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Get Out More....................Gig Review

CROWDED HOUSE

26-05-2010

The needle on the rock n’ roll cool-o-meter barely rises past mildly chilled for these mild-mannered antipodeans – but Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg reckons they’ve clocked up more great tunes than the Stone Roses. And even from the Grand Tier at Symphony Hall, he knows talent when he sees it.

Bloody hell – it’s high up here. You spend £35 on a ticket, and still have to bring your own crampons. Yet in fairness, even at its summit, Symphony Hall offers remarkable clarity of sound and, and thanks to properly raked seating, a decent view of proceedings down below.

Just as well. Frontman Neil Finn likes to put on a show, setting the tone a few songs in when he sets two members of the audience on a race down the aisles.

Finn re-formed the band in 2006 following the suicide a year earlier of the band’s original drummr Paul Hester, and his determination to enjoy every minute is clear from his cheery demeanour and springy step.

There’s good banter between the foursome, but no doubt who's the star of the show. The rangy Finn is songwriter, lead guitarist,
vocalist and sex symbol rolled into one.

For the first hour and twenty minutes, it’s decent enough – the odd hit like “Fall At Your Feet” sprinkled among the newer stuff which, if only through lack of familiarity, gnaws at the boredom threshold.

The single, hour long encore, is a revelation. Hit after hit after hit – and all quality pop. “Chocolate Cake”, “Don’t Dream It’s Over”, “Weather With You”, the wonderfully wistful “Better Be Home Soon”.

Honestly, they’ve had more great pop singles that the altogether more revered Stone Roses, who draw on the same Beatles-y tunesmithery – and the boys from Down Under certainly have better harmonies.

The highlight of a relaxed but finely focussed set – which ran a good 20 minutes overtime – is musical breakout which sees Finn roaming from “Heart Of Glass” to “SOS” to “Waitin’ For The Man” within the space of a single jam. Blondie, Abba, The Velvets – an unholy trinity that somehow illustrates the catholic (and Catholic) influences that combine to make this hugely under-rated band.

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