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Just found this out via a tweet this morning from a guy called Jason Knox.  Looks like this may currently be only available on the US iTunes store.

"Over the past five years I’ve worked on an exciting creative project / jigsaw puzzle for ⁦‪@NeilFinn⁩. Thank you, Neil, for the opportunity and for being supportive throughout the process. So many great songwriters / artists on that stage.… <  "

7 Worlds Collide: A fan edits his hero using Final Cut Pro X

Neil Finn is my favorite songwriter, and his 1980s band Crowded House is my favorite band of all time. (And their first album is my favorite album. And that album features my favorite song. You get the idea.) So it’s a pleasure to relay the story about how Finn’s 2009 “7 Worlds Collide - Live at the Powerstation” concert video managed to show up on iTunes (and, soon, on other video outlets) this month.

It turns out that Jason Knox, a musician and video editor, is similarly a Neil Finn fan (as well as a Six Colors reader). Way back in 2013, Knox discovered that Finn was sitting on video footage from 7 Worlds Collide 

, an all-star concert in Auckland, New Zealand from 2009 featuring Finn and his sons; Johnny Marr of The Smiths; Ed O’Brien and Phil Selway of Radiohead; Jeff Tweedy, Pat Sansone and John Stirratt of Wilco; K.T. Tunstall; and a bunch of others. A studio album of songs was released in 2009, but the live concert remained unreleased. According to Finn, he had simply gotten too busy to find someone to edit all the footage into a coherent whole.

Knox figured he’d take a shot in the dark and offer to edit the concert together himself in Final Cut Pro X, and sent Finn a DM. After sending Finn some links to music videos he’d edited for a friend’s band, Finn must’ve figured Knox was worth a try—they got him the footage and he and Finn collaborated on the project via Dropbox.

“What kind of blows my mind about this whole thing is that we now live in a world where a fan can reach out directly to one of their musical heroes on social media, edit a two-an-a-half hour concert film on a home computer, collaborate via email and file sharing services from half way around the world, and then have the final film distributed via streaming to anyone,” Knox told me. “Neil deserves a lot of credit for his willingness to take a chance on me and send terabytes of footage from New Zealand to a stranger in Chicago.”

Knox’s professional work is largely focused on sound design, so there was a bit of a learning curve with the large, multi-camera project. “I learned a lot more about Final Cut Pro X while working on the concert video… I think it’s a great example of how FCPX has really put power into the hands of ordinary people who just want to accomplish a creative goal,” he said. “I think that Apple’s done an amazing job with FCPX-it’s designed so well that it allowed me to keep stumbling forward into a project like this, and I’m really grateful for that.”

Knox says he feels grateful that Finn was willing to take a chance on a fan, and that he feels lucky that he was able to do something “to say thank you for all the great music throughout the years.”

Since he began working on the project more than four years ago, Knox has had a chance to meet Finn a few times when his tours passed through Knox’s town. “It’s nice to know that the old adage ‘Don’t meet your heroes’ doesn’t always apply,” Knox said. “The entire project has been a pleasure from the start.”

The final concert—nearly two hours and 40 minutes long, featuring 32 songs from the Crowded House, Radiohead, Smiths, and Wilco songbooks as well as some originals and some covers of other artists (I’ll never get tired of “Throw Your Arms Around Me” by Hunters and Collectors), is now available on iTunes, with other services forthcoming. And all thanks to one brave fan who offered to help make the project happen.




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I took the leap and bought this.  I haven't watched the whole thing, but I'm having mixed feelings.  First of all, I think it's fantastic that Neil took a chance on having this fan edit the concert together, and I'd certainly rather have this version than none at all.  That said, while it doesn't seem obviously amateur or anything, it does lack a certain professionalism.  I can't put my finger on it and I'm not super experienced with editing myself, but I found myself *aware* of the editing, which I know is not ideal.  Ideally you get lost in it and don't notice how things are cutting between this camera and that, but I never quite lost that awareness. I don't mean to damn the effort with vague disappointment but anyway, I felt like I could tell this wasn't done by a true professional filmmaker.  Even so, it's still watchable and enjoyable.  Maybe this is my own weird perspective and others will find it great, I don't know.  If anyone else watches this, please let us know what you think.

Last edited by slowpogo

I jumped on it as soon as I saw Neil retweet something yesterday.

I havent been this excited about a concert video in a very long time; It reminds me of what happened with Farewell To the World, it took a good 10 years to get a proper release.

The concert is simply amazing!!! The performances are just unbelievable to watch. The quality of audio/video is top notch and the editing is pure genius. Really makes you fee like you’re there in the audience at the show.

Is it polished, coreographed, hyper-rehearsed? No, but neither were those shows. Thats the magic.

This isnt Fleetwood Mac performing a scripted setlist with 9 musicians and teleprompters on stage. This is raw artistic magic unraveling over the course of 3 nights.

Oh ane did I mention its almost 3 hours long? (Amazing!!!)

I give this 5/5 stars.

Do yourself a favor and by it now, watch it over and over again.

Tell your friends, help spread the word...

What a totally unexpected 10 years ago blast from the past this is! Just watched it all and as familiar as I've been with what transpired at the shows , it was a lovely surprise to see the cover of Thunderclap Newman's "Something In The Air" at the end!
Coincidentally - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers covered the same song on their greatest hits compilation in the 90's as the only new track along with "Mary Jane's Last Dance" which went on to be an International hit.
Fast forward to today and Neil and Mike Campbell are bandmates!
Well done and much thanks to the fan who orchestrated this footage belatedly seeing the light of day!

It’s streaming on Amazon now.  I’m an hour into it and I love it.  This is the Neil I know and love, playing with a bunch of sympatico musicians who aren’t divas.  Not sure why the edits bother you slowpogo - it’s just cutting back and forth between different nights and doing a pretty seamless job if you ask me.


brownie posted:

It’s streaming on Amazon now.  I’m an hour into it and I love it.  This is the Neil I know and love, playing with a bunch of sympatico musicians who aren’t divas.  Not sure why the edits bother you slowpogo - it’s just cutting back and forth between different nights and doing a pretty seamless job if you ask me.


I’m glad it doesn’t bother you. I’m just saying, it shows that this person is a first-time editor. I know someone who’s a professional editor, and like any art form it takes many years to’s incredibly unlikely this person, who says his real training is in sound, *wouldn’t* be a little iffy. Also, there’s always a flurry of ultra-positive reviews whenever Neil puts something out so I take you guys with a grain of salt 😉. Maybe y’all just have your rose-colored-Finn glasses on. Like I said, it’s watchable, but a bit off to me.

Last edited by slowpogo
In Love With It All posted:

Does anyone have a tracklisting for this?  Can't see it listed in the iTunes store.

Distant Sun
Down On The Corner
Long Time Gone
Hazel Black
A Change Of Heart
Gather To The Chapel
Second Chance
In The Land Of Fairies
At Least That's What You Said
Too Blue
Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want
Throw Your Arms Around Me
What Light
Jesus, Etc.
You Never Know
The Late Greats
California Stars
I'm A Wheel
The Ties That Bind Us
Learn To Crawl
Four Seasons In One Day
Black Silk Ribbon
I Got You
She Will Have Her Way
Weather With You
Fake Plastic Trees
There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
Don't Dream It's Over
Something In The Air

Steve Shealy posted:

Thank you, Ligature! Some real gems there I wouldn't have expected! California Stars, Fake Plastic Trees, plus several I'm not familiar with. Would have liked to see Elroy get to do his Cobbler.

I was wavering a bit, probably going to have to go ahead and get it now. Great price for nearly three hours of entertainment.

Take the plunge Steve, it's a very cool part of Neil's career that probably didn't get full exposure at the time. Obviously there's been the album and documentary movie to delve into since but there's quite a lot going on in the set list here that wasn't represented on the album or in the documentary movie - It's been the preserve of fans who saw the shows at the Powerstation a decade ago until this week. Examples: Neil singing Radiohead's "Bodysnatchers", the Thunderclap Newman cover, several Wilco songs, Johnny Marr singing "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want", an additional Lisa Germano song...

It's true - there's no "All Comedians Suffer" or "The Cobbler" or Don McGlashan's "Girl Make Your Own Mind Up" and Tim Finn's contribution is unrepresented too (but I'm I'm sure that's because Tim didn't perform at any of the concerts).

It reminds me that there were select 7 Worlds Collide performances beyond New Zealand too - a night at Dingwalds in London featuring Wilco members, and one at Largo in Los Angeles with KT Tunstall, Bic Runga, Lisa Germano and Elroy where he did perform "The Cobbler", and a show in Santa Barbara after the documentary premiered at the film festival there which included Lisa Germano and Sebastian Steinberg where "All Comedians Suffer" and Sebastian's song "The Water" were performed.

It's been great to look back on the Powerstation shows, but also knowing that 7 Worlds Collide could be revisited at any time in the future! - Just imagine which musician friends Neil could collect for a third run!

Thanks @Underthewheel, that was my mistake.

Great review @The Ligature! Were those additional shows in the UK and the US billed as actual 7 Worlds Collide shows, or were they just Neil Finn solo shows where a couple of special guests made an appearance?

I did up a spreadsheet featuring the songwriters and lead vocalists of each song if anyone's interested. Also included are each song's origin and some of my thoughts on the performance and project. You can find it here.

Secret God (Stew) posted:

Great review @The Ligature! Were those additional shows in the UK and the US billed as actual 7 Worlds Collide shows, or were they just Neil Finn solo shows where a couple of special guests made an appearance?


The show in Los Angeles was billed as "7 Worlds Collide at Largo", whereas shows there on the following two nights were billed as Neil Finn shows.
I believe the show at Dingwalls in London which took place a week earlier was also billed as a 7 Worlds Collide show.
The Santa Barbara performance was a case of Neil taking the opportunity to play a show with some friends at a nearby venue after The Sun Came Out documentary movie premiered at the Santa Barbara film festival, so that was a Neil Finn show with Sebastian and Lisa being the two 7 Worlds Collide participants available.

Last edited by The Ligature

I was there on all three nights and I reckon it's most likely 'I'll be lightning' wasn't included because on Night Three (from whence most of the performance footage is gleaned) Neil was singing along with Liam and made a mistake in the song. He alludes to it in a couple of comments that made it to the final cut we are all now currently enjoying... the first mention is around the time of 'Throw Your Arms'... At the time I recall he was really down on himself for stuffing it up and apologised profusely to Liam. Jason was supplied a beautiful mix of all three nights that Neil had put together with Jordan Stone based on the best performances. That then had to be paired with the best footage available from all three nights and the third night seemed to have the most complete footage. That in itself is a massive reverse engineering brief and I reckon Jason did an amazing job. Granted, it ain't Speilberg, but it was done gratis, with a massive injection of goodwill and human kindness at the heart of it and it's way and above what my heart could ever have really hoped for. I couldn't be more thrilled and appreciative. On ya Jason! You've certainly rocked my world!

Secret God (Stew) posted:

If anyone's interested, the played songs that missed the cut were White Valiant and Long Time Gone (both Don McGlashan), Suddenly I See (KT Tunstall), I'll Be Lightning (Liam Finn) and three Wilco songs (War on War, Outtasite (Outta Mind) and Hoodoo Voodoo).

32 out of 39 ain't bad I guess.

It’s a shame Suddenly I See didn’t make it. I was there all 3 nights and it was a highlight for me.

This release was a real surprise. I was so disappointed that there wasn’t a concert movie alongside the documentary but this makes up for it.

For me, it does really capture the essence of the gigs. I had one of the camera guys next to me (up the front under Johnny) so some shots are really like reliving it over again. I am incredibly happy that this has seen the light of day... 

Hey all - I'm glad you're enjoying the concert film. I volunteered to edit the film as a thank you gesture toward Neil and the other artists, and also because it seemed like something that fans would want to experience - so I appreciate all the warm comments (and even the constructive criticism - I can take it).

I'll share a few details, since this seems to be a collection of folks that might be interested in reading about that kind of stuff.

This all started in 2013 when I was reading a Q&A with Neil on Twitter and somebody asked about a concert film for the 2009 shows. I wasn't even aware of the shows, but Neil mentioned that there was footage but no time / resources to edit it into a proper film.

As the article mentions, I'd been playing around with Final Cut Pro for a few years and editing some music videos for some friends. I figured "What do I have to lose?" So I sent Neil this message over Twitter DM:

"Saw the Q&A. Are you seriously looking for someone to edit the 2009 '7 Worlds Collide" videos? I'd be happy to help. Best to you."

It's not the first time I'd taken a real long shot like that (I once offered to record XTC in mid 90s when they were on hiatus - crazy kid). I honestly didn't expect to hear back from him, but he replied within a few hours and I sat there a bit stunned... though more excited by the idea that it could actually happen. I sent him some music videos to check out my editing work, and we began the slow process of getting the footage from New Zealand to Chicago, where I was living at the time.

Simon Mark Brown, who's shot the footage and directed the Sun Came Out documentary, located the footage and sent it my way. He warned me that it would be a messy process, but I said I was willing to take it on. Perhaps it was a bit foolhardy, but I had faith in my basic musical and timing instincts and I figured that I would just figure out the technical details along the way. On April 1, 2014 I picked up three hard drives full of footage, but didn't really dive into the editing proper until a few months later. I had to upgrade my home computer setup - and adding a powerful external drive was a key component.

Here are of couple of principles that I settled into regarding the aesthetics of the video:

The footage was raw but honest: no sweeping crane shots, no fancy steadicam moves, some blur here and there. There were usually three or four angles to choose from, but sometimes fewer and sometimes one night would only have partial footage on a given song. Some of that was a challenge, but I also felt that there was a beauty to the footage that paralleled the concert itself - the performances felt full of spontaneity as did the framing and movement of many of the cameras. I decided to follow that lead and keep the editing similarly honest.

What that meant was I tried hard to always use shots that were captured in the same moment as the music (even if it was from a different night). If a band member was shown doing something, I wanted it to be accurate to that point in the song and not just a collection of cool shots assembled like a music video.

I also avoided any effects or filters during the concert itself. There were some fun in-camera effects that were part of the footage (you can see an example of this near the end of the guitar solo in Distant Sun, or during Bodysnatchers, if I'm recalling correctly), but other than that I didn't want to add any polishing that would make the concert feel less real.

I felt like the relationships between the musicians was a key component of the concert, so instead of cutting from song to song quickly I left in a lot of the friendly banter and some of the stage shuffling between songs. A small example of this is when Jeff starts to jog off the stage after a song, but then looks down at the set list and turns back around. It's a silly moment that goes by quickly, but those are the sort of moments that were captured in the footage that helped make me feel like I was at the concert, so I chose to leave a lot of that in. I also looked for moments when the musicians were interacting on stage with glances or smiles or other quirky bits that you sometimes don't get to see, like motioning to the monitor engineer. I like that kind of stuff. It feels real.

Managing the footage from multiple nights was a challenge due to the changing clothes, hair, stage layout, and even personnel in some songs. Eventually, we just decided to lean into that and present the video as a collage of the three nights. I tried to set up this expectation early by showing an image of Neil changing guitars while he was talking in the background. My hope was to set the viewer up to accept a bit of surreality. Some songs ended up more surreal than others, but that was usually a matter of how much footage was available from the night the audio was from. I was originally worried about the changing clothes, personnel, etc - but I eventually came around to liking the collage approach and then I leaned into that a bit to make sure that it didn't just occur once or twice on one or two songs (even though there are some songs, like Distant Sun, where the footage is all from the same night as the audio mix).

And speaking of audio, Jordan Stone did a fantastic job on the mixes. I was working with the original in-camera audio for the first couple of years, and the whole video really came to life once I was able to swap in his new mixes. Kudos to him.

Anyway, hopefully some of you might find the thought process behind some the choices interesting. As you can imagine, it was an amazing experience to go from that original Twitter message to seeing the film released last week. Everybody on Neil's team that I bumped into along the way was really supportive and positive - and getting the occasional email from Neil (and then meeting with him before a couple of shows) was a thrill. He was just as gracious as I'd always imagined him to be from interviews over the years. It's been an absolute honor to be a part of the 7 Worlds Collide experience.

Thanks for the additional insights - I bet Neil is just as pleased as his fan base that this branch of his career tree is finally out there for all to see.
I get a kick out of the fact that a twitter message is the origin of it all and that the work was done on your home computer set up on the opposite side of the globe - the wonders of technology!
Have you received feedback from any of the 7 Worlds Collide musicicans? Were the aware they had a concert release imminent?

No direct feedback from other 7 Worlds Collide musicians, but that's fine. Neil had relayed that others appreciated it. I'm completely happy with how the whole experience turned out.

Not sure if the other participants were aware that the release was imminent - I'm guessing they're all cool with it being released but I think everybody involved now has other work that they're focused on.


You did a wonderful job capturing the spirit of this event. In addition to the "relationship moment" you mention above, in which Jeff Tweedy does a double-take and returns to the stage, I also appreciated the brief glimpse of (I think) Don McGlashan and KT Tunstall dancing stage left;  Bic Runga casually sitting on the riser for her background vocals; and Johnny Marr tapping McGlashan on the shoulder to get to the microphone for his harmonica solo. You and Simon Mark Brown captured something very authentic.

Thank you! 

Thanks, Jabberz.

Ha - I guess Jeff looking at the floor isn't exactly much of a relationship moment (probably not the best example I could have given), but you get the idea. There was a lot of warmth on stage and in the whole room, and Simon and his crew did a great job of capturing those moments. When it first became clear that this concert video project might actually happen, one of the first things I did was track down a copy of the Sun Came Out documentary that Simon directed. I loved every minute of it, and hopefully the concert video is now a nice companion piece to that great film that he put together.

That sounds old-fashioned... :-(. It’s a concert movie, so who needs subtitles? We saw the Finn family in Amsterdam a couple of weeks ago without subtitles ;-). 

I’d be really annoyed if the sole reason to not release this officially in my country would be the  assumption that we won’t be able to understand what it is without translation. 

I agree that it seems a bit silly to have to worry about subtitles for a concert film, but the language / translation requirements are indeed the reason that the film has only been released digitally in English language territories at this point. The distribution company requires individual translation assets for every country, and though there's been some discussion about it I don't know if there are any plans to create the necessary assets for additional countries. Again, my hope is that eventually the film will be made available worldwide via some mechanism (whether that's with the translations on those platforms, or perhaps directly from Neil's website).

Thanks for all the answers Jaffaman and Jason!

I'm a bit confused though, because there are a lot of concert films on iTunes in the Netherlands that do not have any Dutch subtitles, descriptions etc. For example concert films by Marillion, U2, Kings of Leon, The Killers etc. 

I can imagine translation requirements apply to documentaries and movies etc. (although even then it seems to me that these days people can decide for themselves about wanting to buy/stream content in another language). But apparently there are exceptions (at least on iTunes) for music movies. 

It would be rather ironic, if this project ("7 Worlds collide") would run into language barriers.... 

Either way: I understand that these are decisions made on many levels but I really, really hope that this film will be able to find its way to us sooner than later. I really love the first 7 worlds collide DVD and have always been eager to see the 'follow up' concert. 


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