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Words by guest writer, Marty Duda.

 

Oh what a night! As show opener Reb Fountain pointed out, this was very possibly “the biggest show on planet Earth right now’.

Reb and her band poured their hearts into songs such as Hawks And Doves and Strangers as 12,000 Crowded House fans streamed into Auckland’s Spark Arena. It may not have been an ideal showcase for Reb’s dark, beautiful songs, but let’s hope she picked up a few new fans for her efforts.

With an America’s Cup victory a couple of days earlier, these Kiwi music lovers were ready to celebrate. And what better way than with nearly two hours of the best songs ever written in and about this country.

There were a few grumbles last year when it was revealed that long-time band member Mark Hart would not be taking part in this current reunion, but who could argue after knowing that Mitchell Froom, producer and keyboard player on the majority of those classic Crowded House albums would be on stage along with Neil Finn, Nick Seymour and Neil’s sons Liam (guitar) and Elroy (drums).

With original drummer Paul Hester sadly no longer with us, this is as close as we can get to the source of albums such as Temple Of Low Men, Woodface and their 1986 debut album.

The set kicked off with ‘Weather With You…a sonic splash from the band and a crowd singing along with every word. That was pretty much the way it was throughout this lovely, sentimental and often musically stunning 110 minute show.

Classic songs such as ‘World Where You Live’, ‘Fall At Your Feet’, ‘Whatever You Want’ and ‘Four Seasons In One Day’ poured off the stage and into the crowd only to be returned in a joyful choir-like unison. While the harmonies were sweet, the organ runs lush, I must highlight the guitar interplay between Liam and Neil. There’s something special about seeing a man and his son squaring off for a rocking riff-fest.

Liam proved he had earned his place on stage with this band especially after his furious freakout during Locked Out. “I hope that was your “B” guitar” quipped Neil after Liam gave his instrument a good thrashing.

But the real stars on the night were the songs…elegant, melodic and sublime. We’ve all heard ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’, ‘Something So Strong’ and ‘Distant Sun’ a thousand times, but they seem to be timeless.

The encore started with ‘Chocolate Cake’ (was hoping to see brother Tim) and then Bowie’s ‘Heroes, which Neil dedicated to those “heroes in the New Zealand front line keeping everyone safe”. Who could ask for more?

Well…one more…’Better Be Home Soon’ and then it was over.

As the crowd spilled out into the Auckland night one couldn’t help feeling we had collectively witnessed something special together (and alone).

 

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