“Well look at that! An audience!” were the words that Steve Kilbey opened with as he took to the stage at The Gov to play all the hits of The Church. The crowd definitely shared that sentiment looking forward to an awesome night of live music from one of Australia’s much loved and revered artists. COVID has definitely thrown many challenges to promoters, venues and touring artists but collectively we were extremely grateful that we got to experience this show. Steve Kilbey was in red hot form and his band were absolutely smoking.
Two sets spanning two hours with an intermission in the middle featured back to back hits. Opening with When You Were Mine Kilbey remarked that he would be “playing all the singles that sold millions around the world’. Equally as entertaining were Kilbey’s stories and witty humour that connected and resonated with the bumper crowd at The Gov. Kilbey did say in reference to his singles that “I got to do them, shrinking to them, I’m warming up to them” indicating that he wasn’t proud of all of them. Church fans were in their element though being able to take the journey through the treasure trove of hits that so many have grown up to love and enjoy. Columbus and Too Fast For You were great.
The band feature some absolute guns in Barton Price, Paul McDonald, Mark Tobin, Marc Lynch and Brad Christmas. There was a pretty funny Christmas gag in there with Kilbey saying he hoped Brad Christmas would marry his daughter Eve knowing that Christmas comes once a year. The stories about what the band liked and disliked provides great insight to some of these tunes in particular You’re Still Beautiful and It’s No Reason.
The song that changed the trajectory, The Unguarded Moment, for The Church had a great story connecting all these moments that created all these opportunities for the band going from obscurity to fame, being squeezed on the nuts at a gig, receiving a bag full of fifty dollar bills from Michael Chugg after crowds turned out on mass in Melbourne after appearing on Countdown and crossing paths with James Freud. Kilbey also reflected on the downside of having a song like by getting sick of it, a blessing and a curse, referring back to a fierce and amped up crowd in Warrnambool in 1981 who were about to start a riot because they didn’t play it.
Tear It Away was Kilbey’s attempt to having two singles in the charts at the same time as that was the focus back then. Being over all the anecdotes Kilbey let the strength of Metropolis and Reptile power the band through to the intermission as there were “so many hits we needed to separate with an intermission.”
The second set saw the band get straight in to it and knock over hits including Almost With You, Destination and Already Yesterday. She Never Said was Kilbey’s attempt at being an electro pop guy until rock came along jumping ship. Electric Lash and Ripple were great moments in the set and when you line up all these hits it’s a formidable body of work. Under The Milky topped things off and no doubt would of been the highlight for so many despite Kilbey saying enough had been said about that one. Kilbey was still amazed by the concept of an audience and thanked the crowd for a fantastic evening finishing on Tantalized. The crowd were up for more with the band returning for an encore featuring Myrrh and Is This Where You Live? Hopefully we get to see Steve Kilbey again sometime soon, maybe with The Church in the City Of Churches.
Live Review By Rob Lyon