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This past Thursday, the church brought their “Future Past Perfect” tour to a full house at B.B. King’s in Times Square. The concept of the evening was that the band would play the following albums in their entirety: Untitled #23 (2009), Priest=Aura (1992), and Starfish (1988). Over the last few years, some indie and alt-rock bands have played one of their classic albums from start to finish, this is the first time that I’ve heard of any band taking this concept to such a grand scale.
The concert was nothing short of impressive. As the band took the stage, Steve Kilbey came to the mic and said “We are called The [pause] Crouch and we are going to give you Untitled #23”. There was a minimal amount of stage banter after this as the music and the art (projected on the screens) did all of the talking needed. This first set was stellar so it is hard to pick out a individual song or two but “Anchorage” was particularly stunning as the band added a backing vocalist (Tour Manager Tiare Helberg) and an additional guitarist to create a haunting and memorable soundscape.
After a twenty minute intermission, the band returned for Priest = Aura and gave a shout-out to Jay Dee Daugherty who was in the audience (Jay Dee played drums on Priest = Aura and toured with the church for a few years). While I don’t think I gave this album the time of day when it originally came out, the band’s live performance made me realize that I have been missing something. Particularly stellar was “The Disillusionist” where Steve Kilbey became more animated than I’ve seen once he put his guitar down. The other track of note was “Film” where this melancholy instrumental seemed to perfectly ramp-down the second set.
As the band went off for the second intermission, I could hear Marty saying something about needing to rest his hands and that made me really pay attention to the amount of energy and precision that went into this 3+ hour show. On the audience side, not everyone was able to appropriately pace themselves. One “nice” young man staggered right into me after the second set and I watched as his date was trying to help him get his arms into his jacket sleeves as he was having no luck on his own.
For the last set, the band played Starfish from start to finish and the album has aged well. While I’ve heard “Under The Milky Way” way to many times, the overall album doesn’t have that “big” (aka dated) 80’s sound that many bands were utilizing at that time. Songs like “Destination” and “Hotel Womb” sound just as vital today as they did when originally released.
Someone sitting on the floor obviously brought a pocket camera into the show and filmed the last song of the night – “Hotel Womb”. My post-show thoughts are that an official live album/DVD from this tour is really needed as this was a show not to be missed. – From Brooklyn Rocks