I'm sure it has little or nothing to do with band relations or the rigors of the tour. Some of us just hold a memorable Keatonesque stone face.
Kilbey's most personal work came with the cuts from last year's album: "Anaesthesia", "Tranquility", and a wonderful rendition of "Buffalo." Of the three, "Anaesthesia" had a particular effect on me, given my father's medical woes this summer (though he would regard being on morphine for weeks as a paranoia-inducing, sanity-wracking experience that's damned difficult to romanticize.)
Steve also seemed to be a lot more comfortable with his recall of the lyrics, only blanking out on a line from "Grind." (Long distance century... can't remember the words.") He seemed to handle in stride, which was especially gratifying in light of reports of the death of "Reptile." The most interesting manipulation came in the first encore with "Day of the Dead." He brings in the lyric about curios early, and finishes with filling "the tank up with Amaco." (All right, who over at Texaco Corporation ticked Steve off?!) Steve also altered the order in "Tranquility", bringing "the nebula" in before "the orchestra", which rather throws off the structured progression from the singularity to plurality and, ultimately, to the cosmological. Still, I'm not going to criticize it, as I wasn't the one on-stage testing my long-term memory in front of a packed house..
While Kilbey's presence was overpowering during the first half, it was Marty who dominated the stage as the show concluded. Here is a man who truly enjoys performing, shredding his fingers over songs like "Grind", methodically manipulating the knobs during "Destination", and even fiddling with a control box to produce a harrowing stream of noise as he bridged "Day of the Dead" with "Cortez the Killer." His duet with Steve on "Two Places at Once" was truly epic, and Marty shined most brilliantly as he tore through "Tantalized." The band couldn't have picked a better number to close the show and lead-in to the two encores.
The final song was "Silver Machine", with band members leaving one-by-one. Marty departed first, and Peter split after manipulating his own controls and balancing his guitar on the speakers to produce a steady stream of noise that continued after Steve and Time left and the curtains closed.
I didn't stick around long to see if the band would do autographs or chat with the Seancers. My brother and I were both pleasantly sore from the experience (my right ankle's still not right), and we had a long night's drive ahead of us. I would've loved to have my "Gilt Trip" signed, but the show was so entertaining and enthralling, it just seemed best to end the memory on such a high point. I'm really, really hoping that somebody taped it ("Bag of Bones", guys?)
If the guys have the strength to do another show when their next LP arrives, I'm coming back. Big time.
-Dan McCormick email@example.com
Of course, there are dozens of songs I wish they had played, all from the eighties. And I am sure there are tons of people who will write to you saying that the band was better than ever. But while I had a great time, while I loved every minute of it, it lacked the transformative experience for me of their concerts in the late eighties which I had the privilige of attending. Maybe I'm getting old and maybe it's just that I don't have the same attachment to their more recent records. (not being 16 anymore)
I want to reiterate how good the show was. I really, really loved it. But I did feel the music was a bit subdued. Someone wrote in the review of the LA show that TWO PLACES AT ONCE seemed too almost too subdued, but at last nights show, it was one of the high points. (Both in that it is such a lovely song and that they gave it a bit more oomph) The absolute high point (in crowd and band energy) was Tantalized. Steve and Marty were in very good humor. I think the crowd would have stayed all night if the HOB minions had not closed the curtain after their second encore.
But I don't go to concerts much anymore and maybe I am just being a curmudgeon.
The crowd was pretty enthusiastic...House of Blues chicago probably holds 1000 or so ...attendance was just shy of that I'd guess....not much chatter from the Band, although Steve jokingly said, "Hello Toronto".....Chicago is probably the evil opposite of Toronto, Toronto is clean, friendly and safe and Chicago is, well.......not.
The show started a bit slow...Ripple...essence...Dome....the Techs were adjusting the levels and the sound was a bit muddy....after the first 3 songs (or so) the sound was fine....lots of guitar changes, I'm not educated enough to tell you what was what, but on two places at once Marty had what appeared (and sounded like) an electrical acoustic....the song had a kind of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young sound----I mean that in a good way....
They seemed to have the most fun on the songs they could rip
through: Grind--Tantalized--Silver Machine........
For the opening band, I had my ear plugs firmly in place - need I say more...
A DJ from WXRT, the Chicago station which has long supported the Church, introduced the band who was still hidden behind the huge patchwork quilt stage curtain. The crowd roared with anticipation, even before the curtains parted, when that Shining Path version of UTMW signaled the beginning of the show.
I tell you, the crowd was ready to go. When the band was revealed, they looked like they, too, had something to prove. They began Hiroshima with encore level intensity. They roared through their set list with a tightness and focus that was breathtaking. Peter, Steve, and Tim matched the enthusiasm of the crowd with an ever increasing drive of energy. But Marty was absolutely swept away by it. Playing ever more frenzied solos and giving a harded edge to even "slower" songs like 2 Places at Once - he practically screamed his lyrics into the microphone.
This was the first night since his fireglow 6-sting Rickenbacker bit the dust in Minneapolis, and he was playing the Fender alot. I don't know if it is the nature of that guitar or the vibe from the crowd - but Marty rocked out on his solos so much that his band mates would look at him like he was outta control!
I was spent after Tantalized, and the encores were just icing on the cake. When the band came out the last time, Marty yelled straight at me something like, "Are you ready to go?!!!" They launched into Silver Machine and rocked us straight into the stratosphere! "Whoa, Baby!" I thought. I could do this again. And I did. I flew out to Providence, RI for further adventures...