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The Finn Brothers in concert

January 3, 2009 by Joanne Smith

Belvoir Amphitheatre, Perth WA
20 November 2004

"Kath, would you like some more pate?"

Pass the pate and a slice of reality with it, thanks. A concert set in the picturesque Belvoir Amphitheatre benefited all the elements of a Finn family gathering - sing-alongs, echoing harmonies, humour, clapping, arm swaying and crowd interaction. However, it also attracted the cheese-tasting, chardonnay-swilling crowd, like bugs swirling around the theatre lights. They knew the words to 'I See Red', swayed to 'Four Seasons In One Day', looked on bewildered during 'Edible Flowers' and talked through 'Suffer Never'. The ridicule of overindulgence in 'Chocolate Cake' would settle finely upon the ears right about this time. Alas, it was one of the few Brothers' songs written during the Crowded House days which was not given a second coming in an otherwise enjoyable evening.

Despite the obvious divides within the audience, the melodies and lyrics of well-worn Finn classics brought the crowd together in enthusiastic vocal approval. Missy Higgins warmed the amphitheatre with her support set but appeared to be overwhelmed by the size of the crowd, forgetting the words to 'Cactus That Found The Beat'. The young performer tempted and teased the crowd with lyrical and melodious songs which would segue flawlessly into the forthcoming Finns' appearance.

This tour was more than a promotion of the new album, Everyone Is Here. The shows have provided an opportunity to perform songs such as 'It's Only Natural' and 'Weather With You' the way they were intended - as a brotherly combination. For both fans and performers, this was perhaps an opportunity to experience the album which never happened twelve years ago, when the brothers incorporated songs they were to record together into the Crowded House album, Woodface.

New songs were given body through a dense live sound and by juxtaposing Crowded House nostalgia against the Finn brothers current maturity revealed the progression of their music, dispelling the idea many reviewers have peddled that the new album 'sounds like Crowded House'. Instead, the new songs such as 'Anything Can Happen', 'Won't Give In' and 'Gentle Hum' held strong live and navigated the audience on a journey through musical history, combining classic Finn elements with reflective tones on life.

Classic songs such as 'I Got You', 'Six Months In A Leaky Boat' and 'Dirty Creature' were recalled, sounding timeless and thicker in live production. Neil Finn's classic was shed of the early eighties keyboard simplicity. Admittedly, Eddie Rayner's fine chordal flourishes were missed but perhaps that is more a personal lament for being born a decade too late to see the band in action. The crescendo of 'I See Red' overexcited the crowd and, at times, threatened to vocally overpower the performers.

"We'll be back soon!" Neil Finn promised the crowd after the final encore. Unfortunately, the bittersweet trappings of being Antipodean, where the Finn's affection for the homeland and the former residential country is strong, is knowing 'soon' means at least another three year wait. Meanwhile, the brothers will return to the UK soon for a third visitation during this tour. There is something confusing about the themes of home, family and life projected on this album, and throughout their work, which bears an inversion in their touring schedule. However, this year's visit was worth the wait.

Better be home soon, indeed.