My first concert, or at least the first one not involveing puppets, when I was 14 years old, was Crowded House.
I was excited. Going out without my parents, seeing my favourite band… whee! My sister and I got crappy tickets in the balcony of the Jube, but it didn’t matter. The second CD I ever bought was the first Crowded House (I wish it weren’t true, but the very first was The Cutting Crew). The show itself was fantastic: with big volcano stage sets, the trio (with Mark Hart on keyboards) bantered, sang, and made me feel a little more grown-up. One crazy lady in the audience (why is there always one?) shouted, “I love you, Neil!” To that, he said, “How could you love me if you haven’t even smelled me?” Touche, Mr. Finn. I filed that away just in case I got a stalker later.
A cowboy named Townes Van Zandt opened. Wow, this is country music that I actually like! Well, I had no idea who he was at the time, but I am thoroughly, retroactively impressed by my 14-year-old self. Good taste there, young Sasano!
20 or so years later, I got to see them again. I got Paul some tickets for the show for his birthday. Again, crappy balcony seats. I asked to do the review (and therefore, excellent AND free tickets), but no go. So I got tickets too late, nothing better was left. But it didn’t matter.
And then, a couple days ago, Sandra asked me to cover the concert for her– she didn’t have time! At the 11th hour, awesome media tickets were mine! And a double happy birthday for Paul, and a nice surprise for the couple who got to have the crappy balcony seats.
It was SOOOO great. The band was happy and loose– sometimes it’s really nice to see musicians willing to play, in that other sense of the word. The new drummer is awesome. When Liam Finn (a loop pedal indie rock kid in the opening act) was on stage with the band, there were five singers, which made for some really beautiful harmonies. Speaking of which, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree– Liam’s voice is a dead ringer for his dad’s. Spooky.
They played a lot of old songs and a bunch of their new ones, and you woudn’t know which were which if the classics weren’t so familiar. Everything sounded timeless. And of course, the sets were moody and gorgeous.
And Pete Yorn, who was also enjoyable, managed to accidentally point out how awesome Peter Bjorn and John might have been as the opening act. His version of Young Folks was meant as a joke, but I’m embarrassed to say it was “his” best song. PBJ’s dark Scandinavian pop would have been a great accompaniment to the rest of the night.
Anyhow, Nick and Neil were hilarious. It was like sitting at a party with the designated drivers– sober and still witty while the rest of us would just giggle. Mark Hart provided the occasional straight man line here and there, and the new drummer Matt Sherrod (of Beck’s band) was like a mad metronome. So sharp!
There were singalongs:Don’t Dream, Sister Madly, Better Be Home Soon, Weather With You– the last sung as a Henry song, as in “Everywhere you go, always take Henry with you.”
I probably looked like a goof, but I was grinning from ear to ear the whole time. But hey– when do you get to see your favourite band of all time from the ’80s? And they’re still good!