Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Crowded House

Over the past two nights I have been to The Forum Theatre to see Crowded House play their first Melbourne shows in over a year.

2 December
Anika Moa was the opening act and she played a half hour set. Like her album launch a month ago she flew a couple of her band members over from New Zealand. She was as funny as always and the dub version of “Youthful” with her freestyle rap in the middle went down very well with the audience. “My Old Man” and “Dreams In My Head” were also personal highlights.

Crowded House came out onto an unlit stage with headlamps on and launched into “Locked Out.” Unfortunately when Neil went to take the headlamp off he cut his forehead and started to bleed a bit. He thought that was pretty rock ‘n’ roll. The entire show was an epic 2 hours and 45 minutes long with multiple encores. The band included additional musicians Don McGlashen and Elroy Finn on certain numbers. They played five new songs throughout the evening, which sounded fantastic and gave me a lot of hope for the new album. I especially loved “Isolation” for its jangly guitars and “Lucky” for the amazing soaring chorus. Some old classics were also played that I haven’t heard live in a while: “Chocolate Cake,” “Love You ‘Til The Day I Die” (with You Am I’s Davey Lane on guitar), “Whispers and Moans” and “Fingers of Love.”

There was lots of banter and storytelling throughout the night. Neil was perplexed about the fact the balcony area of The Forum had been walled off since the last time he was there, which led to a microphone being passed around the audience to find out when that had happened and into a broader question time with the band. One guy and his band mates requested “Private Universe” to be played and ended up on stage playing and singing with the band (along with a few other audience members).

This show reminded me of the Crowded House shows of old with the audience interactions and sing-a-longs as well as funny stories or comments leading to musical improvisations. When coming out for the second encore Neil took to the drums and Matt to the keyboards as they and the rest of the band had a bit of jam. We even got a Matt drum solo at one point (which was very good- he adds such a drive to all the songs). I felt this was the first time that Neil has been able to play in Melbourne and not have the ghost of Paul Hester looming over him (although we did get a brief verse and chorus of “This is Massive”). It was such an amazing show and a great reminder of why I still love this band after all these years.

Set List
1. Locked Out
2. World Where You Live
3. Isolation (new)
4. Turn It Round (new)
5. Pineapple Head
6. Amsterdam (new)
8. Don't Stop Now
9. People Are Like Suns
10. Chocolate Cake
11. Not The Girl You Think You Are
12. Heaven That I'm Making
13. Lucky (new)
14. Fall At Your Feet
15. Whispers And Moans
16. Love You ‘Til The Day I Die
17. When You Come
18. It's Only Natural
19. Cars Collide (new)
20. Private Universe
21. Distant Sun
22. Weather With You
23. Instrumental Jam/This is Massive
24. Fingers Of Love
25. Throw Your Arms Around Me
26. Better Be Home Soon

3 December
What a difference a day makes. Tonight’s show was a mellower affair that only went for 1 hour and 50 minutes- almost one hour less than last night. I think the main reason was because the crew had to load out for the show in Sydney tomorrow night. I had a great position near the front off to the right side of the stage. There was a lot less banter and Neil commented that he had run out of things to say after the night before. It was a heavy guitar driven set with the appearance of “In My Command” and “Silent House.” We got even more new songs which also sounded good and “Italian Plastic” by request from the audience. The funniest moment of the night was Nick and Matt acting out the opening verse of “Something So Strong.” It was so great to see Crowded House in a smaller venue again instead of the big arenas they played when they were here last year.

Set List
1. When You Come
2. World Where You Live
3. 789 (new)
4. Fall At Your Feet
5. Don't Stop Now
6. Lucky (new)
7. Four Seasons In One Day
8. Inside Out (new)
9. In My Command
10. Silent House
11. Either Side (new)
12. Amsterdam (new)
13. Don't Dream It’s Over
14. Distant Sun
15. Locked Out
16. Something So Strong
17. Mean To Me
18. Better Things (new)
19. Italian Plastic
20. Weather With You
21. Better Be Home Soon

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