Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Neil Finn In New York City



How much for a water?

                                                MAKESHIFT BARTENDER:

You know, in a supermarket I could get 23 more of those for the same price.


(A shitty plastic bottle of Budweiser was $13.00, by the way.)

And so it goes. Nightlife in the Big Apple.

 (Crossing 42nd Street. The city can really be beautiful sometimes.)

But I'm not here to moan, not this time.

I want to rave and gush over Neil Finn's 150 minute performance last night, though I'm always apprehensive when writing about a concert that's already happened. What good does it do the reader unless there are more opportunities to catch the artist? And this time, I don't believe Neil Finn has many more dates on his tour.

(a view from the dizzy heights of Town Hall)

I will say this, Neil Finn has written more winners than losers. I've been a fan since I first caught Split Enz play live in 1980, either at Danceteria or the Peppermint Lounge, and I was still amazed by how many hits this guy has written.

I Got You
One Step Ahead
History Never Repeats
Message To My Girl
Don't Dream It's Over
Weather With You
Better Be Home Soon
Fall At Your Feet
She Will Have Her Way
Distant Sun
Locked Out
Four Seasons In One Day

All of the above made an appearance last night. The solo piano version of "Message To My Girl" was possibly the most beautiful 5 minutes of music I have ever witnessed.

This version is from 2010 and has its own charms.

Neil's new record "Dizzy Heights" remains in heavy rotation over here at Casa de Quack, and to see most of it performed on stage was a thrill. Lisa Tomlins, more than just a backup vocalist, was up front and handled every harmony perfectly. She and Neil's voices often became one, much in that Everlys way.

Another highlight for me was this deep cut from 2001's grossly underrated and forgotten release, "One Nil."

Both Split Enz and Crowded House had their days in the sun, and much of this material sounds a bit dated, though I highly recommend almost all of it. But it's Neil Finn's solo work, starting with his 1998 debut "Try Whistling This" right on to the aforementioned "One Nil," as well as the all-star collaboration "7 Worlds Collide" and his one-off family affair "Pajama Club" and his most recent "Dizzy Heights" that shows Finn at the top of his game. These are all very smart records with a treasure trove of brilliant songs to be savored and last night's show was a solid reminder that all of these recordings should not be forgotten.


Anonymous said...

Good to hear you in a positive mood again, Sal. Love those last 2 songs/videos you posted. Strangely, although I have Split Enz, Crowded House, Tim Finn, Liam Finn, The Swingers, Phil Judd, The Finn Bros., cd's, lp's and cassettes, I don't have any of Neil's solo stuff...guess I have to remedy that.

Anonymous said...

I was in the 3rd row last night and I agree that Message to My Girl was beautiful. What you missed was the facial expressions being exchanged between Neil and Sharon during the song.... that was just lovely!

Elroy said...

Oh dear, is One Nil/All 13 years old alreadY? Sheesh...

I saw Neil and company at the Orpheum in LA last week. Fantastic show.

And though I greatly enjoy the older stuff, particularly Crowded House era, I've seen him and CH enough times and heard those songs so often that it's really the solo work I look forward to the most. And Try Whistling This and One All still get played regularly, with Dizzy heights getting a lot of recent play.

Anonymous said...

I was at the show, and it was indeed splendid.
I thought Wherever You Are was another high point.
It had me pulling out One Nil today.
I'm surprised you didn't mention the Finn family encore, Liam, Elroy ( a most excellent drummer), Mom and Pop rocking out Moonage Daydream.
Proves the classic adage, The family that jams Bowie together stays together.
Not to mention Nana Finn also sharing the stage via Skype.
The best show I've seen in a long while.

Anonymous said...

I was at last night's show too, 4th row. I actually got an audio recording on my camera of almost all of "Message To My Girl" (missing the first line or two). I put it on YouTube so a friend could hear it... the clip is unlisted so it won't come up in a search, but you can listen here:

Sal Nunziato said...

Thank you for that clip, Anon. Fantastic. Chills!

Ken J Xenozar said...

Really wished I got to see him this time around. On Nil is indeed under-rated. Still sounds great today.

Thing I love about Neil is he loves performing for and with an audience. The smile on Neil's face at 4:30 of the video of "Message to My Girl" says it all.