New Wave Music Is Still Relevant
Believe it or not, between 1981 and 2005, I did not go to many concerts so I never saw Neil Finn perform. Not with Split Enz in the 1980s. Not with Crowded House in the 1980s or 1990s. Not with his brother Tim in the 2000s.
Neil is currently touring in support of his recent release, ‘Dizzy Heights’; he appeared Monday night at the Shubert Theatre, a venue that hosts a variety of theatrical and musical productions.
The band took the stage with Neil at the grand piano and immediately launched into a song from the new album. I have not listened to the album yet but the songs are easily identifiable as Neil Finn’s writing.
From there, the two-hour set covered songs from Neil’s entire catalog, from Split Enz to Crowded House to Finn Brothers to his solo material. His catalog is quite extensive; even though I wanted to hear songs such as ‘Weather With You’ and ‘Something So Strong’, the set list was so good that I did not miss them.
Neil switched from piano to guitars throughout the show, showing how much at ease he is with both instruments. I felt that I heard his voice better when he was at the microphone where he played guitar.
Neil is traveling with a band that includes his wife, Sharon, on bass. The other members of the band are Jesse Sheehan on guitar, Jimmy Manderel on guitar, Alastair Deverick on drums, Andrew Everding on keyboards and guitar, and Lisa Tomlins on vocals and percussion.
During the show, musicians would leave the stage for a song or two, leaving a trio or quartet to perform. At one point, the members of Midlake, the backup band, took the stage with Neil and their harmonies were gorgeous.
Overall, I loved the way all the vocalists harmonized, and was thankful that those harmonies didn’t mask Neil’s voice because it is still fantastic. In fact, a couple of times I closed my eyes and thought he sounds as good as he did thirty years ago. Not many artists can say that.
The second encore was Neil solo, and that was arguably the best part of the show to me. He performed three Crowded House songs to great applause. He asked the audience to sing along which we did gladly.
Half of the band Midlake performed the opening set. I enjoyed them quite a bit and thought they were a good choice to tour with Neil. Their sound meshes with Neil’s sound and they have excellent harmonies (something I enjoy about all of Neil’s projects).
I thought the flute, both in their set and in Neil’s, was a beautiful addition.
Neil and the entire band had a great time performing for us; he lamented the 10:30 curfew at the Shubert, commenting that if Bruce Springsteen can perform three and a half hour sets, so could he! I doubt that anyone in the audience would have complained had the show lasted until midnight. I know I wouldn’t have!
Posted on April 10, 2014, in concert reviews, music, Uncategorized and tagged boston, concert review, Crowded House, Midlake, music, Neil Finn, new wave music, Shubert Theatre, Split Enz. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.