September 4, 2010
Split Enz (and Squeeze for that matter) were essential components of my college experience (much to the dismay of a couple of my college roommates). I was late to both parties, but oh did i make up for lost time. When the Enz ended, I was bummed, but also excited about hearing this new band he was forming, called Crowded House (most of my music info came directly from Billboard thanks to the SE library subscription--thanks Joni). Not sure i've mentioned this, but for some strange reason, i'd always been a rapid Australia-New Zealand fanatic--which continues unabated to this day----and not just about music....i think the first science paper i wrote---in third grade---- was on the platypus, and a moa paper followed in 6th---the land down under was my go to topic---even before i knew LRB and ONJ and MO and FoTC and LOTR. I wasn't exactly sure how i was going to get this new album (the enz of the enz was not well covered by my local wax museum). I think i was resigned to a plasma alliance run (although i think i might have been banned there because i'd passed out pretty much every time i gave plasma) to cover the cost of this sure to be import album (and why were imports always so darn flimsy?) And then i promptly proceeded to forget about CH (hey, it was my senior year in college and i was damn busy)
You already know where this story is going. I'd forgotten about Neil's new band, but conversely, everywhere i was going i was hearing this insanely catchy song, with this indelible refrain, "hey now, hey now". you gotta understand, this is so pre-everything (i was still using WordStar to write my papers on Henry Lawson) that a catchy lyric heard in drips and drops on the radio could not immediately result in a lyric search (and the attendant spyware). It was a couple weeks before i connected the "hey now, hey now" to "Don't Dream It's Over" and Crowded House (i should write an entry about how i always mis-hear song lyrics---"My Eyes Adored You" was "My Sweet Georgia" until 1992---but i'm not saying what i thought followed the "hey now, hey now"). Of course, airplay could only mean one thing, the album had to be out! (and not just for import anymore) I rip on vinyl but there was such a rush for me in those days to pick up a new album, stare at the album cover all the way home (we lived on 13th ave, just a couple blocks north of como), rip off the plastic, marvel at the shiny clean black vinyl and then drop the needle on it and wait those 3 seconds as the needle worked its way to the music.
I was in love with Crowded House by the first guitar chords of "Mean to Me", that she came all the way to america line gave me goosebumps. I loved every song on that album and played the hell out of it (and so did radio). That debut might just be one of the best pop albums of all time. (and i replayed it yesterday and still loved EVERY SINGLE SONG on that disc) I loved TEMPLE OF LOW MEN even more (and of course, my friend Tammy loved them too so they were always playing) as they band got moodier and darker and the production got richer. "Into Temptation" and "Never be the Same" ("Don't stand around like friends at a funeral" gets me everytime) are just amazing. And i don't need to say anything about "Better Be Home Soon" or "When You Come". I guess all i'm saying (in a way too long and round about way...which could continue if i didn't need a mountain dew) is that was intensely in love with Crowded House and i don't know why i never saw them live. (course, there was a show lull post college as i said goodbye to my college buddies one by one and figured out what being an adult meant).
But finally, 25 some years later, I finally was able to rectify the error of my youth and see Crowded House (and at the Zoo, where i'd never seen a show before). All i can say it was totally worth the wait. I've probably not been so charmed by a band (specifically Neil Finn) in...well...pretty much forever (note to self....maybe ease up on the oh so serious alternative bands you favor). There were sing alongs with the crowd (ed) assemblage, they played pretty much every song i loved, neil was in great voice, the backing band was tight, the interplay between neil and nick seymour was funny and old couple affectionate. I think "Four Seasons in One Day" was a super highlight for me, although you could practically pick any song (even the newer material off the last two albums, which didn't sound out of context in relation to the heyday songs) and have a favorite concert moment (The Elephant song has suddenly joined the CH pantheon for me). Wonderful, wonderful show.
And i'd totally be remiss without saying that i had stellar company for the show too. The stars finally aligned and i got to spend some time with the ICC after a month of mis-matched schedules. Thanks man, for sharing it with me. VIVA le ZOO!