MY CHURCH ADVENTURES - 1988 by Gary the assassin

MARCH 25th - The Church played at the Bottom Line in NYC. Amy was supposed to go to this show, but her friend was coming in from out of state and she had to cancel. The ticket was used by Mike Trokenheim. After a small squabble about the driving situation, Matt and I ended up driving. (Matt and I wanted to go to an OCS party at Hofstra afterwards and wanted to go in the same car). We go inside, and the Trokenheim's are already seated. I see the guy that looks like Peter Koppes (who I see at every Church show I have ever been at and at the Marty Willson-Piper solo show the previous year), and say hi. In the concert, Marty goes nuts and kicks over anything in reach, while Pete stays immobile. Meanwhile Matt is talking to a roadie and asking him some questions. Marty flips his pick in the audience, and I miss it, but the girl next to me puts it back on the stage (what an idiot), so I grab it. The show is over, and we go back to our cars. My battery is dead. I tell Matt to get his car and jump mine. When he comes back, he tells me that his car was broken into, and that my father's tools which were in his hatch, were stolen. He calls the police. While my car is being jumped, and Matt is telling the police the story, Jonathan leans on a car next to mine and sets off the alarm. As it turns out, we never make to OCS party.

JUNE 9th - The Ritz. This show, Amy is able to make even though it is on a weekday. There were 2 warmup bands. I forgot the name of the first band (which means they must have stunk). The official warmup band was 5440. We ran into Barbi at the show (Barbi is a girl from St. Louis who came to NY to start a band. We met her at the Marty solo show the previous years). I find out that the concert was going to be simulcast on WNEW, so I call my house to get it taped, but the line is busy and I lose out. Matt sees the roadie again, yells "hello," and he gets a wave back. The band walks out on stage, and Steve starts b saying, "NY, you're so grandiose." The concert was great, even though I thought the voices were a little drowned out by the music. Someone threw a Milky Way bar on stage during "Under The Milky Way", and it hit just in front of Steve Kilbey's face. I thought they were going to walk off stage, but Steve just made a joke about it. The set was a little different from the Bottom Line show, and it was a full 2 hours long. My longest concert. The trip home was uneventful.

JUNE 11th - Bay Street in Sag Harbor. Me, Matt and Ber. I was sick during the day, and brought my Comtrex along. We get there and start talking to people on line who came from North Carolina, who were at the Boston show the night before (Who the hell would travel to another state to see a concert?). We notice Marty on the grass talking to some people, and run there to see him. He is yanked onto the bus by some guy. We are excited. We go inside, and are disgusted by the crowd. Preppies all over. The epitome of nausea is there: a girl dressed in all white with a red sweater draped over her shoulders, tied around her neck, with her hands in her pocket. We are right up at the stage. Matt sees the roadie from the Bottom Line show and says hello, and the roadie says, "Boy, you sure do get around." Matt sees the 5440 bass player before the show, and walks over to talk to him. I am starting to feel a little more sick, so I put cotton in my ears so that my eardrums don't explode. The show starts, and the Church recognize that the audience sucks, so a Marty makes a couple of jokes about them(us). First, Marty points out about 7 people who are "real" fans, and we are 3 of the 7 he points to. The jokes were:

  1. We are going to do a Huey Lewis cover now, I'm sure you will all be thrilled.
  2. This is our last song, then Bruce Horney and the Range will come on; And they don't wear earrings.
  3. This is the second suburb we are playing in today.

No one understood the last one, and even when Marty looked at Steve, and Steve did the "went over their heads" sign. The Church did not come out for their encores. The set was the same as the Ritz show.

A couple of days later, Matt jokes about going to Chicago to see them with Trok. After careful thinking, I decide that we should do it because the Sag Harbor show was a disappointment. Matt is surprised, but Trok is even more surprised. We ask Ber if he wants to go, but he says he can't. We tell Trok he has to get us tickets somehow, and he calls up a friend in Chicago, and he next day he tells us he got them. Ber now says that he will go, but that he is going to take a plane back, because he has to work on Sunday. Our plan is to go on Tuesday, see the show on Wednesday, and stay until Sunday. Trok has to call a different friend to get another ticket, and he gets it. The day before we are to leave, I get a sore throat and it turns into another bad cold on the day of the show. It takes about 15.5 hours to get to Chicago, and they are in the middle of their biggest heatwave ever. It was 98 degrees at 11pm, and Trok has no air conditioner.

JUNE 22nd - At the Vic in Chicago. We say we are going to stay until the place closes because this is going to be our last Church show of 1988, but of course since I don't feel well, we probably won't be able to. Before the show, we talk to people and find out that 2 people are from Madison, Wisconsin, one guy is from St. Louis, and two girls flew in from California for the show. But they were all amazed that we drove from NY. We see the roadie and yell to him. He comes over and exclaims, "You guys made my day! I come out here, and you are at the show again! Wow! But listen, next time you come this far, just call the place and tell them you know John, the roadie, and I will have your names on the guest list." We are happy.

When 5440 take the stage, we yell to Phil. He comes over, smiles and shakes Matt's hand, and tells us to stick around after the show. Frank, from Madison tells us that the Church is playing the next night in Madison which is only 2 hours away, and that it is their last show in the country, so we shouldn't miss it. But I wasn't feeling well, and Trok and Ber had Cubs' tickets. But we yell to John that we want to go to the show, and he comes out and tells us to put our names on a piece of paper and that our names will be on the guest list for the show. The set was the same, but they were more energetic. Peter even moved and smiled. We didn't stick around after the show, except to say hello to Phil, and we got his address so we could find out 5440's plans for the future. We didn't go to the Madison show. (One of the biggest mistakes I ever made in my life).

A couple of weeks later I call Frank in Wisconsin to ask him if he got the pictures I sent him and that I wanted the things he promised me. He told me that The Church were coming around again in August, but playing at larger arenas that hold 1500 minimum. I was happy.

While driving home for lunch one day from work, I heard that the Church were going to be at the Beacon theater, so I found out when tickets go on sale, and it was the next day. Luckily I had no work. Trok was going to be in for the show, so I picked him up a ticket. Ber and I went to Sunrise Mall at 8:00am to wait on line. No line, but tickets did not go on sale until 10:00am. We waited, and since Peter Murphy was opening up the show, I figured the tickets were going to go fast. We got row D, which comes out to about the 8th row because of the double letter rows. I call up Mike's Management to see what other Church dates are in the area. I figure that I could go to shows in New Haven (CT), Philadelphia (PA), or Washington (DC) if there are any. I am told that the next night they are playing in Boston. I decide not to pursue it. Trok calls me up, and I tell him about the show, and ask him if would be interested in the Boston show, and to my utter amazement he excitedly says, "sure!" So I went on a quest to find out how to get tickets for the show. I went to the library to look for the address of the Orpheum Theater, and for legalized ticket scalpers in Boston. I went back home and made a couple of calls. I called the Orpheum, and they said I had to call TicketMaster. I called and asked them what were the best seats available. They said "Orchestra seats." I asked what row, but they said I couldn't find out until I got them in the mail, but that I could go down to TicketMaster and they could tell me. I asked if I had to be in Massachusetts to get them, and the girl asked, "Why, where are you calling from?" When I said Long Island, she said, "You are going to come all the way to Boston to see a concert?" So I told her that I drove to Chicago to see them. She thought I was nuts, and said I could go to any TicketMaster in the country. So I went to the local one by me, but they didn't carry any tickets for the show, so I had to call TicketMaster again and order by phone.A Week later, I get the tickets and they were Row X (last row). Matt calls me and tells me he saw them in Florida and got backstage passes when he ran in to John again. I was mad.

SEPTEMBER 8th - Beacon Theater. Jonathan was upstate and he wouldn't make it back in time so we were going to meet him by the Beacon. Naturally, he wasn't there. I wanted to go in at 8:00pm, because Beacon shows begin on time, and I wanted to see if I could find John to get some backstage passes. We went in without Jonathan, and I saw John, but he was drunk. I laid on the sob story, and told him that I had tickets to the next night's show, and that I was going to be stuck in row X. He asked where that was, and I said, "See that last row, that's where it is." He said, "Bummer. If you like, I could give you a couple of after show passes." I was so excited I didn't want to let it out, and told him it would be great. He said he would be handing them out after the show, by that backstage door, but we never found him again. I decided to go into the hall to see if I could see Jonathan outside and, sure enough, I did. I slipped the ticket to him, between the doors, and he got in. It was a different set; a weaker one as a matter in fact, but it is the Church. On the way out, we saw Richard Ploog and I told him that I was stuck in row X the next night and asked him if he could give me some after show passes, but he said that I would have to see him that night and ask him. Trok, being a little annoyed at the poor song selection, asked him who picked the set, and Richard said, "Of you have to talk to Steve about that, he's the boss." So, at the 5th show, I finally got to exchange words with a member of the band. We saw the guy who looks like Peter again, but this time he looks like Marty.

SEPTEMBER 9th - I was told a rule about Boston: Never drive in the city. So as soon as we got there, we parked. We looked for a hotel, but they were all over $100 for the night, so we decided to look for the cheapest, sleaziest place we could find. We finally found one. It looked like a welfare hotel. Our room had 1 double bed. There was no room in it for another one. As a matter in fact, there was no room in it to fit another chair. There was one bathroom for the whole floor. It had one toilet bowl, and if there was another toilet bowl in it, there would be no room to stand. That is how small it was.

It was raining, so we decided to go look for the theater. When we got there, we heard a sound check going on and asked if we could go in, but the guy at the door said that the band wasn't even there yet. So we waited, but after about half an hour decided to go somewhere else. As we were walking down the end of the street (it was a dead end), I thought I saw John, the roadie, and was going to go to him to get some after show passes. But it wasn't John, it was THE CHURCH. I tried to control myself, so that the band didn't think I was an asshole. I just waved and said, "Hi guys!" Steve said, "Oh look, a Remote Luxury T-shirt, you know those are very rare, you can get a lot of money for those." We just waved again, turned the corner, then screamed. I was dying from excitement. We went to a record store, and a guy and girl looked at our Church shirts and asked us if we were going to the show. We told them that we just saw the Church in the street and they said we should go back and wait for them to come out because there is only on way out; there is no back door. We waited, and I didn't realize it, but Peter Koppes walked out, and then Steve and Richard walked out. We just looked at them to show respect, but these 2 Massachusetts morons ran over and asked for autographs. We decided to start a manhunt for Marty. I felt like such a groupie. Here we are, in a far away place, on the trail of the Church. After searching high and low, showtime was approaching so we decided to get there early to run into John.

We went in and I saw John, but he was busy. We came down to row G with the 2 people we met, and Steve walked by on his way to backstage. We eyed him, and he looked back and gave us a nod. I was happy. We happened to be right by the sound board, and John came by. We were talking with him. This time he wasn't drunk and he remembered us. He then had to get back to work, but asked us how many after show passes we wanted. I almost died. He said to meet him right there after Peter Murphy's set. I didn't feel like seeing Peter Murphy again, so we waited in the hall. During the Peter Murphy set, Steve came out (probably to see who else hated Peter Murphy), and we waved. He gave us the thumbs up sign. I saw the guy who looks like Marty again and said hello. The Church were great, as usual, even though they played the same set as the Beacon, and we couldn't find John, and I was upset, because this was our big chance. Marty was also pissed because his guitar went on the blink during their second song, and he was immobile the rest of the show.

I called Mike's Management again to find out future tour dates, but there was no news as of yet. They did say that there would be more dates to come.

While flipping through the radio stations a couple of days later, on a Connecticut radio station, I heard that the Church were going to be at the Capitol Theater. I called a radio station to ask for the number of the theater so I could call them and get more info. The station gave me a NY phone number. I didn't know where the hell the Capitol Theater was, so I feared the worst. I found out it was in Port Chester, NY, wherever the hell that was. So I called them up and asked how far from NY city they were. They said about an hour, but I didn't trust them. With my luck, it was so far from me, that I wouldn't drive that far. I looked on my map all the way up at Niagara falls. I worked my way down, and finally looked on the map legend, and it was so close that I couldn't believe it. I asked them where tickets went on sale, and asked them if I could possibly reserve them over the phone. They said I could but I would have to pick them up within 48 hours. Since it was close by, I decided to go for it. After all, I would also know where I was going when the day of the show came. They said I would have to call back next week when they had ticket information.

I called Mike's Management again, and they said the Church will be in Rochester (10/12), Port Chester (10/13), which I knew, of course, New Haven (10/14), and Providence (10/15), then they go home. I decided I wanted to go to the Providence show, since it was the last one in the country. When I called back the Capitol Theater and asked when tickets go on sale, they said that they went on sale already. I was upset and asked what were the best seats available. They said second row, center. I quickly said I would take two. I had to come to the place and pick them up within 48 hours. No problem. This was the Church, I would certainly go all the way there to pick them up. I also decided to skip the New Haven show since this was much closer, but still wanted to see the Providence show.

I called Mike's Management once again, and asked where they were playing in Providence on the 15th, but they said they were playing in Providence on the 16th and Springfield (MA) on the 15th. Shit! I couldn't possibly make a show on Sunday the 16th and get back late to go to work the next day, and I didn't know how far or where Springfield was. When I did find out where Springfield was, and found it to be closer than Providence, I decided I would go if someone else could go with me. So I went to an OCS party and Brenda found out about me going to the Church show in Port Chester and said, "You're going and you didn't tell me!" So I said I might go to the Springfield show, and she said she would go. So now I was able to go to another show, if I could get tickets somehow. I called Mike's Management again to ask where the Church were playing in Springfield; the Paramount Theater. I called up the Paramount and asked what were the best seats available, but they didn't know. So I went to Ticketron and my plan was that if I get row M or closer, I would get 2 tickets Row M it was. I thought, "Hey, why not go to the Springfield show, and then on the way home, stop over in Providence and see that show; Yeah!" What was I thinking? I was letting my brain just float off with ridiculous thoughts. I told Brenda, and she said hesitantly that if I wanted, she would do it. But I realized this was stupid.

So, a couple of days later, while listening to a college radio show from Connecticut, they were giving away 2 tickets to the New Haven show. I dialed to my heart's content but was too late. The DJ told me that they were giving away more tickets later. I waited and waited. And when the DJ came on an hour later, I waited, phone in hand. As soon as she said, "This Friday the Church...", I dialed all the digits except the last. As soon as she said, "I have a pair of tickets...", I dialed the last digit. She continued, "...for the first caller. Whoa, the phone is ringing already; Probably someone who was waiting around for this." She cued up the next song and answered the phone and said, "You won, but you have an unfair advantage. What were you doing, waiting around for me to say this?" I was so excited, my voice quivered, and I said yes. She said, "Give me one good reason why I should give you these tickets." I said I was from Long Island, and she said OK. She then asked me if I would drive all the way to New Haven just to see a concert. I was hoping she would ask me that. With my voice still shaky, I told her how I drove to Chicago and Boston, how I was going on the 13th to Port Chester, going to Springfield on the 15th, and that I would gladly go to New Haven on the 14th. She said, "Cool! You sound like this guy I know who follows the Church around, named Mike. I should hook you up with him, and you guys could exchange Church stories." So, I called Brenda to tell her of a possible change in plans and asked if she didn't mind going to the New Haven show, sleeping over, and then going to Springfield the next day. She said, "Two shows??? Cool! Awesome! I can't believe I am going to do this. OK, I'll go." Great, now I was set. These were definitely going to be the last 3 Church shows for 1988.

OCTOBER 13th - Port Chester. I was going to leave at about 1pm to get there in plenty of time, walk around town, get something to eat, and maybe see the Church walking around too. I eventually left at 4pm figuring if I didn't see them this day, I had 2 more days to try. I got there by 5pm, parked less than a block away, and roamed around town looking for food. Everything closes at 5pm in this hick town. I went back to my car and read a magazine, looking up every minute to see if the Church came by. I finally got on line, figuring I may see someone I know, or at least someone I can boast to about my trek's across the country to see them. I decided my car would be safer if I parked across the street at the railroad station, so I moved it and got back on line. The line consisted of 4 people besides me. After an hour, there were about 50 people on line, and Marty walked in the front door. I kept my cool, and I didn't really recognize him because he looked haggard, and was wearing a french hat. I said hi, but this was after he was in the door, and didn't hear me. 30 seconds later Steve came by. I made eye contact with him, and he did the same. I said, "Hi Steve", and he said, "Oh, hi" in a very nice way. Although this was hardly a conversation, I was satisfied. I also noticed that not one other person recognized him. And when Ber finally got there, I told him, and he couldn't believe that all these people were so dumb.

We happened to be sitting next to the guy who looks like Marty. When he went to the bathroom, I was telling his friend about all the shows I went to and he told me his stories. I found out they are from New Haven, and I asked what their names were. When he said that the Marty look-alike was named Mike, I knew that he must be the Mike that the DJ was talking about. It turned out that he was. What a story. He asked if I was going to New Haven, Springfield and Providence. I told him that the Providence show was impossible. He was going to all. The Church played the same set as the previous 2 shows, but they put on a great show. Someone threw toilet paper on stage, which almost hit Marty. He said something after the song was over, and then dedicated the next song to them (which is about morons like that). Richard Ploog also wrapped himself in the paper, and during their last song, Richard disassembled his drum set and put it back together with microphones all over, and went haywire. During The show, someone yelled out to let Richard sing a song, and Steve said in jocular fashion, "Let Richard sing? Are you kidding?" Also, a couple of guys tried to jump the stage, but fell into the orchestra pit when the single pieces of wood that they had to walk across to get to the stage, couldn't support their weight, and broke.

OCTOBER 14th - New Haven. We pulled into New Haven at 3pm. Went to the place that was selling tickets and asked if I can pick up mine there, but they said I had to wait until the doors open and pick them up at the door. I asked where Broadway was because Mike told me where a great record store was. The girl looked at me like I was from out of town, which I was, then she told me how to get to Broadway. We passed right through Yale University, and while walking around the street, I saw Mike drive by. It was a little strange being so far from home and running into him. When we found Broadway, we found a record store which was OK, but we later found the right one. We went back to the theater, and there was a bus there. I wondered if it was the Church's. Then Brenda pointed to the little marquee on top of the bus, and it said, "THE CHURCH." AHHH! Quick heartbeat, disorientation, etc. We sat in front of the place, and after 30 minutes I saw Richard walking our way. He came by and I said, "Hi Richard." He responded by looking at me as if he should know me and said, "Dy du du dyi nu nu dnu dyon ya." He then kept walking and went into a restaurant, looking back to make sure we weren't following him. At this point we found out that there was a back stage door, so seeing the rest of the band was just about impossible. We went to the restaurant and saw Richard in line, just like a human being. Could you just die! There he was, people in front of him, people in back of him, and he just stood there like he was just another person. We went back in front of the theater and when he came back, I said hello again, and told him that "I was at the show last night, and I am going to tomorrow's show." He said what I believe was, "That's king", and went into the backstage door. That must have been an Australian saying for "That's cool." When we got inside some people overheard me saying that this was my 8th show, and they were impressed. We ran into Mike inside. We got our seats: row V, center. Same set. After the show we had to drive about 40 minutes to Hartford, where our hotel was. It was booked in advance, and was the closest thing available. $39.90, so I expected a dump, but it was a very elegant high class Ramada Inn. Of course we made a wrong turn off the highway before we eventually got back on the right track.

OCTOBER 15th - The guaranteed final Church concert for 1988 in America for me, so this was it. We got to Springfield at 12:30pm, and parked for $2. We went to the theater to see if there was anything going on, and went around back to see if the bus was there. The Let's Active bus was there, but the Church bus was not. Good, we beat them, so this means if we just wait here, they will have to pull up eventually. On the wall running perpendicular to the back stage door, was a hole the size of the door, and we decided we should wait on the other side of it, since it was right next to the backstage door, and no one would be able to see us waiting. As it turns out, through the other side of the hole was right across the street from where we parked, and it was a bank parking lot. We waited. When we wait no longer, we toured Springfield. We continually walked around the other side of the building to make sure the bus didn't "sneak" in, walked around town, and went back to the bank parking lot. It was getting late and there was no Church bus yet. I figured they must be in town already, maybe at a hotel and they were going to walk to the place. So we were torn between waiting in the bank parking lot by the hole, in front of the theater to cut them off at the front door, and the parking lot entrance to the theater where the Let's Active bus was.

It was now about 6:00pm when the guy who sells shirts came out to get something, and I said hi because I have seen him at every show. He said there was going to be a special guest that night. Official people kept coming and going through the front door, when I saw a guy and girl coming out the front door. It was Mich Easter of Let's Active. So when he walked out, I said "hi," he looked back but kept walking. Then when I said I was at the last 2 shows, he seemed surprised and said, "Great" and kept walking. Then there was this blond guy who was hanging around the front door, and someone came out and gave him an after show pass. We jokingly asked him if he wanted to sell it, and he said, "Maybe" in an Australian accent. Whoa!!! So we struck up a conversation with him, and I told him this was my 9th show this year, and he was taken back, and said, "That's king!". So I guess it IS an Australian phrase for "cool." He couldn't believe that the Church had such a big following in America. He is a journalist from Australia and heard that the Church was going to be in Springfield, so he hopped on a bus from NY a came up. He thought the Church were only a cult band here. When I told him that I even bought the Church video, and that I had their new double album of greatest hits and B-sides, he asked me if I ever heard of the Crystal Set, Steve Kilbey's brothers' band. I told him I have the album, and he couldn't believe it. He told me how the Church ignore their fans in Australia. They only play one show there, and in America they were doing 19 shows. I told him how they were not really big here, and that I am an exception, because I didn't want him to write an article on how they are very popular in this country just because of one insane fan. He said if we come see him after the show, he would see what he could do to get us backstage. I thanked him but said we were driving all the way back to LI that night. Then Brenda hit me and told me not to pass up an opportunity like this, so I told him that I would take him up on his offer.

He then went to buy his ticket, and at this point Mich Easter walked back by. I asked the girl from the band if they take requests, and she asked what song I wanted to hear. I said, "Water's Part", and she really seemed upset and said that they didn't have the guitars for that song with them. However, I think that they were surprised to know that I was familiar with their album from 4 years ago. Then I asked them if they were playing at the Ritz, and they were quick to answer that they were gong to be there on the 19th. I was satisfied again; I spoke to Let's Active, and they think I am a big fan of theirs. As it turns out, when they played the Ritz, they dedicated Water's part to me. WOW!

Anyway, the Aussie guy came out again and I asked him where his tickets were, and he looked at them and asked me, "Does that say row Zed?" Ah, the Australian "Z." We went in and ran into Mike's friends again, and I told her that I couldn't find the Church all day. She said that they were leaving New Haven about 7pm. I asked her how she knew, and she told me that she was with Steve all day. I said, "WHAT?!?!?" She said that at the previous night's show, Mike told Steve to go the record store in New Haven. So when Mike called the hotel to talk to Steve the next day, Steve said that he had no way of getting there. So Mike's friend said she would be glad to pick him up and drive him. So Steve was in the same record store I was in. AHHHHHHH!!! If I had just decided to stay in New Haven the next day instead of Hartford, and I happened to go to the record store, I may have seen Steve being a civilian. Oh well. the show was the same, but after the 3rd song there was a mass exodus to the stage, and then the whole place rushed the stage. We joined and made it up to the 3rd row. What an ending to the 1988 Church adventure. It only took us 2.5 hours to get back to Hofstra. I got home at 2:30. Thank you and good-bye...

If you came here directly, click here to get to my HomePage.