Well, let's go with the show, and before I say anything, let me make one thing absolutely clear: not only is the ageism present in today's popular music culture completely moronic, it's also thoroughly WRONG. Last night, Neil and Tim Finn and Co. (47 and 53 respectively) rocked much better than just about any young band you care to name. Hearing Six Months In A Leaky Boat and I Got You live have to be two of the highlights of my life.
For those of you who are tragically uninformed, Neil and Tim Finn are two of the greatest musicians in history and hail from New Zealand; they were members of Split Enz and Crowded House and if you know nothing else by those bands, you simply have to recognise Don't Dream It's Over. These guys are geniuses at writing exceptional melodic rock, and if you think they're good in the studio, wait until you see them live.
The setlist was:
1. Part Of Me, Part Of You
2. Bold As Brass
3. Message To My Girl
4. Nothing Wrong With You
5. Edible Flowers
6. Poor Boy
7. A Life Between Us
8. Mood Swinging Man
9. Disembodied Voices
10. Angel's Heap
11. Won't Give In
12. Pineapple Head
13. It's Only Natural
14. Anything Can Happen
--- encore break ---
15. Suffer Never --> Time For A Change
16. Six Months In A Leaky Boat
--- encore break ---
17. I Got You
18. Shark Attack
19. Better Be Home Soon
[I think that's it.]
Where do I start? As I said above, the highlights for me, without a doubt, were Six Months and I Got You. It felt like Six Months was never ever going to end; it actually stopped, then Neil led the crowd in a chant of "dah dah dah, dah dah" before they ripped into the most incredible solo and just kept going and going and going. It rocked so very awesomely. And they most certainly did not hold back with I Got You! That was just as powerful as something like Elevation or I Will Follow at a U2 concert.
Part Of Me, Part Of You was great as an opener, and all the new material from Everyone Is Here worked sensationally live. It's hard to single out one or another as being particularly exceptional; they all improve greatly on the album versions and even my mother, who hadn't heard a note from Everyone Is Here, got into all the songs. Before the show, one song I wouldn't have included in a desired setlist at all would've been Pineapple Head, but live, that song is great! And while I didn't actually know all the material they played, it was still immensely enjoyable: Mood Swinging Man, which I'd never heard of before, was one of the best songs of the night with a theatrical ending. Two songs that I thought were particularly gorgeous were Message To My Girl and Suffer Never --> Time For A Change, and the latter featured some of the great soloing and rocking of the night. The show closed on a very emotional note, with Neil asking the crowd to join him in singing Better Be Home Soon for Paul Hester, the former drummer of Crowded House who committed suicide earlier this year.
Tim and Neil were clearly having fun and had some incredibly amusing onstage banter, and their personalities shone through, making the show all the more enjoyable and hilarious. Their backing band were extremely talented and provided the perfect accompaniment, with Neil's son Elroy even playing drums on I Got You. I would like to also say that the support act, Mercury Rev, were sensational and I would definitely see them again. They had a great video show along with their music, and treated the concert as if it was their own, which I think is a great attitude and added to their performance. Their singer was quite the character and actor, and I am very glad that I arrived in time to see their set. My only regret is that I didn't bring a taping rig - there was no pat-down, no security, or anything - if I'd known, I would've found some taping gear and recorded the show.
The bad part of the show was the absolutely LOUSY Australian crowd. My mother, in fact, my entire family don't normally go to concerts here because if you dare to stand, dance, jump around and sing, you get heckled, abused, and told to sit down. I couldn't believe it when absolutely NO-ONE stood. Even worse was the fact that most people were sitting there like dummies or mannequins, not even moving - I simply cannot believe how anyone could fail to move a muscle when I Got You starts. I just don't believe it's physically possible. I feel like I was one of the few living people in the entire bloody venue. I was only two rows from the back, so I finally got so sick of it that I moved to an empty seat on the back row and spent the rest of the concert actually enjoying myself, holding my own private Rock Out To The Finns Party. By the end of the show, four other people with no-one behind them also got up and danced.
I think it's just plain rude to sit there so motionlessly. It's as if you are telling the artist that their music is not good enough, that they do not deserve your energy or participation. As Bono has said repeatedly, "give more to us so that we can give more back to you"; a live concert is a two-way flow of enthusiasm and excitement. A great example was the crowd at U2 in Boston, 2005-05-26, when the atmosphere and connection between band and crowd was so great that the band ripped into a completely spontaneous and unrehearsed Out Of Control. I simply don't know how you can enjoy a rock concert sitting down - the music inspires me to dance and sing and enjoy myself immensely, it's a gesture to the band that says "you are so good that you destroy my passive desire to merely observe and inspire me to be active; you are worth not only my time, money, and observance but also my energy, enthusiasm, and participation".
Honestly, if that's what the crowd's going to be like, I don't think I want U2 to come here. A U2 concert where the audience sit there without moving a muscle is unfathomable, and it would just fall completely flat. If Australian crowds are going to be that rude and obnoxious, U2 should just go to New Zealand, where they'll actually get a proper reception.
Summary: excellent show, shame about the crowd. If you haven't seen the Finn brothers live yet, hurry up and GO. Try to go somewhere with a good crowd too.
Useless fucking Australian crowd: -57,000/10