Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne
Friday 5 November 2010
Crowded House are a band I thought I’d never see live in my lifetime. I have only been a fan for around 10 years, but after their Farewell to the World performance at the Sydney Opera House in 1996, I thought I’d missed the boat to see them live. I thought they’d gone forever. After the tragic death of Paul Hester in 2005,I think Neil Finn and Nick Seymour were inspired to reform the band, make more music and tour with a revised lineup (currently Mark Hart and Matt Sherrod on drums). And as a result, last night was the fourth time I’ve seen Crowded House live. And like every other time, I marveled that I was really seeing these beautiful, classic songs played on stage.
The concert opened with Oh Mercy, a young Melbourne band. I liked some of their songs after hearing them on Triple J a year or so again, so I was pleased to see them live. They were good. Big sound, melodic, and lyrics that told a story. They complemented Crowded House’s sound. I was so impressed I bought their album.
Here is Alexander Gow from Oh Mercy. He admitted most songs were about ‘chicky babes’. Cute.
Crowded House opened with I Feel Possessed. It was energetic and clearly showed how excited the band was to play. The crowd was reserved for most of the night until the song before the first encore. There were three ladies in the front row, dancing and jumping, but otherwise, the crowd stayed seated until Something So Strong.
The second song was my favourite, When You Come. I find this song lyrically amazing – passionate and sensual. Here are the first two verses and chorus.
When you come across the sea
Me like a beacon guiding you to safety
The sooner the better now
And when you come the hills
Will breathe like a baby
Pulled up heaving from the bottom of the ocean
The sooner the better now
When you come to cover me with your kisses
Fresh like a daisy chained up in a lion’s den
I’ll know you by the thunderclap
Pouring like a rain of blood to my emotions
And that is why
I stumble to my knees
And why underneath the heavens
With the stars burning and exploding
I know I could never let you down
When you come.
And here is a small recording I did of last night’s performance of When You Come.
Crowded House played many songs from their current album Intriguer. But they played so many greatest hits too. Something So Strong, It’s Only Natural, Private Universe, Chocolate Cake. They admitted they have so many songs and could play all night. I wished they could. I went to the concert with my die-hard friend A, who has a fan club membership so we got seats eight rows from the stage. I felt a bit of a fraud sitting there given I only knew the lyrics to their greatest hits. It was good to see passionate fans singing along to every word.
The stage was decorated with childrens’ lights – bears, deer, geese, rabbits and toadstools. It was quite cute. Crowd members brought along small animal lights and one handed Neil Finn one. Here is the deer light.
This is my other favourite song, Don’t Dream its Over.
Apologies for such brief recordings – on the only night at Rod Laver Arena that I have gotten away with recording, my memory card was full. On a side note, I was impressed with Rod Laver’s lax security rules last night. Bottle caps were allowed, no bag checks so I took an opened drink in. Alcohol allowed on the floor area. And ‘not a security guard in sight’, to quote Neil Finn. He was impressed with the fun we were allowed to have, saying he wants to raise the roof of the arena!
The band played like it’s their first gig, like they wanted to be there. I love this – I appreciate seeing how happy a band is on stage, despite the enormous and hectic touring schedule. Nick Seymour smiles so much. Often he looks at Neil Finn, adoringly. They brought Neil’s wife Sharon on stage to sing two songs. It’s nice to see a band do it for the love.
The band also loves and encourages a crowd singalong. This happened in Four Seasons in One Day (‘This is your song, Melbourne’, Weather With You (complete with parts of Hot Chocolate’s You Sexy Thing and Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Relax thrown in) and Better Be Home Soon. The crowd also led Mean to Me, of which the band started half way through. It was magical. Audience participation at its best.
This is the crowd singing to Four Seasons in One Day. Beautiful.
In the song before the first encore, we walked to the front where we were around four people from the stage. Here are some of the photos taken there.
Last night’s concert was amazing. The band showcased how many timeless songs they have – both in their back catalogue and new music. I hope to see them play many more times. They’ve still got it.
The set list can be found here.
A funny thing happened on the way home. There was a guy on the train, with his partner, who had a setlist. I commented that it was so cool he got the setlist, assuming it was from Crowded House. They’d actually seen Ed Kowalczyk (from Live) at The Forum. I told them I’d seen Crowded House. The guy asked if they played Private Universe. I said yes, and then said last time I’d seen them at The Forum, the band asked people from the crowd to play with them on stage, and that I had just said to my friend A that I thought that was one of my favourite things I’ve seen at a concert. The guy said that he was one of them that played on stage! What a small world!! Here is the video from The Forum.