Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The most fun concerts ever?

Crowded House has been living up to its name with a string of packed concerts across the globe – and for good reason. In part, it's because frontman Neil Finn's DNA isn't made up of nucleotides, like the rest of us. His double-helix is likely constructed out of musical bars containing bass, treble, and tenor clefs. Few possess such a genetic gift for melody.

But the other part of their success comes down to this: Few bands interact with their audiences like these musicians from Down Under. After taking in the Led Zeppelin reunion concert the previous night, Crowded House prepared for its Royal Albert Hall show by leaving sheets of paper on seats so that the concertgoers could make paper aeroplanes to aim at the stage. At another point, Finn said the band had always wanted to see themselves play live. So they handed their instruments over to their roadies, who proceded to play a perfect rendition of "It's Only Natural" while the band dashed over to one of the Albert Hall boxes to watch from afar. Then the band members clambered over the box and waded through the audience to return to the stage to finish the rest of the tune.

The previous night, the band played a 50-minute second encore, gleefully overrunning the 11 p.m. venue curfew. And, as is their custom, this band not only completely overhauls its setlists each night, they'll also gamely tackle audience requests of rare and obsure tracks they've not played in years. Wish I could have been there to witness it myself but I still have fond memories of their August show in Boston.

By the way, if you only Crowded House's "Don't Dream It's Over," you're missing out on one of the great back catalogues in music. (America ignored the band just when they became superstars across the world on the strength of their two classic records, "Woodface" and "Together Alone.")

For starters, try "Distant Sun" or "Weather With You" or "When You Come." They're all on the Crowded House Best Of, "Recurring Dream" – 18 tracks of musical nirvana. Then drill down into the individual albums, Finn's solo work ( "Try Whistling This" is one of the best albums of the '90s), as well as his songwriting partnership on two albums with his brother, Tim, as The Finn Brothers.

1 comment:

  1. I agree 250%. Neil is a songwriting god and he's vastly under-appreciated. It's nice to read posts like this.