This is sad. I call it the Fleetwood Mac effect though. Fleetwood Mac are up to their 19th (and I think last, lineup). Crowded House are now onto their 6th.
I don’t really understand the motivation, but my wild speculation is that this Fleetwood Mac tour will be the last. Stevie And Christine (and John) have no desire to make new music and are ready to retire but Mick Fleetwood wants to keep going. It could be what started out as Fleetwood Mac 19 morphs into Crowded House 6.
The band being Neil, Nick, Mitchell Froom, and Mick Fleetwood (perhaps with either Mike Campbell or Johnny Marr also coming on board).
I get the bringing of Mick Fleetwood in - he and Neil have become tight and Mick wanted Neil to be involved in making new Mac music. Apparently they have been working on ideas. Imagine the publicity if/when Fleetwood Mac call it a day to announce that Mick (and possibly Mike) will join Neil and Nick in a new Crowded House.
New music with that lineup is an exciting prospect (and we can debate whether it should be called CH or not).
(My wild speculation continues) I guess Neil felt that if Matt wasn’t going to be required, he may as well do a major shake-up. I really feel for Mark, but Crowded House has always been Neil’s band and maybe he sees an opportunity for one last shot for Crowded House to get recognition it never really got. It was on the verge on that when Neil broke it up (crushing Nicks hopes and dreams in the process). If the band were to include Fleetwood and Marr, it really would be recognized as a “super group”. Maybe now that Neil has had the Fleetwood Mac opportunity of playing massive arenas, he wants Nick to have the same. Maybe if Tim comes on board, he finally gets to live the dream he originally had for the Enz as well.
This is complete wild speculation though. For all we know, this is just for the one off gig, but I still don’t get why Mark would be cast aside unless there was a bigger picture at play.
Neither Tim or Neil have ever been sentimental in making decisions relating to the Enz or CH. Mark has always been a fan favorite (what is not to love about the guy?!), but out of 6 studio albums, he only really fully participated in 2 of them (Together Alone and Intriguer).
I have no doubt that Neil would have made the decision for creative not personal reasons. Maybe he has a clear vision for one last version of Crowded House, and musically Mark just didn’t fit. Together Alone was a masterpiece, and maybe with Mark in the band, it felt like a burden of making the the magic happen again. They tried with Intriguer and maybe Neil felt that something didn’t work right in the studio second time around (that album took forever to get finished and arguably the best song versions didn’t make the album) and Mark is the scapegoat.
I am clutching at straws here trying to find a positive but it makes no sense to drop Mark if CH’s future is just one off gigs (the band have never sounded better than they did at the Sydney Opera House gigs). Maybe it is due to the musical direction Neil wants a new CH album to go down and he sees Mitchell Froom as more important to the classic Crowded House sound than Mark Hart...
Alternatively Neil, may also being merging the family band with Crowded House and we get Neil, Nick, Mitchell, Liam and Elroy. I kind of understand it (but don’t agree with it or like it) for one off shows. But why get Mark and Matt over to NZ for rehearsals etc... for just one gig, when Neil can practice with the family and he has Mitchell Froom over in NZ anyway finishing off the secret new Finn Brothers album that has been happening in the background...
I guess only time will tell..