Ten years after splitting up, Crowded House reformed with a new drummer
and began recording their latest album "Time On Earth." The
album is good but in no way on the same par as their classics, yet I was
still looking forward to the live performance. However, hold your horses,
before the main spectacle, we had Duke Special.
I was still getting to grips with the fact the entire room was seated
when Duke Special arrived on stage. Though Duke Special is one person,
he had a few guys with him on drums, wind, and bass. He himself, played
piano and vocals. With the most interesting hair-style the Bournemouth
International Centre will ever see, and an eerie circus/pirate-like sound,
(I know they're very different but I can't quite decide which it is,)
Duke Special ran through a selection of songs for our audible pleasure.
It was all very upbeat and quirky, with Duke's powerful Irish accented
voice calling out on top. Ah, I've finally put my finger on it. Forget
pirate, forget circus, the word I was looking for is theatrical. Everything
from the way he dressed, to the arrangement of the songs, to the fact
the drummer was having way too much fun doing not very much, to the crowd
participation in the final song which I think was called "She Said
No." Even if the music isn't the kind of thing you would want to
find yourself listening to out of that concert, which for me, it isn't;
it was still all entertaining.
And then for the real deal. Crowded House. The room burst into applause
as the legends made their way on stage. You could tell there were some
real hardcore fans in here, singing along to every word of every song,
including the new album. I however, was a fan more familiar with their
hits than everything. And so it turned out, I actually knew a lot more
than I thought I did. Full of jolly chit-chat, jokes and anecdotes, the
boys did good. Weaving tracks off of their new album including "People
Are Like Suns," in between epic classics such as "Fall At Your
Feet" and "It's Only Natural." Nick Seymour, bass, told
an interesting story. I can't remember the details but it basically revolved
around trying to surf, and people mistaking him for his brother and that's
the only reason he gets accepted by people. The drummer commented that
it's the prominent forcep marks. A mis-hearing led the story briefly onto
foreskins, and as I'm sure you can imagine, there were titters all around.
One of the best responses came from the awesome "Don't Dream It's
Over." Now that's just fantastic.
The backdrop to the show was ever changing, mainly consisting of pictures
made up from blown-up news paper cuttings, and small elements from album
artwork strewn about. It was certainly very interesting. Part way through,
a song was ad libbed completely, in the E minor key, led by the guitarist.
Was quite a rock n' roll number, you know, full of energy, yet simple.
When "Walked her Way Down," was played (which sounds like it
should be a classic but it's actually off of their new album,) Neil Finn
asked for any women to walk from the very back of the room, down the stairs
right to the front. Towards the end of the song, surprisingly, a few did
and settled at the front. Slowly but surely, this number grew, and four
songs later, there were throngs of people at the front, regardless of
gender, but mainly consisting of middle-aged women dancing about. It was
all a bit of a free for all really. But I suppose if I'd paid £32.00
for a ticket and ended up in row Z then I might have done the same.
Then Neil Finn came off stage and to much applause, ran up one set of
stairs and shimmy'd back down again. Just to show you how it should have
been done four songs ago. I was surprised to find great songs like "Instinct"
or "Not The Girl You Think You Are" weren't included in the
set, and instead, after "Weather With You" in an encore, the
set was dragged out with random songs. Whereas I feel finishing their
and then with arguably their most famous song, would have been a bit better.
Regardless, it was very entertaining. Expertly played and impossible to
distinguish from the albums themselves, with great improvisation and banter
scattered throughout. Excellent.
Review By Thom