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Good Show !

So, Saturday night I went to see Rhett Miller and Neil Finn at Avalon, and Boston. The show started early — I got there about twenty minutes after the doors opened and already wonderboy Rhett Miller was up on stage, doing the energetic acoustic guitar thing. It didn’t exactly make me want to storm the barricades for the guy but it was OK and he did seem to have a lot of support from the audience. After his set, the perky WXRV DJ informed us that Neil Finn would be onstage in twenty minutes, and lo and behold, he was.

You are going to have to forgive me about song titles, but from the moment Neil opened with something from the new one, One All (the retooled version of One Nil), he won me over. He’s definitely getting on in years but still has a great boyish voice. His band seemed to be from the US, and Neil was constantly kidding his guitarist, Sean, about how “intellectual” he looked with his new glasses. I think there was also three mobile phone calls made on the stage, including one from Lisa Germano, who couldn’t make it (sick cat).

Anyway, Neil featured many songs from the new one but also dug back into his previous solo album and the Crowded House days. “Lazing On a Sunny Afternoon” (by the Kinks) found its way into the middle of one song and a while later he dedicated a version of the Smiths’ “There Is a Light” to Johnny Marr. (Actually, I found out later that Marr played with him on the live Seven Worlds Collide album and DVD.)

What I was impressed with was the Finn’s ability to combine apparent simplicity and directness with words that aren’t always the most obvious, and occasional willingness to let a piece mutate into some kind of chamber of motifs before reconstituting itself into a song again. For example, “Recurring Dream” was reduced to just one verse, most of the rest of it being replaced by some inventive guitar play with a digital delay. To me it seemed that Finn was more adept that the resulting melodic invention than trying to take more conventional-sounding solos on the more “rock”-oriented numbers. Although when Sebastian Steinberg was on acoustic bass on “Now We’re Getting Somewhere,” I could also imagine Finn as the new millennium’s answer to Roy Orbison, such was the elegance he lent to basic rock-and-roll song form.

And oh yeah, he did “Don’t Dream It’s Over.” as part of the encore, and it was sublime.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 4th, 2003 01:22 am (UTC)
urgh. lj ate a response.
i mentioned something about DirecTV running "Seven Worlds Collide" on weekends on a channel a few months back, and leaving the set on for hours on end.

(No wonder it is in the shop now)

I also mentioned how Neil did a tour where he moved from town to town and try out and rehearse a new band. Clever, surprising, economical, brilliant.

I also plugged a piece done with brother Tim:


Feb. 4th, 2003 09:48 am (UTC)
Re: urgh. lj ate a response.
Wow, great interview. I did get the DVD of "Seven Worlds," too.

My brother saw Neil at South Station in Boston, of all places...
(no subject) - all_askew - Feb. 4th, 2003 09:16 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 4th, 2003 09:58 am (UTC)
Re: Sebastian Steinberg on bass
Soul Coughing ? So that's where I [should have] remembered him from ! Wow.

I remember hearing about the Shy Five, but I never saw them live.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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