A crowd of around 200 hundred turned up for The Church at the Parkwood Tavern, which was one of the most intimate The Church gigs I have been to since an unplugged gig with Steve Kilbey and Marty Winson-Piper back in the early 1990’s at The Edge nightclub at Broadbeach… Oops, that is way back in the vault!
There was no support, but when The Church did come on stage, they gave a 100% performance. You see the good vibe in the band with Peter Koppes and Ian Hang clowning around, and Steve Kilbey in fine form; theatrical, moving, jumping around. They were really into the gig.
The crowd themselves were loving it – many of them undoubtedly long-term fans of the band like myself – enjoying the chance to get close to the band and still be comfortable. The band turned it on with a range of songs from their immense catalogue, staring with the ‘Aura’ from their 1992 ‘Priest =Aura’ album, then back tracking to ‘Myrrh’ from their 1985 ‘Heyday’ album. The live performance of the band is even more impressive when you consider the intricate song construction of Steve Kilbey.
There were screams when ‘Under the Milky Way’ was played, and the band finished with ‘Reptile’ from their ‘Starfish’ album. Of course there was more to come with their first two hits ‘Unguarded Moment’ and ‘Almost with You’ in the encore.
I was lucky enough to get an after show backstage pass, and finally got to meet the band I had been going to watch since the 1980s. The band are a complete unit, and you see they all get on well. I had a good chat with Ian Hague about his Powderfinger days, and the many gigs they played at the Coolangatta Sands Hotel (Yes that is right – it was called the Port O Call back then), and also was there when Peter Koppes grabbed his 12 string to explain to a punter the structures of the Beatles songs, and in particular his love of John Lennon and his amazing songwriting talents. I also mentioned how they looked like they were having such a good time on stage and how Steve Kilbey was really animated of late.
Peter Koppes replied, “That is the real Steve Kilbey. when were in 1970’s conservative Canberra, in our glam band Baby Grande, he used to jump about with a tambourine in his hand. Then we meet up again in Sydney and formed The Church, he is just standing there! I thought, what happened. What you saw tonight was the real Steve Kilbey.”
It was a great insight, and amazing to meet these icons of Australian music. I was also told by Peter Koppes The Church will be back late 2018 for the 30th anniversary of their ‘Starfish’ album, and evidently a hologram is involved! Watch this space…
IMAGES (c) Peter Wheeler Photography