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2005-07-16 - 4:33 p.m.
It was only late last year that I saw Tim and Neil Finn two nights in a row at the State Theatre, but too much is never enough when Neil Finn is involved. Last night Neil finally found himself playing inside the venue which had it's steps and forecourt crowded with 150,000 people in November 1996 to see off one Australia's best loved bands. Okay, I'm using poetic license, they already played two gigs earlier in the week, but this was the first one to go on sale.
It was a fantastic double bill, as the support act was Mercury Rev. And Blueshoe, my dear friend on the other side of the globe, they were awesome I recognised a few songs but for all intents and purposes I'd never had any exposure to them before and I'm sold. It was like the Flaming Lips and the Polyphonic Spree with a hint of Placebo and Radiohead thrown in for good measure. The visuals were great as well.
As the lights dimmed for the main act, the spotlight shone on a pantomime horse shuffling across the stage, exiting stage left before rematerialising as Neil and Tim Finn. The set was similar to the shows late last year, but there were some good substitutes. Instead of "I See Red" we had another of Tim's Split Enz rockers- "Shark Attack". And instead of "I Got You" we had "History Never Repeats"- a favourite of mine.
Early in the set, Neil and Finn spent about 5 minutes clowning around in preparation for a song, which Neil deemed as entirely appropriate as he was going to ask us to sing a song for Paul Hester, and if there was one thing he loved it was a ridiculously long preamble. It was a touching moment, Neil's guitar completely unplugged (ie the entire PA system turned off) but still managing to echo through the sail of the Opera House Concert Hall as the crowd sang the first two verses and chorus of "Four Seasons in One Day" before the band kicked in.
Other moments included the crowd singing the electric guitar line to "Weather With You" and many references to the Enz induction into the ARIA Hall of Fame the previous night in Melbourne (does anyone else think there's something a little wrong with that?) And an entirely appropriate finale- at the State Theatre shows we had the spine tingling familiarity of "Better Be Home Soon", but what better way to end than to revisit the emotional moment that signalled the final curtain call of Crowded House?
Don't Dream It's Over.
Setlist (Approximate as always)...
Part of Me, Part of You
Weather With You