Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Church - Live Salt Lake City - Aug. 16, 1988

It was a beautiful August evening for this outdoor show at the "Triad Center" in Salt Lake City. The Church were in heavy rotation on our local modern rock station that summer with "Under The Milkyway" and "Reptile" from the "Starfish" album. The show was a triple bill- Tom Verlaine, Peter Murphy, and The Church. I didn't tape Tom's or Peter's performances- now I wish I had. I was with my friends Jason and Kathryn. You can clearly hear Jason tell me to "Fuck off" as the music was starting. I was probably trying to tell him to shush since I was recording.

This tape has sat dormant for over 22 years because of dismal sound quality. It was recorded on a small handheld Sony recorder with a built in condenser mic. I say small, but by today's standards that thing is/was a behemoth. Luckily, I was a skinny little bastard back then and could hide it in the front or back of my shorts where the security didn't necessarily check. This kind of sneaking of a recorder into a show seems quaint in our modern age of mobile phones. Seems like at shows now if you look around you will see at least 6 people recording with their phones during any given song. (Which is cool because now, if you miss a show, or a band skips your town, you can watch most of it on YouTube- thank you internet gods.) And the signs at venues no longer read 'no recording equipment allowed', they've had to change them to 'no professional recording equipment allowed.'

Anyway, this tape has too much hiss and the vocals and the guitars were buried under the drums and the hiss. I've been holding onto it all these years but basically considered it unlistenable. After finding some other live Church recordings on music blogs recently, I went looking for this tape. After finding it and literally wiping the dust off it, I piped it into my laptop and then started playing with the graphic equalizer in Sound Studio. I pushed the frequencies from 500 Hz to 1 kHZ and did a really sharp drop off after 10 kHZ to minimize the tape hiss. This significantly bumped up the vocals and guitars. This is the first time that I have enjoyed listening to this taping. Although, now that you can hear the vocals and guitars, I can't decide if it's done too many strange things to Steve Kilbey's voice. Still I'm enjoying listening to it and would like to give other church fans a chance to as well.

Track Listing

  1. Constant In Opal
  2. Blood Money
  3. Myrrh
  4. In This Room
  5. A New Season
  6. Destination
  7. Hotel Womb
  8. Unsubstantiated
  9. Under The Milkyway
  10. Tristesse
  11. Spark
  12. North, South, East, and West
  13. Reptile
  14. Tantalized
  15. It Doesn't Change
  16. Cortez The Killer (w/ Tom Verlaine)
  17. You Took (w/ Tom Verlaine)

Things you might notice:
  • "In This Room", from the (once upon a time) hard to get Sing Songs ep, I didn't know the title of this for years until this ep got a nice, affordable CD reissue
  • "Unsubstantiated", from the (forgettable?) "Tequila Sunrise" soundtrack, -or- the deluxe release of "Priest = Aura" if you happen to be lucky enough to have that one (I'm not that lucky)
  • Multiple insane guitar effects feedback flare-ups during the latter part of "Hotel Womb"
  • "Spark" and "North, South, East, and West" sound 'interesting' due to my little Sony struggling to pull the tape at the correct speed after I turned the tape over at approx. 45 minutes into the set. (The more I listen to it, it's becoming apparent that my recorder was having trouble pulling the tape at a constant rate throughout the entire show.)
  • Tom Verlaine came out and played during the encore with the church for 2 insanely long numbers, a cover of Neil Young's "Cortez The Killer" and then the Church's own "You Took", which unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) gets cut off due to the tape running out, but it does sound like the song was just about to end at that point
Other live Church you might like:

1 comment:

  1. Russell
    Thought I'd drop in and have a look, having read your comment on my blog. Your blog is just getting off the ground it seems, so I wish you every success in its development
    Downloading your Salt Lake City recording as I type, so thanks in advance
    Cheers from Down Under