Have you ever thought or imagined what would make the perfect concert for you? Which act would you see, and how would the evening go? What memorable things would happen?
I wrote this one evening for a bit of fun - here's my scenario.
The Venue: The Queen Elizabeth Hall, London.
Date: In the future.
The Players: Neil Finn and very special guests.
The scene - I arrive with my best friend at the venue at 7.30 pm. The ushers lead us to our seats...dead centre in front of the mike, four rows back - perfect spot. In the QE Hall too...best sound in the city. The PA system quietly plays a compilation tape featuring REM, Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow, Prefab Sprout, Wilco, Squeeze etc...everyone's excited and in the mood.
Lights dim slowly, curtains back. Crowd whoops and claps. White spotlight picks out a lone figure who walks over to the mike stand with his guitar. He faces the front, smiles and waves...it's Tim Finn! Massive cheer and whistles from the audience. First song up: Persuasion. Then Poor Boy. Now Not Even Close...it's just getting better. Tim switches to piano for I Hope I Never, and invites a girl up from the crowd to duet on 'Charlie'. A storming version of I See Red, everyone swaying along, lights swirling. Angel's Heap. Fraction Too Much Fiction next up. The hits keep coming, new and old. Last song - Haul Away. He thanks everyone and zips off stage to ecstatic cheers.
Thirty minutes later - Neil walks on to a hero's welcome. He picks up his guitar and grins, and without saying a word yet, strums the first few notes and sings "Tell me all the things you would change..." a solo acoustic version of Distant Sun - roof nearly comes off, everyone on their feet, dancing. Next it's Message To My Girl on piano. Then Fingers Of Love...the audience is loving every note. Lights come on, the band walks on to a standing ovation. Gasps. The surprise that no-one expected...Paul Hester's on the drums. Nick on bass. Johnny Marr on guitar, stage left. Eddie Rayner and Lisa Germano sharing the keyboards. Liam Finn on guitar, stage right. Neil is centre stage. The setlist spans 25 years....Into Temptation, I Feel Possessed, Missing Person, World Where You Live, Bold As Brass, Last One Standing, Love This Life, with a few twists (Recurring Dream, Sweet Dreams, In The Lowlands, Lester, Kare Kare) and some great requests from the crowd (She Goes On, Rest Of The Day Off, Give It A Whirl). Richard Thompson is introduced to play and sing on Sister Madly. The show closes with Tim bouncing back on stage to join the fun - just for the sheer hell of it, they swap roles: he sings a song of Neil's (Don't Dream It's Over) and Neil replies with a great rendition of Show A Little Mercy. Last song: Throw Your Arms Around Me, featuring Neil, Tim and Liam.
Then the encores. Neil introduces special guest Paul McCartney (standing ovation) to duet with him on She Goes On and Private Universe - they swop the verses between them. The whole band returns for a quickfire medley of Beatles songs. Mark Hart is introduced, and to loud applause sings Fall At Your Feet. The show comes to an end with I Got You.
The show to end all shows for me...but let's hear yours