The more I think about this, the more I think there has to be something more going on. It makes no sense to dismiss Mark and replace him with Mitchell Froom. Froom is first and foremost a producer, not a band member (particularly for a one off concert).
You wouldn’t specifically bring Froom in for a live performance ahead of Mark. It makes no sense unless Neil had already planned to be doing something with Froom at that time.
(Wild speculation time again) That makes me think that there may be a Froom produced Crowded House album planned. We already know that Froom doesn’t consider Mark to be a key ingredient to the classic CH sound. He didn’t want him for Woodface and then reduced his involvement in the Recurring Dream tracks.
Maybe Neil and Froom got discussing the prospect of working together on a new CH album (potentially after a planned FM one with Froom fell through again). Froom once again told Neil that he didn’t see Mark being required. Mark either needs to be 100% in the band, or out altogether - you can’t deny him being an active participant in a new album then just roll him out for concerts. Neil could of said that if Froom wanted Mark out for the album then he would have to replace Mark on live performances himself.
Again, just speculation... But it is hard to make sense of this.
This does raise an interesting question though, who is more important to the essence of Crowded House - Hart or Froom?
Froom was largely responsible for shaping the original CH sound (going back to StuartJB’s Beatles analogy - he was the George Martin) with the first 3 albums.
Hart became a full member for Together Alone onwards when Froom has no involvement.
It’s seems that you can either have Hart or Froom involved with CH but not both for whatever reason (I am guessing, creative differences). It looks like Neil has gone with Froom.
Again, this makes no sense unless there is an album at play. If Neil and Nick wanted to perform together and bill it as CH without getting Mark and Matt onboard, Neil could have grabbed Eddie Rayner, Elroy or any number of others who have been in or around CH in the past and who would be in the Southern Hemisphere at the time.
I am still confused by it and just trying to make some sense. It is one thing to play with Nick for a gig in Aussie, call it CH, not include the guys who weren’t part of the original band and grab some fill ins (be it family or friends), but it is another thing to fly in a Producer from America who was so instrumental in the first 3 albums, and have him play the gig at the expense of the guy who he doesn’t rate, despite being an integral member since 1993.
I can only see the logic if there is a new Mitchell Froom produced album on the horizon.
From all wild guesses, imaginations, predictions, this sound most logic for me.. I can go with that..question really is - who is more important for sound of CH in 2020s, Froom or Mark? To be honest, Marks magic didnt sparkle at all on 4 songs on TOE (tnx to so-so production of S. Lillywhite), and almost didnt sparkle on Intriguer, again because of production... on the other hand, live perfomances of Either side of the World showed Marks magic exactly like I/we have loved it.. Froom is now in his 60s, if I am correct, and dont blame me for "ageism", but I am not sure that producer in this stage of life could give some new/old/new sound to the band...we ll see what ll become of all of that, if there will be anything exept this one concert.. but, still very sory for Mark been sacked, and because his words on twitter sounded like farewell to CH for all, not just for this one stand...