Saturday, February 24, 2018

Neil and Liam Finn- Zoo Twilights

For the past two nights I have been at the Melbourne Zoo to see Neil Finn and Liam Finn play two of their three sold out Zoo Twilights shows. Opening both nights was Donny Benet (Kirin J Callinan; Jack Ladder and The Dreamleaders) and his show band. He played a set of 1980s yacht rock and smooth jazz inspired songs. His intros to each song were quite humorous as he took us on a journey with tracks such as "Santorini" and "Konichiwa" from his latest album The Don.

Neil and Liam Finn have recently recorded their first album together, which is due out later in 2018. These shows allowed them to preview some of these new tracks along with old favorites from each of their back catalogues. Joined by the Finn family band, we got similar set lists on both nights. You can definitely hear Liam's influence on the new songs, with "Meet Me In The Air" and "Anger Plays A Part" (Friday only) being the standouts for me. While I was hoping we would get to hear some of Neil's latest solo album Out Of Silence live for the first time, the only track that was played was "Chameleon Days" on Friday night.

The Split Enz tracks got a good reaction from the crowd with the hits "I Got You," "History Never Repeats" (Saturday only) and "Message To My Girl," which included a surprise marriage proposal on stage on Friday night (thankfully she said yes). I really enjoyed hearing the Liam solo tracks "Fire In Your Belly" (Saturday only), "Cold Feet," "Miracle Glance" (complete with theremin solo) and the energy of "Second Chance" and "Better To Be," with its dramatic frozen pause by the band in the middle of the song.

As expected there were a few funny moments at each show. On Friday night there was a walkway in front of the stage, and Neil encouraged people to dance their way across and included commentary on their efforts (the kids really brought it). Neil and Liam were happy to be back in Melbourne and joked about wanting to film a new video for the album at the Royal Woman’s Hospital that would reenact Liam’s birth (I think Sharon was slightly horrified). On Saturday night the band members gave us zoo facts about meerkats, lemurs and butterflies. Let's just say I don't think all of them were true.

The Crowded House songs constituted a large portion of the set list on both nights. The Together Alone tracks dominated with "Pineapple Head," "Distant Sun" and "Private Universe," followed closely behind by the Woodface tracks "Four Seasons In One Day" and "Weather With You." Everyone sang along to "Don't Dream It's Over" at the end of the set, with the surprise inclusion of "Better Be Home Soon" to close out Saturday night, complete with Liam and Sharon Finn slow dancing together and Sharon dipping Liam. Overall both nights were fun, and it will be interesting to hear the new Neil and Liam album when it is released.

Here's the video for Neil's single "Chameleon Days"

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