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i've met the man twice in san francisco, briefly each time.

he was neither pissy nor pissing himself with joy. he seemed a tad robotic and preoccupied when signing stuff. but then again, i guess you would be if you had stuff shoved in your face all the time to be signed, and you don't really like signing things to begin with.

my boyfriend argues that it goes with the territory. some rockstars choose to keep their public and private personas very separate. neil, on the other hand, has always played the fan interaction card - he talks to people during shows and webcasts. he gets people to respond to him in kind. so he sort of has an "obligation" to be nice.

it's one thing to say, "neil got pissed at me because i waited outside his house for him" and another to say "neil didn't seem to happy after the show, but i asked him to sign something anyway."

i remember during the fillmore gig in sf (july 7) i was standing next to a girl who seemed a bit upset. i asked her about it and she said that she'd met neil just before he went into sound check and handed him a book she'd made for him. his response was not what she'd expected. he sort of dryly took the book from her and thanked her before walking off. however, he did take time out later during the gig to acknowledge her book and the people involved. she was pretty happy with that.

i've had a couple of things signed, and had a photo taken with him. but i think this next time i'll lay low and just hand him a small gift.
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...whew! I don't go up to Neil after shows, though my husband does and I've had alot of Finn-interaction over the years that has been meaningful. Though I gave advise to the person who questioned wanting to meet Neil, I say this: he is a man, he's doing his job, etc...he's tired after shows and I bet a ton of people give him gifts, etc or say things he's heard a million times. When he tours, his life is in disarray (Who among us hasn't traveled for work and been bummed by it???) and he's stressed, I bet!

Neil is sooo personal on stage, involving the audience and all....maybe THAT is a persona and the real "him" isn't as cool or fun, I don't know. I do know he told my husband he doesn't like it when people ask him to sign stuff and he'd rather talk with fans.

I guess even going on a site like this is a bit odd, but I enjoy it and made a rather good friend due to this site, so there.

I will continue to go to shows and hide out when my husband goes to "stalk" Neil...and I'll cherish the Finntastic memories I have of Neil & Tim interactions at concerts and on webcasts!

I can say, though, that I am sure he is a good person, no matter how he acts after shows: he's the parent of 2 good sons, an honest husband, and a good brother, plus he's nice to fans during shows!
I think it must be kind of strange to have people feel like they know you (because you put so much of yourself into the music) and at the same time know nothing about that person. For one thing, you would never really know if you were safe (John Lennon) and also if you are a humble person you would probably not feel very comfortable with all of the praise. Sometimes shyness looks like snobbishness. I want to give Neil the benefit of doubt and think (based on his beautiful lyrics and music) that he is a beautiful person. If I'm wrong it will never matter to me because all I will ask for is the music. At the same time I understand people who feel the need to express their appreciation for that music.
This thread brings to mind the part in the 'Once Removed' book where Neil talks about how difficult it is in the music industry to constantly be polite and friendly to everyone and how he sometimes has surly, uncooperative moments.

I think he does pretty well, actually.
To me he comes across as being real in comparison with a lot of other rocks stars. Sometimes a little bit of arrogance or aloofness creeps in but I'd take that anyday than him being some sort of Cliff Richard 'saintly' character.

It must be difficult to assess yourself in the middle of fame and success and figure out how you should 'act'. Its a no-win thing really...if you're too normal and down-to-earth you get accused of being boring or a fake and if you go the other way you're a arse basically.

From what I've seen Neil seems to be pretty level-headed about it all.
I remember when I first saw Neil on the street after a show it was hard to believe that this was the guy who was just BLOWING MY MIND when he was on stage. He didn't even look like I thought Neil would look.(He was much more worn looking than I expected.) I wish I had known then that he doesn't like to sign autographs because I felt like I could only approach him to say hi if I had something to sign. Anyway, he seemed tired and hurried, BUT I think he does sincerely TRY to be nice to his fans. He's a guy who likes to do the right thing, but he's not naturally enthused about it, IMO.
Two weeks later I met Paul Westerberg (of Replacements fame), who I've idolized my whole life, after a show and not only did he look just like Paul Westerberg, but he had that "you're my new best friend for the next two minutes" thing that fans seem to crave. He would take all the time in the world you wanted and happily pose for pictures, kisses, anything.
So, although it was more fun to meet Paul overall, Neil is more like I think I would be if I were a rock star, so he's still cool with me ;-)
Never have met Neil (or Tim), but everyone that I know that has says that Neil (and Tim) are very nice.
After the Park West show in July, we were trying to get out quick, as both my hubby and I had to work the next day, but as we were leaving they stopped the crowd so that Neil could get to the entrance to the backstage area (it is a weird venue, where backstage is really upstairs). Neil stopped and waved and smiled to everyone (people were thanking him, etc.) and seemd genuinely warmed by the response. On another forum I visit, there was a thread about "the nicest musician(s) you'ver ever met" and I was surprised at the number of people who said Neil or Crowded House.

Also, as mentioned, the interaction with the crowd is so gratifying. And funny...
Originally posted by Liz Taylor:
[qb]Two weeks later I met Paul Westerberg (of Replacements fame), who I've idolized my whole life, after a show and not only did he look just like Paul Westerberg, but he had that "you're my new best friend for the next two minutes" thing that fans seem to crave. He would take all the time in the world you wanted and happily pose for pictures, kisses, anything.
So, although it was more fun to meet Paul overall, Neil is more like I think I would be if I were a rock star, so he's still cool with me ;-)[/qb]
I had the same experience with Paul Westerberg. God, he was the nicest rock star I have ever met (and strangely I've met quite a few here in Seattle from Jonathan Richman to Peter Buck). I was so afraid to meet him because I would be crushed if he was rude. But he was incredibly gracious.
I imagine Neil to be amzingly friendly. But I would be afraid to meet him. He's quite close to a deity in my mind. I think it's the part of my thinking that has decided to remain a teenager.
Liz Taylor, I agree wholeheartedly with your observations about Neil - I was struck as well the first time I saw Neil with how worn he looked. Much different than the rock star image in my head. He looked tired and annoyed and had much more grey hair than I expected. A real guy - who'da thought?!? Wink

Mabelle, I recognized myself in your reflections and thought for a moment you were going to say something scary about my craziness last summer at the SF show! (But then I checked your profile and realized who you are - Hey girl, how is life down under???)

I posted a (somewhat lengthy) reflection of my personal experience of meeting Neil on the "Is is silly to want to meet Neil" thread. I didn't realize much about Neil at the time, and didn't know he doesn't like to sign autographs. From the way I saw some people just demanding things from him, I understand why.

I've had my chance to 'bear my soul' and offer him my thanks for being such a special part of my life. I think now that there are separate places in my heart to hold icons who are also people; one place of holding on to all the gifts I've received and the 'inner rockstar' I project onto such icons, and another place of letting go and being separate from them as folk.
One more thought. I think all the discussion here about Neil being arrogant is interesting because when I met him I wondered how much of my experience of his aloofness (yes, he was friendly and accessible - but quite aloof within it all) was an experience of cultural variation.

Coming from an American culture I've noticed that the few NZers I've met were much more private in general, less sloppy and gratuitously open. So I'm wondering if part of what might seem aloof or closed to me about Neil might just be another way of being. (Obviously we area all ourselves within our cultural heritage; I'm just considering the possibility of how cultural differences might affect our experiences of meeting him.)

What do you all think?
Only having one occasion on which to base my opinion, I thought Neil was patient and very friendly after the Chicago show in 2002. It struck me also how "normal" he looks and that made me, for some strange reason, an even bigger fan.
When it was my turn, he kindly signed my ticket, looked up at me and in that moment of eye contact, my mind went blank. I had so many things I wanted to say - how his music had touched my soul for twenty-two years, that his show was unbelievable, how my two year old knows all the words to "Fall At Your Feet", that his music comforted me and helped me escape from reality for a bit after 9/11. Instead, I stared at him and barely uttered - "TTThanks." Geez, what a dork. But I was over the moon that I had a moment with him, even if I came across as a complete moron.

Anyway, we all seem to forget at times that he's just a guy. A guy that gets tired, cranky, at times dislikes his job more than others, get's into arguments with his spouse, all that daily life stuff.

So, I'm going to give it another shot in Chicago. Maybe I'll get it together and actually be able to say "hello" and he'll be a bad mood and won't respond. It's okay - I'll have just had the time of my life at his show and I'll always have that moment of eye contact from last summer.

See ya in Chicago!
[qb]Mabelle, I recognized myself in your reflections and thought for a moment you were going to say something scary about my craziness last summer at the SF show! (But then I checked your profile and realized who you are - Hey girl, how is life down under???)[/qb]

how are you??
i've been in oz for about two months and it's been absolutely beautiful. sadly, i must return to the states on friday morning. =(
i'm going to miss the home and friends i've made here.


but i do plan to come back.
shortly after the fillmore gig i moved back to LA, so i will be attending the wiltern show of this tour. i wish i had the means to get to the warfield show, but alas. i have no job lined up for when i get back *and* this trip pretty much cleaned me out. but it was WORTH IT!

hey, i cheered you on at that gig! and kudos to neil for acknowledging your hard work and determination. =o)

i plan to give him a mix cd (possibly a 2 cd mix) and walk away. maybe a handshake. no photos, no signing. but then i toyed with the idea of making a mix cd for everyone in the band. *scratches head* i dunno, i'll figure it out.
if your email address is in your profile, i'll send you one soon. hope all is well and take care!!

This is an interesting topic. I guess after 22 years (has it really been that long?) Neil meeting fans etc is one area that I've either been part of ,or observed for several decades now.
I have so many wonderful memories of things that he has done, and most of it fan friendly and stuff he doesn't have to do...a lot that fans have no idea that he initiated.
I remember this gig on one of the last UK tours and it was raining, Neil looking out of the band room window on a 2nd level and says "Pete there are some fans outside in the rain waiting, lets bring them inside." (this is after the show). We grabbed all the band room towels and dried (possibly some of you guys) and Neil signed many wet CD covers and photos. His main concern was getting people in out of the wet.
Or Neil and Nigel turning up out of the blue at a Frenz BBQ and staying for 4 hours chatting, signing, endless photos, Neil at the BBQ, it was such a fun sight. Even when I turned up at Kare Kare when CH were recording Together Alone, with 10,000 Crowdies Xmas cards for them to sign....that was the only time it was a bit too much ...after 3/4 were signed the fun had left the was just too much...still he wasn't all that pissed. Just had no fingers left (:
I think he appreciates people who have some courtesy. Especially after shows, remember its a day travel on a tour bus, away from home, soundcheck and interviews, performance and usually encores, no excuses as its his job BUT it still puts you in a particular headspace. People can act really strange around him- I have been with a group of thirty fans and truely you can hear a pin drop
some people lose the ability of speech. Some talk ten times as much- some people pull out a hundred covers., sign this and this and this..
that can be too much. I think treat him like a person, get one or two items signed and just be yourself. He'll appreciate that and it's far more relaxing for all concerned.
As far as fan stuff, out of all the people I have worked for he has been one of the most supportive around fan areas. I really do admire him for that, and really at the end of the day if he was a prat or egomaniac I really wouldn't be working for him as I'd hate my job.
After all this time I still get a bit odd around him, maybe thats what makes the myth....he has "something"...people relate to that "something" in many ways. All I know is that I dig him and his family- good people I reckon.
He truly and utterly deserves it, Heidi. Smiler

I've lost count of the excellent things he's done for me and my Frenz over the years... including giving us a job on the merchandise table at the Auckland 20th Anniversary shows... (selling t-shirts alongside a pre-pubescent Liam Finn, getting to meet Richard and Mary Finn... ah special memories!) As well as encouraging me to sell an article and pictures of the shows to the Australian music mag "Juke" (even if he didn't pass on the letters of praise from FOTE members who wrote and said how much they liked the article, because, quote: "I thought you knew all those people"...!)

Anyway, back on topic Wink I remember meeting Neil after a CH concert back in Australia in 1990 and being struck by how down-to-earth nice he was. (My friend was just struck dumb - literally! LOL. And Neil was even nice about that... guess it happens to him all the time)
Silke your link doesn't work...

then again I'd have liked to boot Yahoo up the backside a WHOLE lot during the past few days (wouldn't let me into my own email or groups for two and a half days? I mean, sorry, what is WITH that???) ... and as geocities are associated with them, well, I see the problem.... Roll Eyes

We get what we pay for with these mega-sites, and as they are free, well... work it out yourself Big Grin (I don't want to say any rude words here)

Anyway back on topic, Neil happily signed something for me (I only asked him for one autograph) back in 1990, and chatted to me happily for a few minutes. Then again, this was Australia, there were a LOT of fans, and this wasn't a "meet the fans" style thing, which I'm led to believe he's done on his past US tours... this was a fan club concert, and my friend and I had just happened to stray past an alleyway at the back of the Prahran Town Hall (for anyone familiar with that part of Melbourne) at the right time, and to have seen a member of the band or two (can't remember who anymore, it was more than 12 years ago and I was far too excited to think straight!)... [edit] point being, we were all alone whilst doing this... kinda unique maybe, but also major fun Smiler [end edit]

Anyway, Nick offered us a beer, Neil came out and talked to us, answered a few of my questions about the show (I may have even told him I'd grown up listening to his music... I was 18 at the time!) oh yes and Eddie (who'd been on keyboards that night, one of the last times he played with CH I believe) talked to us too. He and I exchanged quips, and he jokingly made fun of my friend who was so overcome she could hardly speak... I think I recognised a fellow cynic, skeptic and jokester in Eddie right there and then (and even before that night, he and Tim were probably my favorite Enzers....)

Incredibly special night. And having met Neil's parents, as well as his eldest son... the man is wonderful, comes from wonderful stock, and has had wonderful kids... Smiler Smiler Smiler
i've met him a couple of times (even sang on stage back in '87) and he was always pretty polite, if not engrossed (which is pretty much how i think i would be). but being a hero of mine, i think i got weirded out around him. c'est la vie.

i found tim to be friendlier which is strange if only cos several people i've spoken to have had different experiences.

creme de la creme though was Eddie. a class act all around and he spoke to me backstage in '84 as if the pimply 16 year old that i was were as important as a rock journalist. good guy extraordinaire.

WARNING: the story that follows i did NOT see with my own eyes.

i once met a guy at a party and through talking, it came up that i liked split enz. he told me that he saw split enz play in northern queensland in their heyday and that after the concert a pretty big group of people was waiting around backstage for them to come out. he said that at some point Neil and Tim came out and told everyone to "f*ck off." he didn't say it with any venom or anything, just as a matter of fact. now that's WAY out of keeping with any of my own experiences or anything i've read here or elsewhere and, like i said, i never saw this with my own eyes so feel free to question it's accuracy. it always stuck in my head though and, like i also said, i don't think this guy had any reason to concoct it but who knows. IF it were true, i think it's no big deal - who knows how fried they were, they're allowed to get pissy every now and then. And PG knows him better than anyone else here and has a positive opinion of him so that's a more indicative character analysis in my opinion.

(i ummed and ahhed about posting this for a couple of days cos (a) i didn't see it with my own eyes and (b) it's such a negative story. i figure that it would at least be interesting to most of you and you can decide how much credence you give it. sorry if i pissed anyone off, i'm not trying to be Albert Goldman.)

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