The Finn Brothers, Olympia Theatre, Dublin- November 2 2004

Here's my take on last night in Dublin. First to get a few minor niggles out of the way - why can't the merchandising include more music and less overpriced cotton garments? (Peter - we missed you) Also and, more crucially, the sound where I was sitting wasn't the best. But I was very close to the speaker stacks and I'm one of the few people in the world desperate for the 5.1 surround sound DVD-Audio/SACD version of EIH.

It might be all to do with expectations. EIH is such a complex and subtle piece of work, it's quite a shock to hear it and other Finn songs played with a full-on band. I found it a touch heavy-handed at times - maybe Distant Sun survived the aural bombardment but It's Only Natural certainly didn't.

Maybe the loudness did surprise the crowd a bit. They seemed a bit shyer than I normally would have thought at a Dublin Finn concert especially at the start of the gig. It is almost nine years to the night the Finns last played together in this venue and I thought I remembered a more in-sync audience but that could just be my memory playing tricks. But by the end of last night's concert, the lads had won them over and the singing, especially of Better Be Home Soon, was terrific.

Ireland is clearly a special place for the brothers. Neil said one of the reasons for this was that "everyone here looks a bit like us - kinda nerdy" and Tim spoke about a nostalgic swim he took early in the day at Dalkey with Liam - presumably Liam O'Maonlai from the Hothouse Flowers and his erstwhile bandmate in ALT. Neil joked that the effect of the cold was so great that after the swim, it was hard to tell if they were boys or girls!

The other ALT bandmate Andy White also got a credit for helping the Finns with Mary of the South Seas which the brothers felt they had to play in Ireland in tribute to their mother. Neil said that she always thought the song too long and so they had dropped a verse to shorten it. There seemed to be a bit of a Finn family get together in the audience with their sister Caroline(?) in the theatre along with Sharon Finn.

But what about the music? Well, iffy sound can not destroy the power and the beauty of songs like Edible Flowers, Part of Me, Part of You and the frankly incredible Disembodied Voices. Delivered on an almost dark stage, this is an all-time Finn classic - we are just too close to realise this yet. The next single, surely?

We also had a powerful version of Persuasion which had many fans going wild. The effect of the time signature on Anything Can Happen on fans, male and female, was also clear to see!

Another highlight was Neil 's guitar playing. Like Elvis Costello, Neil's vocal prowess sometimes means his skill in this area is underestimated. A superb version of I Got You was another high as was Land Torments The Sea - the core of EIH album according to the boys, even though it didn't make the final tracklisting. Minnie Driver joined them on stage for this one. (Her music is not really my cup of tea but I think we all have to acknowledge than she can sing.)

What else was especially good? Angel's Heap (complete with a NF string break) Six Months in a Leaky Boat and There Goes God all sounded as fresh as a November day in Ireland, with Neil replacing the line in the last song about the mobile home, with "in your voting booth". He later expressed the view (or hope) that Kerry would be a hit in the States.

At the time of writing, he may be disappointed. But the crowd at the Olympia certainly didn't share that emotion. What other musicians could create such diverse music as ,say, the first and second Finn Brothers albums? Who could always surprise you no matter how many times you see them? And what other established act can you think of who you are more excited about hearing their new stuff live - than their proven classics? We've always know the Finns were good, exceptional even, but at this stage in their careers they are on course to be real musical legends? Just listen again to that bridge in Disembodied Voices and you'll know why.
Original Post
I thought it was a rip-roaring rocker of a show and loved it start to finish!!

Almost no talking & no introduction to the band (I think Neil was trying to at one point, but then Tim started the next song). And indeed fabulous singing on Better be home soon from the audience. Bring on the next show!
It was a great night- well worth driving nearly 8 hours from/to Cork.
They were in great voice, and the audience in the upper circle were enjoying it: I couldn't see the rest of the house. Sitting there also meant missing the video at the start, which was blocked by the lighting rig, can anybody enlighten me and tell me what it was about?
No programmes sold, so I definitely missed band intros (are they the same band as on the cd?), and had no clue who the opening act were. Funny thing is: I was thinking "that singer looks just like Minnie Driver", turns out she is :-)

Loved 'Edible Flowers', 'Disembodied Voices', 'Distant Sun' and audience participation.
Missed 'Gentle Hum', which is one of my new favourites.

Howdy. Great gig as always. A different dynamic with the song selection skewed towards the brotherly collabarative and more of a family snapshot (with common experiences) with less of an emphasis on Neil's solo work. I haven't seen Tim-live for an extended period of the show ffor a few years and was great to see him revelling in it all. Persuasion was a particular highlight. I'd have been happy with anything from Tim's largely over-looked but singularly outstanding outing self-titled "orange" record.

I think rating a gig with other past favorites is difficult. The emphasis is always and should be on new material and I personally prefer it that way. Despite a guitar glich "Anything can happen" was an absolutely awesome display. If I want to see a great live version of "insert old classic here" that's what we have a wide selection of Neil's work on DVD for.
I agree it was a much more punchy sound largely due to the outstanding, authoritative (yet annonymous) drummer- it really works with the new material. I'll be back for a second serve tonight but I might pack the ear plugs -LOL I'd normally bring some to most gigs (as insurance) but naturally left at home last night given this was Finn show.
just been to my first finn gig ever, so i have nothing to compare it to, but i will say this: i have fallen in love with the finns all over again. Big Grin

i agree with Detective in that the audience were very reticent at the start - i couldnt stop bopping in my seat, but then again i was so excited to be seeing them. although the crowd did warm up esp after a few CH + enz songs

Originally posted by Detective:
the frankly incredible Disembodied Voices. Delivered on an almost dark stage, this is an all-time Finn classic - we are just too close to realise this yet. [/qb]
yes absolutely this song is so sublime + def a hi lite for me. only the finns could turn 'talking in the dark' into a poetic masterpiece. the dark stage gave me shivers. i cannot say enough about this beautiful song

as much as i dont like WWY, and i know that i am bordering on blasphemy, the audience participation was a joy to be part of and i did get carried away with the mood.
also the crowd singing the last chorus of four seasons was magical

watching tim dancing manically was brilliant too. Big Grin and he is so ruggedly handsome - i hadnt noticed it b4, but for an 'old' man he's a bit of alright! Wink

i was really impressed with minnie driver . i had heard some bad reviews for her so wasnt expecting much, but i hav to say i think people have been a bit harsh - what a voice and she's a very sexy woman. that 'yellow eyes(?)' song was so sultry.

what a fantastic nite. i would have sold my granny to go again tonite but alas. so to all u lucky people enjoy tonite - u wont b disappointed
That was a great gig! I think "Anything Can Happen" was the highlight for me, but then again there wasn't too much amiss with the rest of the show either. Really liked the venue too. Could have done with a bit more Split Enz stuff (you can never have too much of that........!) but I did appreciate the audience participation/appreciation was greatest when the Crowded House stuff was aired! My husband said with pained expression "The guy sitting next to me sang every word.......and he hadn't a note".

It was great to be able to put a few faces to names too. I thought I was being so original bringing my ageing vinyl "Mental Notes" along in search of Tim's autograph, only to find iarla had had the same idea. We only just managed to get them signed after the show as Tim and the wife (who's a really lovely looking girl by the way) were attempting a quick getaway. We left the crowd waiting for Neil to emerge. I have a feeling Neil probably gave the crowd a bit more attention but will await news on how that went! My kids, who claim not to be Finn fans, were really impressed with the autographed album!
Thanks go to Detective for a brilliant review of the show above - I'd agree that the audience was very quiet to start with, and I was surprised as Dublin crowds are normally really vocal. Not too many shouts for requests, although Neil and Tim seemed to be sticking rigidly to the setlist.

Still, a great performance by the whole band, those EIH songs just sound so much better live than on the CD. Tim is in particularly fine voice, Neil's guitar playing is a treat on this tour. Disembodied Voices was the song of the night for me Smiler

And Minnie wasn't bad at all, give her her due, she's still learning her trade. Seemed very shy but delighted with the polite applause she got. Have to say her band were excellent. Neil brought her on to sing backup on 'The Land Torments The Sea' near the end and she seemed hugely embarrassed to be on stage with them, perhaps she realises just what a class act the Finns are.

Great to meet up with some fellow Irish Frenz at the stage door, our patience paid off in the end as Neil came out to sign CDs and pose for pics. A genuinely nice guy. Tim rushed off early but I believe he had family commitments.

Apparently Nick Seymour was spotted in the circle but he didn't join the fun onstage Frowner


Nothing Wrong With You
A Life Between Us
Six Months In A Leaky Boat
Four Seasons In One Day
Angels' Heap
There Goes God
Mary Of The South Seas
Part Of Me, Part Of You
Disembodied Voices
Only Talking Sense
Edible Flowers
Anything Can Happen
Distant Sun
It's Only Natural
Weather With You
I Got You
Won't Give In
The Land Torments The Sea
Better Be Home Soon

Click this link for some (slightly blurred, sorry!) pics of The Finns in Dublin, on and offstage

PS: I managed to capture a few minutes of digital video of the show on my still camera...are there any Frenz who have some free webspace where I could put these clips online for Frenz to view for a few days? They'll need about 100Mb...please contact me off-board. Thanks.
Great photos Anselm! I'm really impressed they turned out so good from where you were sitting. And you got one of Tim being held hostage in the back of his car too. I'll have to print that one off and pop it inside my "Mental Notes" just to remind me of the lengths fans will go to to secure an autograph......!!!
Here's a review from today's (Nov 4) edition of the Irish Times (Dublin):

The Finn Brothers

Olympia Theatre, Dublin

Review by Tony Clayton-Lea

Together and apart, Tim and Neil Finn have made some of the most tuneful pop music of the past 25 years. Classy, dignified and with the best of intentions, the New Zealand brothers always seem to place melody first, words second and the inalienable right to be, well, very good close behind.

Between Split Enz, Crowded House and their separate, hardly distinctive careers, the Finns obviously go back a long way. The opening home-movie excerpts - wherein it seems as if the entire Finn family is being introduced to the capacity audience - highlight the fact that, differences through the decades aside, the brothers have finally allowed their paths to intersect 10 years after the release of their d�but collaborative album, Finn. The result is probably the least surprising gig of the year: we know what to expect, we know the calibre of what the Finns do. Frankly, if the gig had been anything less than excellent, your reviewer would have asked for his time back.

Nothing Wrong With You - from the pair's recently released album, Everyone is Here - was a smooth entry into selections from Split Enz (Six Months in a Leaky Boat), Crowded House (Four Seasons in One Day, There Goes God, Distant Sun) and the brothers' respective solo material. If the sound was a little ragged, there was always a tune coming right and left of centre to drag the audience along, and if the guitars rang out too loudly for everyone's tastes, then there were regular strums on the acoustic and finger exercises on the piano.

What it all amounted to was a concert as familiar as home; if it veered more towards comfort than conflict this was surely due to the nature of the show, which was geared primarily for smoothness and charm. There's nothing wrong with that either, especially when it's executed with such humour and panache.

The support act, as a matter of some interest, was actress Minnie Driver, whose supple blend of country rock and tough Americana subtly impressed.

Should the movie career nosedive she could well give a few better-known people a run for their money. Tony Clayton-Lea

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