Anyone who has known me for a while knows that am (and have been) a huge Crowded House/Neil Finn fan. They were one of the first bands I discovered when I went off to college…I’m sure I heard them on the radio (probably SF”s “The Quake“, when they still played awesome music) and immediately rushed out to Rasputin Records to buy the cassette tape. Once I got a player at at school, I followed up with the compact disc.
I saw one of their first shows touring the states, at a place called Wolfgang’s, in North Beach, which eventually burned down in a fire (it came back many years later as the 7th Note). Small club, small crowd, but I was there with my closest girlfriends, fawning over Neil as he and Crowded House perfomed literally 10 feet away from us. I just remember being so excited about the band and the music and feeling like they were playing the music just for us.
Through the years, I’ve proceeded to see them every time they came to town, I’ve bought all the albums and limited edition EPs, joined the fan club, and followed the separate solo work once the band broke up. I even called in sick to work one day just to drive out to The Plant in Sausalito in hopes of getting into a “secret prizewinners only” concert that Neil was performing for KFOG a few years ago. I had no idea where this place was, but a fellow fan (that I only just met through the Fan Club) knew how to get there. Once inside, I was psyched to see that Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors was recorded there. Seemed like it hadn’t changed much at all since the 70’s. Anyway, it was worth it as we were grudgingly included in the group of 20 people or so for that private concert and meet and greet with Neil and his band. He’s fairly short, by the way.
Coming back to the present….Ah. So Rob and I went to see Crowded House (semi-reunited) Sunday night at the Paramount. Interesting crowd–I wasn’t as old as I thought I would be (among the other fans). As usual, lots of women. This was really obvious especially during the sing-a-long parts–the voices were predominantly female! Or maybe guys just don’t think it’s cool to sing-a-long to a sensitive singer/songwriter’s work…not macho enough.
It was a lovely concert. Everyone’s voices were on and the harmonies were tight. After all these years, I *still* got the chills hearing “World Where you Live” (my favorite song). Lots of cheerful and fun banter on the stage (especially between Neil and Nick, with Mark Hart playing the straight man). I had forgotten how much they could ROCK as well! I don’t think anyone could stand still during “Locked Out”. The new drummer fits in well. And Neil’s now 23 year old son Liam was in the band playing guitar, piano, and singing harmonies with dad. It’s amazing to hear harmonies among family members (parent/child, siblings) as it’s just so natural for their voices to fit together. One of the songs from the new album has a killer acoustic piano intro that has the same power as Hey Jude. And I don’t know of any other bands that are unselfconscious enough to do an impromptu medley of disco songs in the middle of a set. They are THAT fun and THAT spontaneous. Every show I’ve ever seen has been different.
So, in many ways, following this band has made me feel like I’ve come around full circle. Sitting there listening to the music with my eyes closed, I was easily taken back to past shows when I was young(er)…goofy and giddy with my college friends, as a wannabe hipster young adult, with ex-boyfriends I had dragged to the shows, with new fan club friends, and now, many years later, with my husband sitting next to me. For me, being able to share this band that has always meant so much, with him, was a nice moment. It doesn’t matter that he probably slept through most of it.