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Review: Books, Theatre, Movies, Albums & Gigs.

Crowded House

Liverpool Summer Pops, 2008
Echo Arena

Wednesday July 9th

Neil Finn at The Echo Arena, 2008

New Zealand isn’t the best-known country in the world for producing Rock and Pop monoliths, but Crowded House – with their unique brand of homely up-tempo riffs and downright squelchy ballads – certainly fit into the category and not even the pouring rain outside could dampen the spirits of the throng taking their seats inside.

Neil Finn, lead singer, guitarist and overall head-honcho knows how to work a crowd. In fact, at one point it was possible to believe he was going to offer to by them all a beer, such was the rapport he built up with everybody and especially when he admonished security – who in fairness have instructions that for the good of all at somewhere like Glastonbury or, heaven for bid, Anfield, should be adhered to – for letting his people get up and dance. ‘It’s not an issue, guys,’ Finn said. ‘They’re going to behave … aren’t you?’ to which the diminutive Kiwi received a decisive answer in the affirmative.


Starting the show with the fabulous World Where You Live, Finn and the quite excellent band playing behind him had this crowded house in their pockets and set forth on reeling out a further twenty-one songs in a two and a half hour set, with just about all of them being sung along to word-for-word.

Whenever I Fall, Only Natural, a truly memorable Pineapplehead and a quite ridiculously beautiful – and long – Don’t Dream Its Over showed the true magic of their late-eighties / early-to-late nineties appeal.

Yet the highlights were still waiting in the wings as the first encore came around after a gloriously rocky When You Come and Distant Sun had both been done and dusted. A show that might be hard to top was heightened again during the first encore when Finn brought onstage his good friend Johnny Marr, he of The Smiths, to rip into There’s A Light That Never Goes Out to near delirium from the crowd, before a truly memorable version of the classic “I know where I was when I heard this first” song, Weather With You damn near brought the place down.

Closing on Wrap Your Arms Around Me, Finn held his guitar high in the air and said “Thank you, Liverpool. You’ve been great”. Having sat through possibly the best gig The Arena has hosted yet, it was almost impossible not to shout back in return “Cheers, Neil. So have you, mate.”


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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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