That Rhett is one fine looking boy! He came on stage and straight into song, shaking his head around in a way that reminded me of Animal from The Muppetts. After a couple of songs the audience warmed up to him - he made a few cracks and with a charming smile and an up-beat set he won a few hearts tonight. Singing about his love for a four-eyed girl an audience member got up and started dancing around in front of him waving her glasses in the air - he half laughed his next line and the audience laughed along. We all cheered her bravery after the song ended and Rhett shook her hand. Rhett benefitted from a Neil Finn audience who were receptive to a new face with some good tunes. I'd recommend seeing Rhett again. But now to the important bit - Mr Neil Finn!
And on came Neil. Once again I was reminded of why I love this guy so goddamn much. He took us on a stroll through his various hits and tracks over the years. We were entertained with new tracks from his latest CD. He played Sinner wonderfully well, dedicated to Lisa Germano who couldn't be there. He did a Split Enz number - I Got You and later in the evening History Never Repeats. No tracks from Woodface were evident which was unusual - it wasn't until the final encore that he sang Fall At Your Feet - getting the audience to sing to him the chorus. We were treated to She Will Have Her Way and Loose Tongue. A fantastic Not The Girl You Think You Are. Pineapple Head with the double bass player providing an excellent solo. Another sing a long with Something So Strong and a rocking Locked Out. He dedicated Love This Life to Tim who is having a baby (well his wife is).
Several funny moments during the evening. Neil stopped a song for us to listen to his amp that was picking up a local radio station - this started a jamming session with the other musicians to play along with the radio noise. At a quiet point in the evening a fan requested Hole In The River - and immediately Neil started to sing it - just him and his guitar - fantastic. The middle part of the song has a piano piece, so Neil nochalantly strolled around to the synth, still playing his guitar, sat down and then at the appropriate point started to play the piano part - truly a one man band!
Another highlight - he dedicated a song to Johnny and then launched into There Is a Light That Never Goes Out. I think Neil Finn is one of the few artists who can truly get away with playing this song without ruining the memory of The Smiths doing it.
During one of his encores a fan requested Nails In My Feet - the fan had brought him requests on chocolate, so Neil felt obliged. He joked with another fan who'd only written them on paper that if they wanted their song sung they would have to bring chocolate next time. Neil admitted that he didn't think he could pull off Nails In My Feet and said he had to quickly run through it and told us to sing whilst he did it. He started us off on Better Be Home Soon and the audience carried on singing whilst he worked out the start of the song. I think he was impressed with the whole theatre singing to him without needing much prompting. He began Nails In My Feet - he tried but he forgot most of the words but it was a valiant effort when he hadn't performed it in such a long time.
He told us the story of how when Crowded House first started they had a fourth member called Craig. One night Neil, Nick and Paul went off to the pub, leaving Craig to practise. When they returned the door was locked and Craig was busy making too much noise to hear them. They knew that their amps picked up the local taxi cabs as they drove past, so they hailed one and got him to say - CRAIG, CALLING CRAIG - LET US IN! And it worked. He made a crack about New York cab drivers and how they'd just drive off into the distance.
I had more than my moneys worth tonight and I'm going again tomorrow - and I know it'll be different. This guy knows exactly how to play to the audience and get them enjoying themselves. He is an incredible performer and singer-songwriter - with the added bonus of Rhett Miller. If ever an artist came with Quality Guaranteed stamped on them - its one Mr Neil Finn.
I apologise for not getting all the set-list or in order but I do the best my swiss-cheese brain can cope with!