Craig Box's journeys, stories and notes...

Crowded House at the Kings Arms

Neil Finn and Nick SeymourOne of the best reasons to be a member of the Frenz of the Enz is that for $15 a year, every now and then they invite you to little showcase performances. After Crowded House broke up in 1996, I never thought I'd get to see them: even more so, after the suicide of original drummer Paul Hester. But it came to pass that on 12th July 2007 the reformed Crowdies rolled into Auckland, and I was waiting in the audience.

I guess I was the standard musical nerd and worried a lot about the lack of Hester, especially as I find some of the vocal harmonies lacking in the live recordings I've heard of the new songs. However, no less than two songs in, it was apparent that this was Crowded House, as if they'd never skipped a beat.

The new drummer, Matt Sherrod, wasn't just playing as if he was Hester; he added his own flavour to the proceedings. The vocal harmonies were great, if down a little in the mix, mostly because Neil's son Liam was providing most of them from near the back of the stage.

The set was a mixture of new and old; surprises included the B-side "Recurring Dream", played second, though in a rather rough arrangement. And without saying that Greig and I had both picked it from the word go, half-way through Something So Strong, who should hop up onto the keyboard but Eddie Rayner! Geoff tells me that Tim was there also but I didn't see him.

The band were having a lot of fun, and the encore started with multi-instrumentalist Mark Hart playing and singing Born On The Bayou, which ended up with everyone on the wrong instrument. It ended up with various Beatles songs being played, and the promise of requests being taken from the audience. However, they didn't really have any backstage to go to (at one point they decided just to all fall on the floor and wait for an encore from there) and it seems like they were asked to finish up early, as they jumped into Better Be Home Soon and then left the stage.

Check out my photos of Crowded House at the Kings Arms.

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