Three albums in three hours. For paying punters tonight who’d forked out $60, that worked out to be about what you’d pay for the 3 albums at JB Hi- Fi. On paper, not a bad deal.
Iconic Australian band The Church brought their ambitious and shamelessly self-indulgent Future | Past | Perfect tour to Melbourne in that vortex of time that is the gap between Christmas and New Year. The brief was simple: 3 albums – 2009′s Untitled #23, 1992′s Priest=Aura and 1988′s hugely popular Starfish played in full.
Untitled #23 kicked things off, an album on which frontman Steve Kilbey delivered all the lead vocals. The crowd were appreciative though not particularly ‘involved’, and there were a few empty seats at the Forum, configured as a fully seated venue. The songwriting though is solid, even if Kilbey’s voice tonight wasn’t particularly so, but Pangaea and Anchorage in particular shone.
After a short break (intermissions at a gig??), the band returned to deliver all the songs from their critically acclaimed Priest=Aura. Eclectic and complex, this isn’t an album for everyone and it definitely drew a more muted reponse than the previous offering.
Yet another intermission and it was time for the most widely known and revered collection of work – Starfish. Whilst songwriter Steve Kilbey has unashamedly dined out on the second track – Under The Milky Way – since the day it was released, Starfish is an album with real depth that goes beyond being defined by the success of that track.
Reptile in particular mounted a strong case for best track of the night, and it’s clear that this is the album the 500 strong crowd enjoyed the most.
It’s hard to fault the value for money on offer tonight, but at times the deep excavation of album tracks and extended atmospheric solos challenged the neutral listener. Still Vocalist and Bassist Kilbey, along with bandmates Peter Koppes (Guitar & Vocals), Marty Willson-Piper (Guitar & Bass) and drummer Tim Powles showed the strength of their convictions by delivering 3 such contrasting albums to their fans at the always incredible Forum Theatre in Melbourne on the penultimate night of 2011.