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Neil Finn - Bush Hall, Shepherd's Bush, London on 3 February 2010

A short time ago, the kindly Peter Green who looks after the fan club for all things Finn let us know of a pre-sale for tickets for a one-off Neil Finn gig in Shepherd's Bush, around the corner from Neil's May 2001 Shepherd's Bush Empire gig, at the intimate Bush Hall, a relatively small former dance hall with carpeting, chandeliers and ornate mouldings that always strikes me as an unlikely place for anything like a rock concert.   But it’s a wonderful venue, giving about 330 fans the chance to hear music in a great acoustic setting whilst standing a few feet from their idol.  Everything is fairly comfortable and the staff are the friendly type who wish you a good evening as you enter, in the knowledge that you’re about to have one.

I understand that the tickets sold out before they went on general release, and thanks to my friend who is much more organised than I am, I had one.  She also kindly queued outside the venue hours before Neil was due to take the stage in order to get a good place, whereas work left me selfishly rushing in at the last minute.  So may I toast said friend Lesley (as well as Peter Green and Neil, of course) for ensuring that I had the exceptional evening that I did last night, and for knowing the names of all the new songs.

Almost exactly nine years ago, on 7 February 2001, Neil Finn played a blinding concert at the Palace Theatre in the West End, where Les Miserables was still being staged, for which I was thrilled to have tickets.  But a bout of crippling labyrinthitis condemned me forever to hearing other people talk about how I missed the best gig they ever saw.  After last night’s solo gig— a true one-man show apart from some audience assistance—I feel better as I’m sure it outclassed the Palace gig (I will cover my ears if you dare to disagree!), and certainly would have been more intimate and friendly.  It was formidable fun as Neil claimed to be implementing a ‘high risk strategy’ since he had not performed for a while and was under-rehearsed, and indeed he could not remember loads of lyrics but was quick to take his cues from the audience.  His difficulty only came around because he would, upon hearing a request for some obscure song from his distant past and mammoth repertoire, instantly launch into that song without even pausing to go through it in his head first to assess whether he could meet the challenge.  Once or twice he insisted that he couldn’t,  but eventually got there, and his general skill for performance, colossal chemistry with his audience, and amiable true talent presented to us a remarkably smooth and polished performance after all. The whole equation added up to a stellar, memorable night.

He even called on stage a musician who had accompanied him for a song at that Palace gig, nine years later spotting that person in the audience and inviting him back, and all three  ‘guest performers’ from the audience were a big improvement talent-wise on the random karaoke sessions that Crowded House have encouraged in the past.  Still, everything was warm, casual and friendly; it was, as Neil said, like a family gathering, but we weren’t quite as drunk (people didn’t dare give up their spot and miss something by heading back to the bar for a drink).  He even educated us a bit about his family, singing a few funny ditties that his beloved late mother taught him.

But I will tell you all that in more excruciating detail…..

[If, while you read, you would like to hear all the songs referred to--not a recording of this gig, mind--other than the unavailable new ones,  open the following link for a Spotify playlist, which streams music free albeit with an occasional advert.  I also attempted to throw in other songs I mention, but most aren’t yet available in Spotify, which proves my point that some are unknown when they should be famous, so I added some similar things …..hope you enjoy it:   Neil Finn Bush Hall Songs +  ]

We waited for Neil to take the tiny stage, which was elevated just a few feet and contained a grand piano with a mike stand to its right.  A sheepish non-roadie looking roadie in a crewneck jumper kept coming out, causing us repeatedly to poise our hands for applause before dropping them in disappointment, until finally Neil shuffled on quietly, without introduction at about 8.10pm.  A significant element of the enjoyment of a Neil Finn concert is the camaraderie that he quickly develops by chatting with the audience as though he’s with a group of friends, permeating even grand arenas with his easygoing nature and delightful sense of humour.  So it was a bit of a disappointing surprise when he launched into song immediately without speaking, but fortunately, it was just a quick way to get down to business and he had not abandoned his much-loved personality.

The song he started with was Private Universe, tremendous sound bursting from a subdued, floppy-haired Neil, looking as he did 30 years ago in his young Split Enz days but without the costumes and odd coif; now the hair was appealingly laced with silver (nothing like, my friend Patrick pointed out, the dark style in the air-brushed poster promoting the forthcoming Crowded House tour).  He looked a bit sad as he sang and sported nothing more than an acoustic guitar, which promised an amazing gig (I don’t mean to say he wasn’t dressed; he wore a dark cotton shirt with the sleeves pushed up to his elbows and casual trousers).   Whilst Together Alone is definitely a wonderful album, I was never as wowed by it as everyone else seems to have been, so my heart sank slightly when I recognised the introduction to a song from it, but that changed to sheer joy of hearing such a perfect voice and the reminder that this is, in fact, a remarkable song.  Everyone was captivated and got busy with rapid handclaps to stress the beat in the faster part near the end.  There we were, cocooned on a rainy winter London night in this small venue with this delightful man faultlessly presenting an other-worldly song…. It feels like nothing matters in our Private Universe

The performance demonstrated that it is Neil’s incomparable voice combined with a skilfully constructed tune that gives the song its magical quality, not the special effects on the album.  Even I was caught off guard by the volume and intensity of the roars when he finished, despite the fact that they were well deserved and I was one of the roarers.  Neil instantly revealed that he was our concert buddy after all, despite my concerns when he came on without speaking.  He bade us a chirpy good evening and welcomed us to a room that his son Liam had ‘christened’ only three months ago.  ‘He did two nights, I’m only doing one, so he’s beating me.’  He explained that there was a high risk strategy tonight but led a bit of a pep rally:  ‘Are you with me?’  The audience shouted Yeah!  ‘Are we going to make it through?’ Yeah!!  ‘Will you help me if I forget stuff?’  Yeah!  ‘I’m relying on you!’

Neil then began the splendidly gorgeous Turn and Run.  Ever since someone pointed out immediately after 9/11, shortly after this album was released, that the lyrics could be read to be a creepy premonition of what was to come, I can’t hear the song without that association.  However, rather than a strictly nonsensical Paul is Dead type feeling, it makes a breathtaking song all the more poignant.  We sat stunned in awed silence apart from a few who provided subtle distant harmonies, and during the slight pause before the last verse, someone up front made a voice like a hi-hat and stomped the ground to provide the brief percussive interlude, which made Neil smile slyly in the human drum kit’s direction and later thank him for the drumming.  He told us we should all feel free to add anything we wanted—bass guitar parts, whatever.  And what an utterly imposing delivery by Neil.  This was the formula for the night: much-loved song delivered in a breathtaking way followed by natural, boy-next-door comedy.  What more could you want?

There was then a bit of a kafuffle as Neil struggled to find his tuner and pull at the guitar cord, asking if we knew D.  I thought he meant he wanted us to sing in the chord of D on the next song, but it turns out the unlikely roadie we saw earlier was his tour manager Dee from Dublin (whom Neil praised until he realised that Dee was probably in the bar and couldn’t hear anyway).  As Dee had plugged Neil up, Neil said there was a little bit of reconditioning to do; they normally had John with them to do the ‘plugging up’ and had been sitting pretty thinking they didn’t need John, but, he said as he tugged at various wires, it turned out now that they were wrong.  He untangled himself and his guitar in a good-humoured, nothing-like-Van-Morrison way, and carried on playfully moaning about Dee as though he were chatting to a buddy rather than an audience of strangers.  He said before the show, he’d sent Dee out to find the tuner, ‘and he came out three times, didn’t he?’  We confirmed that Dee indeed had come out three times.  But Dee, as Neil pointed out as he finally found the hidden treasure, had put a towel over the tuner and then didn’t think to look under the towel.  He initially played along with a woman’s comment that Dee’s actions were that of a typical male, ‘til Neil pointed out that he was male, too.

Neil said the night would be a journey through lots of songs that didn’t get played often—just the sort of sweet talk that an audience of true fans wants to hear—and he started playing his guitar….flatly (which coincidentally sounded like the opening to Split Enz’s Log Cabin Fever, so I thought he really was playing some old rarities).  He stopped and said, ‘That’s not going to help’ before muttering a bit more about Dee as he couldn’t find his setlist, and someone standing near the right edge of the stage found and held it up for him.  As though he were benevolently humouring a child, Neil said, ‘Did you find that for me?’ and placed it on the floor where he could see it, ‘til he realised that so could some of the audience, and he beamed as he snatched it up again and moved it onto the grand piano, smirking as he said, ‘Don’t look—it’s a surprise!’

Naturally, everyone was lapping all that up.  They were even more excited to hear Neil start Finn’s Only Talking Sense, which he had to do three times, trying out different keys, muttering ‘That’s not right either….I told you it was a high risk strategy!  It played perfectly well backstage.’  When he got it spot-on, he was encouraged by terrifically strong cheers…as though they were humouring a child who got something right.  But we were also thrilled and rewarded with an absolutely awesome delivery of this song, which was more hauntingly arresting than I recalled.  Indeed, throughout the night I gained a new respect for songs I hadn’t listened to for a while; hearing them ironically sound so symphonic when stripped down to the raw nakedness of a lone acoustic instrument and a single (yet utterly outstanding) voice just accentuated what we all already knew, that this man is not only a performer to embrace, but a confounding talent whose stunning and varied output over decades is incredible and no doubt the envy of many lesser souls.

That brief song was simple yet overwhelming, and he had the audience chuckling again as he fiddled more with tuning the guitar, asking if we wanted to sing something while he got on with that task.    He asked who had seen his son Liam at Bush Hall, saying that it had been a pretty rotten night, which surprised me initially ‘til I realised it was a reference to the weather and not his son’s performance.  He apologised that he had been a bit late taking the stage when the tickets said ‘7pm’ (though we hadn’t expected him ‘til about 8pm) ‘but I needed to practice….not that you’d notice!’

He said the next song was a new one, which at some concerts can make you groan but with a Finn, it makes you peel your ears in anticipation of discovering greatness.   My friend identified the song quickly as Amsterdam, and this truly is another song to behold, a true gift.  With a marvellous interesting use of minor keys in the verses and a warm catchy chorus, the song was chock full of clever couplets and rhymes that had me smiling—nothing forced, everything natural yet profound.  The song sounded a bit dark like the apparently rainy days spent in that grey city and its mournful moments were evocative of The Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby—not that the tunes were similar, just that the emotions they conjured up, the sense of emptiness and despair at times, were similar….at least in my mind as I listened. The lyrics that seized my attention were something like (and no doubt I heard several bits wrong): ‘You and me got the whole thing sussed.  Great men are shadowing us. Wild conspiracies turned to dust. //  Hear the sound of cathedral bells, Cashed in (?) at the gates of hell……’  With the chorus: ‘When the darkest days of the free man / Lying in the streets of Amsterdam. / Nearly fell underneath a tram, but I picked myself up.  Every temptation and device, all the diamonds and the spice.   I would give anything for the sight of an honest man’.  Neil’s voice on the chorus was powerful, and I can’t wait to get a copy of this, though it was sufficiently catchy that I remember it clearly now.  I just hope the album version is as sensational and not ruined with noisy electric guitars, over-syrupy strings or unnecessary production effects, but we shall see.

Neil spoke briefly afterwards to say the song was written after a harrowing day spent in Amsterdam with John, I believe the guy who usually ‘plugs in’ Neil better than Dee, where they couldn’t get into the Vincent Van Gogh exhibition (which is name-checked in the song), which Neil said might be the case now that it was at London’s Royal Academy ( I hope to go next week).   This could be my cruel streak coming out, but I could almost wish him a few more harrowing days in grey European capitals if it results in the exquisite crafting of such a song…..nothing serious though.

He instantly began the outstandingly ravishing Into Temptation from the second Crowded House album, Temple of the Low Men, a bit of a gross title for an album that was dismissed as lesser than its quality at the time, yet seems overwhelmingly to have been retrospectively embraced by everyone.  This song was always a masterpiece and we don’t hear it enough.  (I remember a fan once saying that they thought they’d play this at their wedding, and others pointed out that, though it is indeed engaging enough for a special day, a song about giving into adultery and betrayal perhaps isn’t the best accompaniment to taking one’s marriage vows).  Some fans sang along quietly but the sound mixing was so perfect that nothing encroached upon Neil’s clear voice. He ended the song with a lovely brief meander on the guitar, and everyone applauded with great gratitude.

Neil then moved over to sit at the grand piano, on which an Apple MacBook was resting, and Neil said it was a first, having a computer with him on stage.  ‘In case I get some emails,’ he joked, and then it occurred to him that perhaps they could talk to someone on Skype.  He decided to try it out and asked if there were a network in the building, and someone in the audience shouted that there definitely was, and that it was called ‘Sam’s Chicken and Ribs’, which caused Neil and everyone to laugh (as naturally it would be wrong to piggyback on the neighbouring greasy spoon’s WiFi).  Then a voice came through the sound system instructing Neil (and all of us) that the network was ‘BH Guest’ but as it was a secure network, he’d need a password, which the voice kindly spelled out over the sound system as half the room punched it into their phones.

Neil asked if the disembodied voice was George.  ‘ George is mixing my sound tonight; it’s a first, our first date’ and got us to applaud him, which George really deserved.  The sound was faultless and Neil and his instruments sounded fantastic throughout. It wasn’t so loud that you left deaf, breathed the beat or felt it replace your heartbeat, yet it was never drowned out by the myriad voices joining in with him.   I hope Neil sticks with George.

Neil asked if we thought fan club guru Peter Green (based in Australia) would be awake, but then he decided he shouldn’t bother Peter as he’s been so busy lately.  He said we’d work on that and no doubt use Skype before the end of the evening, but told George that the password hadn’t worked so their first date wasn’t going well so far.  He tried to return to business but realised he’d left his setlist  on the other side of the piano, so he got up to retrieve it, telling us ‘If I did this more often, I would get really smooth.’  He seemed pretty smooth to us but I doubt we’d mind if he wanted to do this more often to get some practice in….

The graceful piano intro led us unmistakably into Wherever You Are, a super song from One Nil, highly appropriate while he’s far from home and discussing Skyping friends and relatives in the Antipodes.  As the tallest people in the room always stand in front of me whenever I go to gigs, I’m afraid I couldn’t see much of Neil (the occasional bits of nose or shoulder) at the piano, so I watched it largely through someone’s camera phone that they held up for much of the song; no doubt that same vista’s now on YouTube.  Neil’s staggering voice and tremendous piano self-accompaniment made the song even more outstandingly gorgeous than usual, and it earned huge cheers.

Although I had been glad of the view afforded to me via some of the phones and cameras being held up at the very front of the room,  Neil glared at them playfully as he started the next song, saying that there was a kind of annoying beep coming from that direction.  But he acknowledged that there were worse problems in the world.  He then noted that there were people out there whose whole job was to create beeps.  Once he finished pontificating about beeps, he started singing Faster Than Light, a moving song from his 1998 album, with its wondrous chorus of  ‘In time, you’ll recognise that love is larger than life.’   I confess I’d barely remembered the song  and couldn’t think why I didn’t play it more often. 

As he’d just been discussing waking his friends and family in New Zealand and Australia where it was morning, I smiled when he sang ‘I know where the sun goes / It’s waking up the sparrows. In England, it’s morning’.  The second time he sang ‘I know where the sun goes’, he paused for a split second and looked in our direction until a woman in  the audience prompted him with the line ‘I have seen the world turning’, which he quickly sang unfalteringly, adding ‘thank you’  and a delightful smile.  Seriously, how have I not been playing this song over and over; it was irresistible  with lines like ‘And praise will come to those whose kindness leads you without debt  And bends the shape of things that haven’t happened yet.’  (Having since played the original, I see how it improves significantly with the radiant piano and lone vocals in place of a twangy electric jazz guitar, whining keyboard chords and effects, busy military snare, detracting harmonies and far, far too much noise overall draped around what deserve to be ungarlanded vocals.)  He asked us to sing the chorus at the end, and the subtle choir of loving voices gently brought the imposing song to a close. This simple, moving angelic live version understandably earned roars and whistles.  Perhaps it can be included in this pure state as a ‘B-side’ on a single from the new Crowded House album if they release any singles in this digital age.  I count myself blessed to have heard it performed this elegantly.

Neil thanked everyone for their contribution and noted that the set so far was full of obscurities, and the time would come later to have a good old sing-song, but that it felt right to journey through the fringes.  He even speaks like poetry.  He checked that we agreed that was all a good idea.

A native Londoner shouted out ‘Last Day of June, while you’re sat down!’  Neil barely paused before banging out the initial chords of that striking song, but then stopped and explained that there were ‘too many words’, but not one to be defeated, he started again right away and had already remembered them.  As always, this phenomenal song penetrated our souls, particularly as Neil’s spectacularly stunning voice rang out around us during the chorus.  How does he keep his voice in such perfect shape after singing so often over so many years? It has even improved over time.  Perhaps it was the white wine that he sipped occasionally on stage but I doubt it.  Apart from this heavenly opus delivered by its creator, the room was silent, everyone so desperate to savour every moment that they didn’t even dare sing along with it.  You can imagine the volume of applause at the end.

‘This is a first as well,’ he said and pulled the laptop screen towards him, explaining that he needed to refer to the lyrics.  He announced that it was another new song, and whereas I’ve been to some concerts where that statement might earn a disappointed ‘aww’ from the audience who would rather hear hits, this audience let out a distinctly enthusiastic ‘oooh!’   Neil said there would be a few more to come, and he quickly began singing a bright, enjoyable catchy tune that touched us with its instant charm.   I was a bit surprised to hear Neil use that old standard of saying ‘babe’ in a song (‘but you know what it means to me, babe’), but it worked, and everything about it was enchanting.    I loved the tune and adored the lyrics; it’s a great one of those that encourages a long-suffering companion:  ‘I can hear you now; you think reality shot you down. And you’re locked away where you can’t get out.  You’ve spent a while on your back.’   The refrain of ‘You will love this one’ reminded me a bit of the titular lines at the end of the chorus of ‘Love This Life’ from the second Crowded House album, his delivery of ‘in the course of a mystery, hey’ sounded like something Tim would sing on his first solo album, and I did find myself thinking, as his voice went high in parts, of ELO around the time of Mr Blue Sky, but I actually quite like that song, and liked this one even more.  Don’t think I’m saying it’s derivative; it just put me in mind of other joys.  This song is more than a winner, it’s a champion.  Clearly the audience agreed as they roared when he’d finished it. My friend told me it’s called Twice if You’re Lucky (‘these are times that come only once in your life, or twice if you’re lucky’), and it is another indication that we have a lot to look forward to in the forthcoming album.  I probably haven’t breathlessly awaited a forthcoming release since the ‘70s when everyone in school would be discussing something due out and we’d rush out after school to buy one of those big vinyl thingies with a proper album cover on the day of its release, and it would be the feature of any discussion in school for weeks.  This feels like that…..

Neil said that song had gone on a very long and convoluted path, and some of us may have heard it before on a bootleg.  Some people in the audience gushed a sympathetic ‘awwwww’, but Neil said that was all right, he didn’t mind bootlegs.  Interesting.  I like that spirit; I’ve never liked people profiting from illegal gain that should rightfully be directed to an artist, and on principle, I’ve never copied an album for a friend (but would give them all mixed tapes in the 80s to introduce them to new music, which back then required them to go buy the albums and thus help the artist).  But I can understand wanting recordings of live shows if it’s shared amongst fans at no cost—perhaps it’s the archivist in me-- or if the artist never releases a live album, so it seems you’re not strictly taking something from them.  I’d rather, for instance, that George The Sound Guy worked with Neil and released a recording from the sound desk of this show, perhaps for the fan club only.  I would gladly pay for that and it could only promote Neil in a shimmering light.  But that probably won’t happen though you can understand its appeal…..

This was clearly a night for stunning slow songs, and Neil was being tremendously generous.   When the shouts of the crowd died down (how many unknown songs played at anyone’s concert can attract such thundering approval?), another London voice shouted out a reasoned request: ‘Neil, do Message to My Girl  while you’re at the piano‘  and literally within one second, Neil was playing the intro to that old Split Enz delight.  ‘I’m a bit of a pushover’, he said over the wonderfully familiar tune, and the requester and others shouted out ‘Thank you!’  We may be a demanding lot but we’re polite.

This really is a joyful love song, touching to hear.  [I was mortified to learn recently that Peter Andre had covered this, but I guess it’s all funds for Finns to help keep them singing....]  Neil’s rendition tonight was awe-inspiring, and the adoring crowd sang along gently with the chorus, again tip-toeing through so as not to spoil it.  Hearing the fans sing, you would imagine that they had had to pass some auditions with the hideous Simon Cowell lot before they were allowed in.  I’m glad that’s not so or I would have been voted off immediately, but I know my place and merely lip synced if anything.  They boomed out when they reached ‘and there’s nothing quite as real as the touch of your sweet hand.  I can’t spend the rest of my life buried in the sand’, anticipating a note of fortissimo.  Neil asked if we also wanted to do Eddie Rayner’s part (after I’d just been thinking how Neil’s talent on the piano was almost as good, though I’m sure we all acknowledge that Eddie is a keyboard genius).  Pretending to be a keyboard chord, everyone held out a single note for ages,  like failing Tallis scholars.  Clearly this wasn’t their strong point, but I still maintain that they had more singing talent than most audiences, and Neil made it tricky by making comments that had us all giggling throughout.  He polished off the diamond with one final chorus, joined by the now vocally flagging audience, and conducted them, forcing them to hold out the last note longer than they’d allowed for when they last took breath, but the spontaneous symphony earned massive cheers.

Neil had been playing for about an hour now.  The crowd was relentlessly demanding and someone shouted out hopefully for Try Whistling This .  Neil said he hadn’t thought about that one.  There was a sad communal moan from the audience, so the ever-obliging Neil said, ‘You want that one?’   adding that it was a ‘very high ask’.  He aptly noted that this was like a family occasion, but that at his family occasions, we would be a lot more pissed.  He agreed to give it a go, implying that it would be a bit of an adventure with no guaranteed outcome.  I must admit that this wouldn’t have been my first choice given the limited number of songs the man could perform, but this title track was a song I always liked even before I warmed sufficiently to the rest of that first album, and the audience sang with him so it was clearly warmly loved.  When we got to the second verse, Neil said ‘you can take it now’, and one women had a go but weakly (more than anyone else did), but by then Neil was ready to take over again.  Occasionally, he’d provide an unintentional piano solo as he wasn’t sure of the words, but he’d be prompted and would smile, sing the given line and add ‘that’s right!’  He stumbled quite a bit over the lyrics at the marvellous rising part at the end, faking a few of them by mumbling to the tune, but we helped out, though I’m not sure we didn’t make up some, too,  all of us laughing together (just like a family occasion?).  When Neil took over confidently at the end, the effect was awesome, particularly with his delivery of the moving last line: ‘If someone tried to hurt you, I would put myself in your place.’

As we cheered, he thanked us for coming down and said we’d already helped him so much.  We were all on such friendly terms by then that a girl to the side of the stage facing the far end of the piano asked Neil if he would move his laptop please.  He immediately pushed it towards the back wall, saying ‘Fair enough.  There’s only one thing more annoying than unnecessary beeps:  it’s having your view blocked by a laptop. Sorry about that…. Here I am, blocking your view.  What a bastard!’

He introduced the next as another one that would be risky, but he knew we’d help him out.  He launched into an introduction that was so familiar that everyone began singing along with him immediately.  I have to maybe take back my earlier praise for the audience’s singing as I think it would have been better to hear Neil; he really was drowned out here.  But it was, as he had suggested before, a bit more like a family singalong now.  It’s just a shame that one of his famously bewitching songs didn’t feature him more, but it was just such a joy to hear him perform the stupefying  I Feel Possessed, another precious gem from that underappreciated second Crowded House album.  Mind you, some women added impressive harmonies in the later choruses on ‘which way is up or which way down’. Neil’s piano boomed as he led us into the bridge and near the end, and he smiled during the chorus after people stomped out some percussion following the line ‘I don’t want an explanation’.  After the ecstatic cheers died down, Neil praised the pleasing sound we were making on that one.  As Alanis Morissette would say (but in the wrong instance), isn’t it ironic….

A man quickly requested another of Neil’s several exquisite piano ballads:  Walking on the Spot, which surely everyone wanted, and Neil instantly began playing it.  People sang along to this classic, too, but fortunately Neil and the majestically played piano were still prominent.   His voice really boomed out on ‘The dishes are unwashed and broken; all you do is cry,’ before dropping to a communal whisper with the audience as we sang the final chorus: ‘Will we be in our minds when the dawn breaks? Can we look the milkman in the eye? The world is somehow different, you have all been changed Before my very eyes.’  Pounding applause and whoops from the audience followed.

Neil said he was enjoying the evening, that it was really nice to hear us sing songs that weren’t big radio smashes, which only serves to illustrate how radio smashes rarely reflect quality.  I’m constantly baffled by what tops the charts now (such as teeny songs and European dance hits) and how many sensational songs I know that bleed beauty but are unknown by too many—such as so many by the Finns, Roddy Frame’s Hymn to Grace, Boo Hewerdine’s The Birds Are Leaving, Paul Brady’s I Will Be There, Luka Bloom’s You Couldn’t Have Come at a Better Time and many more by those artists and others.  At least there are those of us who have the sense to appreciate them; I just wish more people could be exposed to them and, crucially, go out and buy them to help the artists keep up the fine output.

A woman then shouted for ‘Addicted’ (another song I’ve not heard in so long I barely remember it, but it was my favourite song off his first solo album when I first played it), but Neil friskily said that was going a bit too far.  People started shouting out alternatives, and he said ‘Later, later’ as he had to do another new song before the new songs all get pushed off the table.  Fair enough, and so far they had been grand revelations.  He told us this was a song called Elephants, which won some of us over by the title, with a few audible ‘awwwws’.

Here again is another future classic.  It was a dazzling, tenderly paced number with gently punchy, deep and moving verses.  With higher vocals in the refrain, it was generally touching, another one in the class of Walking on the Spot and other slow beauties he’d shared with us that night.   Some snippets of the lyrics that I thought I heard were:   ‘Now I come to you for insight.  / It’s as if the world don’t care about us. / It’s acting like we don’t exist. / Drunk and sleeping in the corner. / Sweet dreams, make waves, find bliss.’  The title comes from the line about elephants coming down to the water hole at dusk as the alligators wait….   Its piano solo in the middle was seductively soothing, and again I hope this song manages to stay close to this pared-down live version when it’s eventually released so its perfection isn’t spoiled.  I love the middle eight where ‘You don’t have to say a word’ is delightfully repeated, and the end where he asked us to sing with him the refrain of ‘sweet dreams, make waves, find bliss’.  We did find bliss, and we warmly applauded to convey that after Neil finished it with a flourish on the piano that reminded me of Handbags and Gladrags [now most famous as the theme to The Office].  It was seriously heart-stopping stuff. Again, though I have the memory of a goldfish (as opposed to that of an elephant), I can hum this song now; it was delightfully memorable.

Neil noted that he’d been ‘massively distracted from the setlist’ and then asked if there were someone who could come up and play just three little black notes on the piano (did he mean dark and evil notes, or black keys?).  A young girl, maybe aged 12-ish—thankfully dear and not one in that bizarre must-be-fake-to-look-like-Jordan phase that far too many young girls seem to hit, nor was she the precocious sort--came up on stage perhaps encouraged by her mother, and Neil briefly bent over her as she sat on the piano bench to show her the notes, saying ‘No pressure.  These three notes will serve you well; play them in any order you like.’  He moved over to the mike where he’d originally joined us and picked up his acoustic guitar, formally introduced Julia to us, and as it took him a minute to sort out his guitar again and ‘to remember the notes’, he asked Julia to provide some interim musical accompaniment, and she played those three notes over and over, as instructed.  Soon it melded with Neil’s smooth acoustic guitar and vocals into the haunting yet captivating Anytime. 

Neil endearingly forgot the third line and ended up singing something about looking behind us, and he and the audience laughed as he stopped and turned to Julia and said ‘ I let you down.  I’ll do better this time. You were fantastic.’  The audience decided to help him out by singing along throughout the song, completely taking the lost third line for him, all of which made it sound a bit more cheerful, given that the lyrics are a bit scarily true.  ‘I could go at any time; there’s nothing safe about this life.’ The song is a bit creepy in that it’s true; it makes me want to touch wood when I hear it, just like the apt Marcel Proust quote I always nervously try to ignore: ‘We say that the hour of death cannot be forecast, but when we say this we imagine that hour as placed in an obscure and distant future. It never occurs to us that it has any connection with the day already begun or that death could arrive this same afternoon, this afternoon which is so certain and which has every hour filled in advance.’  That and this song always make me think of how my seemingly invincible father died suddenly to everyone’s shock, and that unfortunately death touches everyone and you can only hope it will be when you’re very old and ready, but it just isn’t that way for everyone.  Come to think of it, if I didn’t have a carbon monoxide alarm in my home that thankfully went off the other weekend and woke me from dozing, I might not have made it to share this outstanding evening, and that certainly would have been a shame! [Brief break for a public service announcement: Everyone must get a carbon monoxide alarm immediately; don’t think about it or put it off, just do it now. You can get one that’s combined with a smoke alarm. Do it.]  Naturally, we should make the most of every day of our lives and ensure our loved ones know they’re loved.  But we rarely do. I regularly give thanks for my many blessings and the safety of my loved ones as well as those people I don’t know who keep my happy, such as the Finn Brothers.  So I’m looking out for them but I hope someone more powerful has that tapped, as they bring so much pleasure to such a huge number of people, particularly at gigs like this.

Back to our scheduled programme….during this number, Julia watched Neil carefully as she repeated her three notes perfectly well, although he did encourage her to play a bit louder and commended her when she immediately acted on his direction, eventually calming her nerves enough to sing automatically along with the song. That caused Neil to beam over at her, making her blush in the blue dim lighting.  She did great on the middle musical interlude, a surprise solo thrust upon her, after which Neil uttered ‘Gorgeous!’ and grinned at her as he sang the line ‘I’m so glad I’m not alone’, which made her suddenly smile back.  The big cheers at the end included loads for the lovely Julia, whom Neil thanked as he might any celebrity special guest who had joined him on stage, saying she’d played the song better than he had.  The whole night was a lesson on how to be generous with your time and kindness.

Someone then got in a request for Into the Sunset from One Nil before others joined in with their favourites, and Neil said it was uncanny that Sunset had been requested because that song was exactly what he had next on his (presumably long abandoned) list, since like Anytime, Sunset was ‘capo 1-1, but you knew that, didn’t you--you’d studied the video.’  Neil had us laughing more during this concert than audiences of which I’ve been a member when watching professional comedians.  He told us that he’d need help with this one, too, but launched into a faultless rendition of another magnificent song.  The audience eventually joined in nevertheless.  Neil sang the last repeated line, ‘Maybe this time, here I’ll stay’ so warmly, it nearly gave me chills.

After we cheered, Neil moved to the piano to check the laptop, then spoke with Dee, who had suddenly appeared and sent him on an errand.  Someone shouted out for Last to Know, so Neil asked if there were someone in the audience who could come up and sing Lisa [Germano’s] part, and a woman in front of us boomed out that she was a singer and a diva, which he repeated as though with dread, saying ‘this could be awful!’  There seemed to be a sense of wariness amongst us; this wasn’t the same as dear sweet shy little Julia. But Neil handled it well, always kind but in control.  ‘Because you’re a professional doesn’t mean you can show off’ he said smiling.  The Diva, all dark carefully controlled curls and a huge personality, turned a bit sheepish as she took the stage, prompting Neil to ask if she was going to be okay.  She admitted that she’d kicked over his wine as she’d climbed up, but Neil said there was plenty more where that came from.   Someone in the audience suggested that Neil could turn whiskey into wine, and Neil asked if that were a cue for a good song (of course his brother Tim had a song called Water Into Wine on his Big Canoe album). 

I think the Diva’s name was Suzanne, and she was a fellow American,  I suspect perhaps from New York [actually, I've since been told she's probably from further north: Canada.  Is it weird that we Americans can't always recognise who's a fellow countryman?].  Dee had returned and was tinkering with Neil’s laptop on the piano near where Suzanne was sitting on the bench, so Neil told her not to mind him, joking that Dee was just checking his emails.  Neil added that the trouble was that Suzanne would probably know the song better than he did, and after struggling with the first line, he groaned and asked the audience to remind him of the first verse and then he’d be okay.  He asked us all to sing it, then playfully chastised Suzanne for looking at her friend in the audience as she was on stage now and she’d ruin the magical illusion of the ‘the- a-tah’.   He started the song again, and when we couldn’t really hear Suzanne, I wondered if it was perhaps soundman George’s way of protecting Neil from an overwhelming artiste, although perhaps she was just hard to distinguish from the rest of the audience.  

As he approached the third verse, Neil said to Suzanne,  ‘I need you now more than ever.’  She sang a bit more audibly then and was fine, though it seemed nerves understandably strained her voice at times.  He dropped in and out depending on what he remembered, watching Suzanne carefully for guidance, and he endearingly merged two lines by singing ‘I missed the bus’ rather than ‘missed  the page’; when Suzanne finished the line for him, Neil smiled and said ’That’s right!’ half to himself.  He picked up firmly belting out the mighty ‘and who, I wonder, could fail to notice the aching silence’ bit that I love.  Neil then told Suzanne to ‘sing it now’, and she sang a few lines then appeared to forget the rest and sang ‘doo-doo-doo-doo’ for a while, so Neil asked us to help her out, but no one did, so he told her ‘it looks like you’re on your own now’.   To be fair, on the record, there’s music after what she last sang (‘I hope you come back in your own time, left to your own devices’) until one eventually adds the last three lines, which she did, but we all—including Neil of course—must have forgotten that.  And goodness knows it would take tremendously steady nerves to stroll up there and sing with Neil Finn without notice or practice in any case, particularly if you weren’t even able to follow his lead as he was trying to follow yours.  Somehow the fine song didn’t suffer from this piecemeal approach, and we’d had a good old sing-song.  We were just happy to be in his company, hearing his mind-blowing music as well as comedy, and it was phenomenal that he agreed to treat us to just about whatever we requested rather than shy away because he felt he couldn’t deliver a perfect performance.  He gave us what we wanted.  As she left the stage, Neil said ‘Let’s hear it for Suzanne!  I was very poor.’  What a magnanimous man.

As though he needed to justify having forgotten much of the previous song—which didn’t matter as it was part of his charm and it was still delightful—Neil said, ‘at least I’m not Lou Reed;  I don’t have a music stand with all the lyrics written down, but it does mean that I spill myself rather terribly on the floor. ‘  Poetry again.

Having learned now that it was a fruitful practice, the audience began wildly shouting out various song titles, and as Neil was getting barracked a bit, someone shouted out: ‘Play something that you want!’   Neil said, ‘let’s play something I know!’   Still on guitar, he started a funky intro to Sinner and people –mostly of the male persuasion—sang along with him, but this time Neil didn’t need us….well only for a couple lines.

During his guitar solo in the middle of this song, as we started clapping to the beat, Neil addressed someone standing a few feet from him amidst the crowd, saying casually into the mike, ‘Wanna come up and play the piano?  I remember you.... Another song?  I’ve got another song.’  He imitated what he took to be the chap’s panicked reaction to such an unexpected request, which kept us giggling.  One of my friends whispered that the chap Neil had spotted had been plucked from the audience at Neil’s famous Palace Theatre gig and played piano well, so Neil and my friend Patrick win prizes for having the memory of, well, Elephants.  Particularly Neil as he has been asking random people to join him on stage for years in myriad performances, and you wouldn’t think that seeing them for three minutes, no matter how good they were, would register sufficiently, so I am impressed.

At the end when the applause died down, Neil explained to us that he had ‘looked hopefully in this gentleman’s direction because I remember him getting up at another gig’ and, as the chap didn’t know Sinner and the suggestion no doubt caused sudden panic, he wanted to repay him by letting him choose a song he did know, but that he didn’t have to.  The chap suggested the rarely played Love You ‘Til the Day I Die from the stellar first Crowded House album, which earned ‘ooos’ of approval from the audience, and a loud man in the back shouted over their conversation, ‘Neil, do Leaps and Bounds’, but Neil carried on kindly talking to his reluctant pianist.  Neil told us that ‘Steve’ had said he didn’t think it would sound any good, ‘so he’s gonna fit in tonight.’, and we gave encouraging cheers until Steven took the seat behind the grand piano.  Neil explained that Steven had played at the theatre where Les Mis had been playing (the Palace), and Steven added that he’d also played with them in Wales (must have made less of an impression there?).  Neil then remembered that Suzanne had spilled his drink and called for Dee, who confirmed that we were now online so Neil said we could start something very soon.    

Steven said in a measured way,  ‘Neil, I can’t recall the last time I played this, so we’re both at the same level’, which caused some gasps as it could sound a bit rude if he meant to suggest that anyone could be at Neil’s level [which he clearly wasn't saying, and apparently he'd actually said 'same wavelength'], but Neil took it the right way and just jokingly criticised him because ‘You suggested this song!’

They started quickly with us clapping loudly to the beat, and Steven added several funky flourishes with a nod to ragtime, skilfully pounding the piano.  ‘Sounds pretty good so far,’ Neil said, and we cheered in agreement.  Steven was a star but never overwhelmed the piece or tried to steal Neil’s spotlight.  Neil flubbed the third line and replaced the next with one from the second verse but added ‘or something like that!’ which just made it sound more special. The song extended into more of an audience participation piece, not just because of Steven but because the audience had to shout the lines out, and sometimes just plain shouted  (like a twee ‘you’re forgiven!’ after Neil sang, ‘so forgive me if I tell a lie’).   A few times our singing prompted Neil, but he never looked lost and always belted out the words with immense passion, even if they weren’t the right words, and Steve kept the music travelling along smoothly in tandem with Neil’s guitar.  What a delight.  Steven, who even dealt us a bright solo, had managed a mention in Adam Sweeting‘s review in The Guardian of the February 2001 Palace gig: ‘A gangly bloke called Steven proved adept on piano, and they were joined by Mickey for a very creditable rendition of Four Seasons in One Day. Finn looked delighted.’  No wonder he was so memorable; we may all remember him for next time.  He looked eminently sensible, like one of us (but more talented), if not a bit beatnik in his stubble and navy rollneck jumper, and I was pleased when my friend congratulated him at the end of the night on his performance as I’d felt like doing the same; it was a pleasure to hear that song and played so well.  Steven looked surprised at her compliments; must be a decent guy. 

Everyone shouted out more songs and Neil said he’d completely abandoned his setlist now, but wanted a song that everyone could sing together, so he went for one of the most gorgeous of all time:  Four Seasons in One Day, and everyone joined in from the start (which, at this stage, did slightly detract from its beauty, though I would stress that this crowd wasn’t getting drunker and drunker as I see at so many gigs, because no one wanted to go to the bar and miss something).   This song has the honour of being the only one of the 18,100 songs on my iPod with a curse word in it.  Yes, I am a prude anyway, but I also find that, when I’m trying to stoke myself up in preparation for another hideously stressful day at work, or trying to calm myself down on the train home after another hideously stressful day at work, hearing a sudden curse word plummeted deep into my brain via in-ear headphones is a bit jarring.  So even if I like a song loads but come across some rude language, and even if it doesn’t feature in the chorus a la Damien Rice or Martha Wainwright, I don’t load it onto my iPod.  But I couldn’t possibly miss out on this one, and it’s not so jarring.  It’s part of the song’s perfection.  Here, Neil gave it an impressive, carefully picked Spanish-style guitar solo in the middle, and the audience harmonised on the chorus near the end.

He started the next song before anyone had the chance to shout anything, and its introduction surprisingly wasn’t instantly recognisable, but as soon as Neil started singing the bewilderingly beautiful classic Don’t Dream It’s Over, the whole audience joined in—almost to its detriment, in this case, because at times it was hard to hear Neil as some people were just shouting it out, and this song is special.  I’ll always remember the intense excitement at 19 of stumbling upon the video on MTV after being sad for some time that my beloved Split Enz had split up, and here was Neil in front of me again, in a marvellous video with an astoundingly perfect song; I had gone to heaven, and the song and the blissful first album showed such promise of unparalleled pleasures to follow.  It had shocked me that it took so long for this song to get airplay; it seemed to be a year after I’d fallen in love with it, but this was the States and they were slow to put quality stuff on the radio in the 80s, but eventually made it a hit.  So hearing this live in this intimate setting was truly magical.  Even when someone sang a kind of scarily off ‘aaahhhhh—ahhhh-ahhhh’ bit in place of Mitchell Froom’s organ bit, Neil fixed it by adding some angelic high-pitched murmurs and finished the song with a delicate acoustic guitar outro that reminded me of Mark E Nevin’s introduction to Have-a-Go Hero.

The room filled with roaring cheers, and as Neil was about to speak, that obsessed incredibly loud man shouted over him his repeated demands that Neil (although I’m certain the man called him Paul) do Leaps and Bounds, suggesting he should do it for Paul Hester.  Neil continued with his jolly-natured chap routine as though he hadn’t heard the man, but I thought the atmosphere turned awkward for the first time, as though the man could be suspected of having irritated more than just some of the crowd.   He was doggedly persistent, saying ‘C’mon, I’ve never heard it’, which prompted Neil, still admirably maintaining a pleasant air despite much of the audience now being filled with frowns and eye-rolling, to say ‘the man’s asking for a song he’s never heard!  Brilliant! I’ve never heard a man ask for a song he’s never heard—it’s another first!’  Even while Neil was talking, the man carried on repeating his demands, and after Neil had moved on, turning his attentions to the computer again, the man kept saying, ‘You’re not going to do Leaps and Bounds? Please!’ Although his persistence got a laugh, it was a bit uncomfortable and irritating, not in the spirit of the rest of the evening as it had been more like a gathering of friends and family until then.

Perhaps to take us back there, Neil tinkered with the laptop in hopes of reaching genuine friends or family, but announced that disappointingly no one was signed onto Skype at that time.  ‘Let’s try to call Nick!’ he said to thrilled cheers as we would love to hear from Crowded House’s Nick Seymour, of course.  Then he decided Nick would be skiving on a beach somewhere, so he should try his son Elroy instead.  That worked for us, too—pause for the Leaps and Bounds man to shout at Neil some more—and Neil carried on with his task at hand, guessing  that it must be about 11am in New Zealand.  Neil said that, regrettably, he only had about 5-6 people on Skype. 

Turning his attention to social networking, he said that someone did his MySpace page and he didn’t know who, that he wasn’t knocking them , but if you were joined up with MySpace and had some idea that Neil was on it, it wasn’t him.  He said he didn’t do Facebook either, nor Twitter, but that  Peter Green was on Twitter (this got a knowing hum from the audience), and Peter would occasionally ring Neil up for quotes that he could Tweet.  Neil said he didn’t get it so he would tell Peter things that Neil’s mother used to say, like ‘the wind, the wind the naughty wind that blew the girls’ skirts high, but God was just and blew the dust into the bad boys’ eyes.’  Indeed, Peter had tweeted that, and it got a laugh here tonight. 

On a roll, Neil shared a few other cheeky rhymes his mother taught him, and then a little ditty of the same provenance, played on piano,  the stammering song Katie: ‘K-K-K-K-Katie…. the night before that, she swallowed the doormat’, that sort of thing.  I knew this song really well from my childhood but with different lyrics: ‘ K-K-K-K-Katie x2,  you’re the most w-w-wonderful g-g-g-girl; when the m-m-moon shines, Over the c-c-cowshed, I’ll be waiting at the k-k-kitchen door.’

‘Is this on the new album, Neil?’ someone called out.  Neil quickly asked if we would buy it if it was.    He said that as he had been talking about his (late) mother, she was a glorious woman so we should toast her and give her a cheer, and we happily obliged.  Being Irish, he said, she had more names for idiots than anyone else he had ever known.   When asked what county she was from, Neil said she was born in Limerick in a workhouse (!)—I’m amazed she escaped from that life then, and thank goodness for us—and that she and her sister Bridie moved to New Zealand as children, and they’d had a crazy mother called Moira (maybe Máire?).  He played one more quick ditty brightly on the piano that his mother had taught him, sounding very Noel Coward but it was a variation of an Australian soldier’s First World War number Mrs  Porter that T S Eliot alludes to in Waste Land, Neil’s version being: ‘Oh, the moon shines tonight on Mrs Porter  / ‘cause she’s a snorter / And so’s her daughter. / And they both wash their feet in soapy water, and so they oughtta / To keep them clean.’  The audience lapped this up.   [Thanks to Mike for filling in the word I missed.]

Within seconds, Neil had moved on from his Tom Lehrer mode to the subdued and winsome Finn Brothers’ song Gentle Hum, and the room otherwise went quiet, as we engaged in Neil’s masterly vocal and piano performance, until the audience joined in with the humming part—all quite exquisite.

During the briefest of pauses, few people shouted out songs as Neil clearly had met most of our desires with the 22 songs he’d played so far, though I thought a woman near me’s suggestion that he sing the gorgeous The Devil You Know would be a luxury as I don’t think I’ve ever heard that live, but that loud man from the back predictably shouted out  ‘Aren’t you going to do Leaps and Bounds?’ 

Perhaps out of exasperation and because he was such a true crowd-pleaser (or single-person-in-the- crowd-pleaser in this case), he immediately launched into a bright song that, after a couple lines, the loud man recognised to be his dream come true and shouted a sort of ‘wah-hey!’ over Neil’s singing [so how did the man recognise it if he’d never heard it?].  The verses of Leaps and Bounds were good enough fun, and the chorus repeated the title a lot, with a refrain of ‘I remember’,  with Neil adding plenty of enjoyable piano.  Indeed, the clip of Neil, Nick and the late great Paul Hester performing this song with its writer, Paul Kelly, on Paul Hester’s television show Hessie's Shed, where Paul introduced it as a song the Crowdies used to perform almost every night, is a treat. But for all we know, Neil hated it, or it might have brought back sad memories, or he had other priorities, or he didn’t want the complications of having now to worry about drawing up a royalty cheque for Paul Kelly.  In any case, with Neil playing it on his own in Bush Hall, he asked us to supply the rhythm near the end, which we did with busy handclaps as he built up the momentum on the quickening piano part.  After Neil brought the song to a quick finish with a punctuated piano bit, he continued to conduct our handclaps and let that lead us into one of my very favourites (and that of many female American fans perhaps, though few of us are like the one in the song I’m sure): Mean To Me.  Neil created a boppy piano solo in place of the usually raucous electric guitar bit, and we clapped busily to accompany him, helping also to shout out at the top of our lungs the ‘Whaddya know?!’ line.   This song was a particular thrill because I’m not one to shout out requests at concerts, but I’d been silently willing this one in case anyone heard my thoughts, and I’m glad we got there in the end.

Rather than finishing the song, Neil interrupted it by singing a dialogue over the continuing piano tune (which was still pounding, with the laptop and wine glass shaking on top of it) that he was getting to the end of the show now and needed to wish a very special woman called Emma a happy birthday, and he merged the song into the traditional Happy Birthday. We were glad to sing a booming birthday greeting to whomever Emma was since Neil told us she was special, and I got the impression she might be far away rather than in the room with us.   Somehow, as he continued on the piano and we continued to cheer, he moved smoothly from Happy Birthday into Throw Your Arms Around Me, as you do, making this an intriguing medley of diverse songs.  He started with the chorus and we all joined in, roaring at the end of it.  I love that this marvellous 25-year-old song by Nick Seymour’s brother Mark is kept alive long after Hunters and Collectors broke up.  Apparently, it’s one of the Top 30 Australian songs of all time, and the Finns always do it justice. 

The only bad thing about that song tonight was that it was the last we heard from Neil.   It was 10.20pm, and Neil had been on stage almost entirely on his own for a whopping two hours and 10 minutes.  Before we caught our breath, Neil jumped up and said, ‘Thank you very much, good night to you all!’  The time had gone quickly and we shouted, bayed and stomped for more, but in the knowledge that we didn’t necessarily deserve it as he had given such an incredible amount already.  Even when the lights came on, it took us a while to face up to the truth.  But it eventually dawned on us that Neil had called it a night.   And it was the best night that many of us had had—or will have—for an extraordinarily long time.  What a tremendous opportunity, a wickedly fantastic treat.  I hope that the next time he’s passing through, he decides to treat his committed fans to another gig, even if he’s unrehearsed and he wants to try out some new things on us.  We’ll lap it up like puppies and stand in whenever he needs a bit of support.  We got the best of both worlds: a heart-stoppingly outstanding, professionally delivered concert of our favourite songs, and a nice informal evening with what seemed like a good friend who was in high spirits and acted like he was as happy to be with us as we were to be with him.

I’ve listed the full set list below

Private Universe
Turn and Run
Only Talking Sense
Amsterdam

Into Temptation
Wherever You Are

Faster Than Light
Last Day of June

Twice if You're Lucky

Message to My Girl
Try Whistling This
I Feel Possessed

Walking on the Spot
Elephants
Anytime (with Julia on piano)
Into the Sunset

Last to Know (with 'diva' Suzanne adding vocals)
Sinner
Love You 'til the Day I Die (with Steven on piano)
Four Seasons in One Day
Don't Dream It's Over
(various fun ditties his mother taught him eg Katie and Mrs Parker)
Gentle Hum
Leaps & Bounds
Mean to Me
Happy Birthday (for Emma)
Throw Your Arms Around Me.

(Apologies for my poor quality photos; I didn’t want to use the flash often, had a few rows of heads and bodies between me and Neil, and I always turn off my camera’s autofocus assist lamp after belatedly realising that the reason Paul Brady and Chris Difford at separate gigs had been giving me so much attention was because I was targeting their faces with red laser-like spots, though I noticed several on Neil’s face tonight and he tolerated them, bless him).

Copyright © 2010 by TC (apart from Neil Finn lyrics, of course). All rights reserved.
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[PS--People have been asking how I remember all this.  I don't.  I scribble incessantly throughout the gig--I studied Journalism at Uni and write rapidly--and then groan when I get home to be faced with a bazillion pages of illegibly scrawled notes, when this practice started with me simply meaning to jot down a set list; life was much simpler then.  I have stacks of little notebooks filled with indecipherable scrawl of concerts and other events I've been to over the years, hoping I'll find the time one day to 'write them up' for this site or my blog.  Sadly, I can't mend my ways and go back to just writing down the song titles. I can't help myself as I'm constantly seeing and thinking of things that I want to note down before they slip my mind. At least having these records on my website helps me years later when everything is but a blur, and I can barely remember if I were at a gig, although I know I will remember this one....].

 

 

 

 

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at London's Bush Hall on 3 February 2010

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