"Why can’t we do this every week?"
20 years and one day since the extraordinary musical event that was the farewell concert for Crowded House, we are finally treated to an ‘encore’ performance and it was certainly worth the wait.
As the sun dipped and the after-work crowd filed in, Kirin J Callinan popped onto the stage. Dressed in an orange singlet and some sort of high waisted op-shop sourced slacks, Callinan is no shrinking violet. Of course, his eclectic brilliance may have been lost on the mostly mature audience, but his songs have an endearing quirkiness to create a good deal of interest. A bare-chested Callinan sings about a toddler "...not yet a boy." Brilliantly wacky.
Adorned in monk robes, the band sneak onto the stage and waste no time kicking into Mean To Me. Then it’s a plethora of hits. World Where You Live, Fall at Your Feet, When You Come and the tenderness of Whispers & Moans.
The balmy evening is enhanced by the warmth from not only the adoring crowd but the band themselves. Nick Seymour plays his dancing bass lines with a permanent smile on his face and Neil Finn is in great form, punctuating every couple of songs with commentary. He asks, "If we came back every week, would you come? What do you think, Toaster? Stoney silence!" (referring to tweets earlier that day to a pesky resident). Later, "I expect you all to form choral groups and sing outside the Toaster at over 110db!" Cheeky indeed.
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"It’s time to expand the band!" declares Neil as his older brother and Woodface collaborator joins the group. The album (which reached number two on the charts thanks to Noiseworks) featured huge hits, It’s Only Natural, Chocolate Cake, Weather With You and Four Seasons In One Day. The latter two came in the encore with a 6,000-strong karaoke version and harmonies bouncing quite beautifully around the forecourt.
With the 1996 finale, Don’t Dream It’s Over already played (beautifully) in the main set, what was going to round it out? Better Be Home Soon made this reviewer well up immediately. With encouragement, we sang with all our might wishing that the night would never end. Why can’t we do this every week?