79. CROWDED HOUSE, 9/12/07

Location: The Tabernacle, Atlanta, GA
Support act(s): Pete Yorn, Liam Finn
In the company of: Chris

The first time I saw Crowded House live was in Kansas City 20 years ago. They were touring supporting their first album after the break-up of Split Enz. I won tickets to a Bruce Hornsby and the Range show through a local radio station. Crowded House was the opening act, and I became a fan for life that night.

This just so happened to be the same year I would meet my future bride, who later became a fan as well. I’ve heard it said that music is the soundtrack of our lives. Crowded House songs fill my soundtrack.

So, this concert was special. It took place at the Tabernacle in Atlanta. Opening the show was the son of CH frontman Neil Finn, Liam. He is in the process of releasing his first solo record and treated the sold out crowd to five or six songs. This 23 year-old was amazing. Out there all alone, he was very impressive. Look for his record in January called I’ll Be Lightning.

Next up was Pete Yorn. Now, if you’re not familiar with his music, I suggest you get familiar. He rocked. I mean, four guitars…need I say more? A few memorable tunes were “Life on a Chain,” “Black,” and “For Nancy.” Check him out.

Crowded House walked onstage with their new drummer who replaces Paul Hester after he took his own life in 2005. The last time we saw them was during their final tour in 1994. That night in Atlanta was Paul Hester’s very last night as a member of the band (one of the best concerts ever). He was leaving the band for unspecified personal reasons.

Back to present day. They opened with “There Goes God” and continued playing a total of 2 1/2 hours, including two encores. The grand finale was “Don’t Dream It’s Over,” which seemed to never end, due to much audience participation. In between the opening and closing songs, the band created terrific music, clearly showcasing Neil’s penchant for Beatle-esque sounds. He even jumped into Cat Stevens’ Wild World and the band joined in. One of many special moments.

Another moment was just after Neil said, “I’m feeling a strong presence in this room tonight,” and then played “Italian Plastic,” a song written by Hester.

The band played five songs from their new release Time On Earth, including “Silent House” (which Neil co-wrote with the Dixie Chicks, who also recorded it). The older tune “Better Be Home Soon” was an extended version with much audience sing-alongs and help from Pete Yorn and Co. Son Liam was onstage with dad for much of the show, as well.

Basically, every song was a highlight for me. Definite standouts, though, were “In My Command,” “Whispers and Moans,” and “Hole in the River.” For me, Crowded House was/is a most painfully underrated band. They possess what I refer to as the trifecta: top-notch lyrics/vocals/musicianship. Not many bands go three for three. It still amazes me when I run into those who say, “Who’s Crowded House?”

Rumor has it they’re heading back into the studio the first of the year. Let the soundtrack continue.

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