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A quick note on night one at the House of Blues, before I collapse from exhaustion: from start (Recurring Dream, which I hadn't dared hope for) to finish (Better Be Home Soon), the band was in a groove, sharp and energetic, and Neil was in great voice (although he was drawing on the Throat Coat). This show was being recorded for broadcast, and whether for that reason or just luck of the draw there seemed to be a bit less of the odd humor and random jams than have been described at other shows (although there was one very funny lovers' spat between Neil and Nick early in the show. On the whole, despite the omission of a couple of songs I'd hoped to hear (most notably She Called Up) and the inclusion of a couple that are not personal favorites (notably When You Come), it was everything I had hoped for and more.
-- And I wake up blind Like my dreams were too bright
Original Post
Set List:

Recurring Dream
World Where You Live
Say That Again
Heaven That I'm Making
Fall At Your Feet
Silent House
Hole in the River (SERIOUSLY!)
Don't Dream It's Over
Not the Girl You Think You Are
Weather With You
Pour Le Monde
Don't Stop Now
Distant Sun
When You Come

Locked Out
Pineapple Head
Four Seasons in One Day

Mean to Me
Throw Your Arms Around Me*
Better Be Home Soon
* Actual set list shows they planned to do She Walked Her Way Down instead

I'll post some thoughts and impressions when I get home tomorrow (early flight will come soon). But...it was so cool to hear Hole in the River!
Thanks for the show review!!! Any photos? What was the venue like? Large or small? I've never gotten a chance to go to HOB before.

Oh, I'm so envious of those of you who got to hear Hole in the River--I was hoping against hope that they'd play it in Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids, but, sadly, no. However, they did play Recurring Dream, which was an awesome surprise!
What a fantastic show!! My excitement and expectations have been building since I first heard about the new album and I wasn't the least bit disappointed. From the first bars of Recurring Dream to Better Be Home Soon it was amazing. Great energy, vocals and music. I was completely mesmerized the entire time and felt so sad when the boys left the stage for the last time last night. Now I guess I'll have to wait impatiently for the next album and tour. Smiler
I have 4 little cell phone pictures. I haven't exactly worked out how to post them, though. They were recording the show, so they weren't being very photo-friendly, unfortunately. In general, the HOB is a nice venue. It was built to be a great place to see, hear and play a show. I wish there were more seating options, but that's not a complaint. The energy and the set list and the band were all wonderful! As mentioned, Recurring Dream to start was a wonderful surprise. They managed to play most of the songs I would have wanted to hear. I found the new stuff better live than on the cd (as usual), and it's making me more interested to listen to TOE again. I had found it almost too mellow for me (unless the mood called for it), but after seeing CH perform 4 or 5 of the songs, I find it has new life.

The banter was fun. I had expected to hear more from Matt, but I think he said 7 words all night. Neil and Nick were great to watch. The audience participation was enthusiastic and enjoyable, as well. I loved the little clapping thing Neil had going on between the 3 levels of the venue... and 3 official sing-a-longs!

I'm still exhausted from a looooong night. Two opening acts and a late start are almost too much for a mom of toddler twins who are up by 7am rain or shine. I will try to establish more coherent thoughts and post them later.
A fan blog/review that I found :

http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&...652&blogID=301039148

About 20 years ago or so, I saw Crowded House at the Riviera Theater. After a superb set by Paul Kelly & the Messengers (or, for you Aussie out there, Paul Kelly & the Coloured Girls), Crowded House took the stage. They sounded fantastic, but three songs into the set, some underage drunk girl threw up...all over my girlfriend. And that brought an end to our night. For some reason, I never got around to seeing them again. Since then, I've seen Neil Finn, Tim Finn and Neil and Tim together. Finally, just a few hours ago, I finally got to see a whole Crowded House set.

The openers were a mixed bag. 16 Frames are a soulless American band, who take a little bit from Coldplay and a lot from faux performers like Maroon 5 and John Mayer. While the lead guitarist was pretty good, the lead singer bordered on insufferable. His voice was technically fine, but his attempts at soulfulness were forced and insincere. The band also was way to relient on dynamics to add punch to their otherwise unremarkable songs.

Next, Neil's kid, Liam, who's now a young adult, dazzled with a short set. Liam Finn was solo, using his guitar and a variety of effects (a lot of looping and reverb) and a great sophisticated pop sense (yes, a chip off the old block) with some flurries of drumming (he had a kit next to his guitar gear) making for some pretty cool, though sometimes a bit too long, songs. The young Finn is also, like his pa and his uncle, a very engaging stage presence. The strength of his five songs makes me eagerly anticipate a full album. He could make records as good as Neil and Tim, someday.

Crowded House finally hit the stage at 11 p.m. They started off with "Recurring Dream" -- an interesting choice, as it's a very good song, but not one of those automatic, would have made everyone go nuts songs. This was followed by a version of "World Where You Live" that empahsized the song's R & B underpinning a bit. This led into some fun stage banter between Neil and Nick Seymour, and everything just felt right.

The band put a fair amount of new album material in the first half of the set. All of the new stuff (by my count, five songs) sounded good, with "Say That Again" and especially "A Silent House" being clear highlights, that fit in with the classic earlier songs. That being said, I was disappointed that they didn't do the perky "She Called Up" or the moving closer, "People Are Like Suns".

The set leaned most on the first album and Woodface, with Temple of Low Men getting a bit of the short shrift. Liam Finn accompanied the band on acoustic guitar and backing vocals on most songs. New drummer Matt Sherrod was quite good, and there were only a couple old songs where I thought that he should have stuck more with Paul Hester's approach. And Mark Hart was fantastic. He joined the band on Together Alone (saving him from a latter day edition of Supertramp) only to see the band break up a year later. He is a true MVP, whether it's on the keyboards, backing vocals, steel guitar, or his masterful work on the 12-string electric.

I was surprised that they went to two of their greatest songs fairly early in the set. "Don't Dream It's Over" was played a bit sparely, Hart playing the keyboard solo on a melodica. Meanwhile, "Weather With You" came about midway through the set, and it's one of the all-time great singalongs. "Julius Caesar and the Roman Empire/couldn't conquer the blue sky" -- that's lyrical perfection. The band also rearranged "Fall At Your Feet", playing it in a lower key and slowing it down a bit. It still sounded good, but not as good, if you know what I mean.

What else? "Pineapple Head" was a pleasant surprise. "Hole in the River" always kills. The main set closer, "When You Come", was inspiring. They did two encores, finishing the night with "Better Be Home Soon", which is about as good as it gets.

Somewhere along the line, the show just took off. There was no obvious point, really, but everything came together, and greatness ensued. Even when Finn's lyrics are cryptic, there is a warmth and wisdom that his melodies exude that make them sounds that one can live in. This results in such a positive vibe from the audience. Yep, there was a lot of love in the room.

And to think, there are about 10 to 20 or 30 or so other songs I would have love to have heard. But after what happened the first time I saw them, I shouldn't be too greedy.
quote:
Originally posted by caryn:
This might have been mentioned elsewhere but did anyone else notice the gold rope hanging from the prop tree on the stage?


Hey caryn - I questioned it after I saw them in Montreal last week. Mystery solved the next night when Liam pulled down on the cord - the front "flap" of the tree opened up to show an illustration of a bird in a nest.

The stage set was never the same the three nights I saw them, adapting to the venue I guess. Perhaps they don't always remember to pull the birdie Wink
Overall, the HoB is an odd choice for the boys. I've said on another topic that I'd have preferred the Vic or the Riv. But, the one thing HoB does have going for it (security and dumb coat check and tiny floor aside) is fantastic acoustics. Honestly, I don't think it can be beat for sound in chicago. If the label didn't just go for the HoB because they knew it would sell out fast, I'm hoping it's because they knew the acoustics would make the boys sound even better than they already do.

Heading back for round 2 tonight, but do you reckon it'll be another 1am-er like last night? Just wondering so I know to set the 2nd alarm clock to get me up tomorrow morning ; )
A note to tech buffs: don't count on your iPhone for good concert photos. From the fourth row of standees, right side of the stage, this is the best I could do (and this is after some editing in Photoshop):



And here's Liam:



I still can't quite get my head organized enough to write a decent review. I'll say, though, that even though I spent much of the evening being jostled by my loud, drunken neighbor, I didn't think the crowd was that bad (of course, it's easier for me to say that as I didn't get punched). I expected a lot more people to try to shove their way in front of me. Anyway, here's hoping for another great show tonight--I look forward to reading the reports.
quote:
I'll say, though, that even though I spent much of the evening being jostled by my loud, drunken neighbor, I didn't think the crowd was that bad (of course, it's easier for me to say that as I didn't get punched).


Did somebody get punched? It almost happened to someone standing next to me and the girl behind her, but we managed to "all get along". I have to say, last night's crowd was more obnoxious than most of the Finn shows I have been to, but I guess that is to be expected. Plus, from the 7:30 opening of the doors to when the boys finally came on was a loooooooooong time to get sloshed.

I'm still just giddy over the experience...my first CH show ever, and I can't really put into words how I feel about it. They didn't disappoint that's for sure.

One thing I noticed...Mark's equipment malfunction aside, I just think that Liam was contributing FAR more to the overall sound of the band than Mark was. Am I wrong?
[/QUOTE]Hey caryn - I questioned it after I saw them in Montreal last week. Mystery solved the next night when Liam pulled down on the cord - the front "flap" of the tree opened up to show an illustration of a bird in a nest.

The stage set was never the same the three nights I saw them, adapting to the venue I guess. Perhaps they don't always remember to pull the birdie Wink[/QUOTE]

Funny you should say that. I saw them in both Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids, and Liam didn't pull on the cord until the 2nd encore...which is also when Neil introduced the band Smiler
Neil said the throat coat was 3 parts honey and never got around to telling us the rest of the recipe other than that it wasn't whiskey. He went off on a tanget about some recent late nights (Nick said they hit the mojito's hard) and they were flying airplanes off the balcony in the hotel's atrium in Milwaukee (or was it Grand Rapids?)...sounded like fun! Anyone take them up on their offer to come and play???
Crowded House is in great form!

Seriously, holy crap. I can't imagine a more perfect weekend. 2 absolutely fantastic shows, I got Matt Sherrod, Mark Hart, Nick Seymour, and Liam Finn to sign my Crowded House shirt that was already signed by Neil, and I got my picture with The Man himself.

Both openers were really good. Liam is just incredible. He sounds an awful lot like his old man and you can tell he's grown up listening to his dad's music based on some of his guitar riffs (I swore he was going to play Black and White Boy, the way one song started up).

He only played 4 or 5 songs, but they were awesome. He put on kind of a one man band show. He's got effects pedals to loop his vocals and his guitar, so he looped both of them and then rocked out on the drum kit. He's also great on the keyboard. That kid's got a TON of talent.

"I don't know what to do/And by yourside I will lie awake/Tell me that love isn't true/Is this just a trick to procreate"...how many 17 year olds write a line like that? He's got a big, big future ahead of him. I heard so many great songs this weekend and it's actually two of Liam's that are stuck in my head right now. I can't stop humming "Everyone gather to the chapel, to the chapel"

I thought 16 Frames was really good as well. The lead singer's voice kind of reminds me of the guy from Train, but their sound isn't really like that band. He was a really nice guy, even if he was totally going for the "rock star" act on stage. They were giving out 2-song promo cds after their set and the lead singer signed em for everyone and took the time to personalize each of them and shake the guys' hands and hug the girls and thank them for coming out. I managed to nab one and I'll buy their cd when it comes out for sure.

But the real joy was hearing my favorite band of all time play live for the first time when I've been a fan for 11 years.

Milwaukee: They came out and opened with Recurring Dream. Right then I knew that it was going to be an amazing weekend. They played nearly everything I wanted to hear on Friday night: World Where You Live, Pour Le Monde, Distant Sun, There Goes God (!)...in addition to the classics like Don't Dream It's Over, Better Be Home Soon, Weather With You and Four Season in One Day. Neil even dropped in Spellbound by Split Enz. The only songs missing were Hole in the River and Fall at Your Feet. For Four Seasons, Neil had them turn off the PA system and he came out to the front of the stage (basically into the crowd) and asked everyone in the audience to sing along softly. Picture 1,000 voices singing that song with Neil strumming along on an unplugged acoustic guitar and I'm sure you all can imagine how amazing that moment was.

It was obvious how excited Neil is to be back in that band and the chemistry is still there. Nick made some comment that Neil quipped sounded like it should be the title of a Meat Loaf song. Matt Sherrod immediately started drumming a Meat Loaf sounding beat and Mark and Nick joined in on their guitars. Nick then launched into a song in the Meat Loaf style. Neil then sang a verse as well.

As great as the show in Milwaukee was though, the Chicago show was even better. They were recording it for a radio broadcast, so I'm going to have to keep my eye out for when it's going to be on. I said that the night before they played everything that I wanted to hear save for a couple songs...Well last night they played all the songs I wanted from the previous night + the ones that were missing. We got Hole in the River (Including the friggin' Parting Glass at the end!!), we got Fall At Your Feet, Mean to Me, Not The Girl You Think You Are, and they even played Throw Your Arms Around Me which made the night absolutely perfect. And God those sing-a-longs...so wonderful.

It's amazing how well some of those songs work live. Don't Stop Now is an absolute rocker, Locked Out killed on both nights, and even When You Come (which is a song that I don't really like that much) is amazing when they play it live.

Incredible is the only word to describe it. I still say that Pour Le Monde is all the proof anyone needs to prove that Neil Finn is the best singer/songwriter in the world. That song is the standout track on the new cd, and in my eyes it's right up there with anything they've ever recorded.

I'm jealous of anyone who has shows to go to on this tour still....they left me absolutely speechless.

It was awesome meeting fellow Frenz posters Owen and Mike this weekend...I had a blast and Owen had the idea of the weekend by suggesting we stand by the sound table for the show in Chicago. I had heard that the sound at the HOB was iffy sometimes, but I thought it was pretty darn good myself.

(And this was mentioned in the Milwaukee thread, but Owen and I were each amongst those driving aimlessly around Milwaukee trying to find a highway entrance ramp that wasn't closed...I'm sure it's a lovely city, but I've not once had a good experience driving there...the venue was fantastic though)
-Tim
Yes, it was a long gold rope with a tassel on the end hanging from the prop tree. Pongracic said at another concert they pulled the rope and a flap came down, revealing a bird's nest. We thought it to be a very odd sort of tribute ... certainly a lone drum or something along those lines would have been more fitting, but as it turns out it was a stage prop that they didn't use during our show.
quote:
Originally posted by caryn:
Yes, it was a long gold rope with a tassel on the end hanging from the prop tree. Pongracic said at another concert they pulled the rope and a flap came down, revealing a bird's nest. We thought it to be a very odd sort of tribute ... certainly a lone drum or something along those lines would have been more fitting, but as it turns out it was a stage prop that they didn't use during our show.


Thanks for that....it's a very weird type of connection to Paul if that's what's intended,rather creepy.
HOB is one of the worst venues in Chicago. One issue is that the main floor is either the main floor, or one step up. The step up is only a few people deep on the sides, but very deep at the back - which has sightlines blocked by cameras, the soundboard, and lighting control. At least at other venues (many of which used to be movie theaters) there are several levels to the main floor, so you have a better chance at actually SEEING the band on stage (especially if you're of average or below average height). And what were they thinking with 7:30 doors and a start time 9 with two opening acts? Sheesh. I didn't get there til a quarter after 8 and my feet were aching by the time the Crowdies took the stage. I can't imagine having been there for an hour before the doors opened. Forget Dr. Livingston - call Dr. Scholls!

That said, Crowded House were stellar. There seems to be great joy emanating from the stage. The vocals sounded really tight and musically, Matt really gels with them. If I had one minor quibble it would be that I would've rather heard "She Called Up" live than "Say That Again." The latter I did like better live than on the record, but it still doesn't do much for me. I got to hear "Fall At Your Feet" and "Distant Sun" - two of the best songs ever written by anyone, so I'm not really complaining!

I didn't care for 16 Frames at all. Way too derivative and just... blah. Musically, it was right out of the early U2 playbook (I expected The Edge to come out and demand his guitar sound back) and vocally it was like Remy Zero lite. The singer's whole performance was one big affectation, like he was auditioning his "arena rock" moves.

I liked Liam's set more, but I think he overuses the looping pedal - making every song end up sounding too similar. Start with guitar, overdub the "bass", play some freak out fuzz guitar, cut it all out for a different section, kick it back in, layer some more stuff, cut it out again, then kick it back in and add some more, then pound on the drums, end song, repeat process for next song. He's got the voice, and his songs seem interesting, but they all became kind of a blur. Most of what I remember from his set are the moments of clarity where it was just his voice and guitar without anything else to cover it up.
Can't really add much to what's already been written aside from all those camers better result in a DVD at some stage, not that our vantage point was bad. Sat/stood by Jim on the desk both nights (Milwaukee/Chicago 1) so had sneak previews of the sets, but interesting to see the deviations.
Cheers again to Tim/Mark/Sandee/Laura/Jeff/N&N for the company and meetups! :-)
quote:
Originally posted by ascha:
Thanks Packer487/Tim and others for the great reviews. I cant wait till I see them in Europe.
By the way I believe Liam is 24 and Elroy is 17.


Ahhh right you are. Not sure how I stuffed that one up. Where the hell has the time gone?

Sounds like it was another great show on Sunday night. I love how much they're switching up the setlists. By my count there were 8 songs played that I didn't see at either Milwaukee or the first Chicago show. That's really nice.

I'm jealous about the whole Nails in Your Feet/Sister Madly/How Will You Go/A Day in the Life thing, but I also wouldn't trade the setlist from Saturday night for anything in the world.
quote:
Originally posted by raptorjen:
Neil said the throat coat was 3 parts honey and never got around to telling us the rest of the recipe other than that it wasn't whiskey.
The throat coat Tim had in his thermos on his tour earlier this year was tea... or so he said, and I tend to believe every word Tim speaks Big Grin.
quote:
Originally posted by TamsinB:
I had to do the unthinkable and leave at the beginning of WWY because I had to take the train home.

TamsinB I feel sooooooo sorry for you. I know exactly how you feel right now, because the same happened to me back in november 1993, due to unexpected bad weather conditions. I can feel your frustrations through my computer.
I'm not a fan of this review, but here it is...

http://metromix.chicagotribune.com/reviews/critics/mmx-...oll=mmx-critics_heds

Crowded House: No room for sparks
By Joshua Klein
Special to the Tribune
Crowded House hit it big in the mid-'80s, and for too many people that's where the trail goes cold. Yet from his pre-Crowded House days in Split Enz through his solo career and collaborations and now back to Crowded House, reunited after a 10-year break, Neil Finn has proven himself again and again as one of pop's most consistent talents. It's not the vision but the melody that matters most, and when it comes to melody, few songwriters are on Finn's level.

Yet melody alone wasn't enough to salvage Saturday's Crowded House show at the House of Blues, the first of two sold-out nights. Song for song, the set list was the stuff of envy. Ballads don't get any better than "Fall at Your Feet," "Pour Le Monde," "Four Seasons in One Day," "Not the Girl You Think You Are" and the unimpeachable "Don't Dream It's Over." Bygone Crowded House live staples "Hole in the River," "Recurring Dream" and "Throw Your Arms Around Me" satisfied the more fervent among the crowd. But something was off.

The band started stiff, and almost every time it seemed on the verge of surmounting whatever was dragging them down, it stopped just short. Was it Finn's voice? He sipped tea throughout. Was it the obtrusive camera crew, which necessitated brighter than usual lights and perhaps pressured the band to err on the side of caution? Perhaps. Or maybe it was just Neil's son Liam, a promising singer/writer in his own right, whose all-too-brief one-man-band opener set the bar high in terms of energy and spontaneity.
The younger Finn frequently joined the band on vocals and guitar, and new drummer Matt Sherrod seemed increasingly one of the gang rather than a hired hand. Still, where were the sparks -- the banter, the covers -- that have made past Crowded House shows the stuff of pop legend? More important, where was the fun?

This night, the band's stage prowess was regrettably subdued.

----------

ctc-tempo@tribune.com
quote:
Originally posted by owen:
Can't really add much to what's already been written aside from all those camers better result in a DVD at some stage, not that our vantage point was bad. Sat/stood by Jim on the desk both nights (Milwaukee/Chicago 1) so had sneak previews of the sets, but interesting to see the deviations.
Cheers again to Tim/Mark/Sandee/Laura/Jeff/N&N for the company and meetups! :-)


Wah! I missed seeing all of you guys! But, I made new friends (some of whom were not even frenz!) so I am happy! And who wouldn't be after such a tremdous experience? Was that Mark and Laura as in Marck and Laura? Was looking for you guys...
quote:
TamsinB I feel sooooooo sorry for you. I know exactly how you feel right now, because the same happened to me back in november 1993, due to unexpected bad weather conditions. I can feel your frustrations through my computer.


Thanks a lot lamb, I'm in more positive spirits now but I was in a very ugly mood for a day or so after my premature exit. My husband tried to convince me to buy a ticket for the Sunday show (they were being sold on craigslist), but I knew we couldn't really afford it...so I was very sad. I just hope I'll get another chance to see an entire show in the near future.

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