Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide
By Deb Kloeden
Australia’s iconic music legends, The Church are celebrating the 30th anniversary of their most acclaimed album ‘Starfish’ with an extensive, major city Australasian tour. I was lucky enough to see the second to last of these in Adelaide and I experienced a real night to remember.
The five-piece band performed the album ‘Starfish’ in its entirety from start to finish. The second song on this album, ‘Under the Milky Way Tonight’ became their signature song and still earns the band new fans today. It is a true classic. The lighting effects during this song were strong starry back spots, giving the impression of a massive starry sky, mimicking the ones we see here in Australia.
Lead singer/guitarist Steve Kilbey provided entertaining banter between songs with anecdotes or background information about the songs. After performing song 5 - ‘North, South, East and West’, Kilbey explained that in the ‘old days’ of playing the record, this was the end of side one. “At this point you dusted the needle off and turned the record over”.
The band launched straight into side 2 of the album and by this stage they were really getting into the groove. Kilbey seemed much more animated on this tour than when I saw the band perform just over a year ago. His stage antics included long lunges and theatrical arm waving, giving him a real aerobic work out on stage. It was a relatively hot night and the sweat was literally pouring off him. The Church appear to be a long way from slowing down despite the years that have passed.
Song 8 – ‘Reptile’ was a real stand out for me (and the crowd). It received the first standing ovation for the night. Long experimental distortion opened this song, almost becoming a jam session before it really started. Song 10 – ‘Hotel Womb’ completed the performance of ‘Starfish’ and was followed by a timely intermission.
The band then returned to play a further nine iconic numbers plus two as an encore, starting with ‘Anaesthesia’ from their 1998 album ‘Hologram of Baal’. This was followed by ‘Metropolis’, which began with an introduction like a dream memory, symbolised by distorted dreamy sound. The second set ended with ‘Tantalized’, which treated us all to some very tight frenzied guitar work, reminding me what a versatile band they are.
A long standing ovation, calling for an encore, was rewarded with another signature song ‘Unguarded Moment’. By this time the majority of the seated crowd were on their feet and dancing, some even standing on their chairs. Some had moved into the space between the stage and the front row and were recording the final precious moments on their phones. The farewell song for the night was ‘Miami’ from their more recent album ‘Further/Deeper’. Gradually band members vanished from the stage until only one remained. The night was over and everyone was truly sated.
The Church will perform one final show on this tour in Perth on Sunday 9th December.
3. Under the Milky Way
4. Blood Money
6. North, South, East and West
10. A New Season
(Peter Koppes lead vocals)
11. Hotel Womb
14. Another Century
16. Constant in Opal
17. Day 5
18. Almost With You
21. The Unguarded Moment