Friday, November 5, 2010

Crowded Household Enjoyed Crowded House

I'm at that stage when it's almost impossible to go see a band. I was fortunate enough to take in the Pixies performing 'Dootliitle' last year because Mrs. Linear Tracking Lives! got me the tickets for my birthday and set up the babysitter well in advance. Since then live experiences have been almost non-existent.

There are, however, rare times when the venue is friendly enough that the entire family can go and enjoy the music. The criteria to pull that off is as follows: 1) it has to be early in the evening, 2) outdoors and at a place where you can bring captain's chairs or spread out a blanket picnic style in a general-admission area and 3) it needs to be an older band with equally mature fans willing to bring kids along.

I have seen a few shows within that scenario, but none have been better than when I saw Crowded House on Aug. 28 at the beautiful Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery in Woodinville, Washington. I won't dwell on the setting, but suffice it to say the mountains, trees and sunset were like a postcard to this Evergreen State newbie. The 24-song setlist was a nice mix of old favorites and new songs from their latest, 'Intriguer.' It was about three songs in that the inevitable happened.

Why is it that no matter the show you always end up by at least one obnoxious clown? It's usually a non-stop talker, texter or video-taking junkie, but this guy was even worse. For obvious reasons we set up camp in the back, but there was one douche that squeezed in behind us, paced and incessantly screamed his one request. In a thick London East End accent he yelled, "SPLIT ENZ! SPLIT ENZ!" As the show continued he got louder and more irritated. "NEIL, PLAY SOME SPLIT ENZ!!" By the encore he was ready to pound somebody. "NEIL, FOR CHRIST SAKE... SPLIIIIIIT EEEEENZ!!!" I'll be damned if his wish wasn't finally granted. Before breaking into "History Never Repeats," Neil Finn claimed Crowded House had never played this one before. The band followed up that one with "I Got You." It was an unforgettable moment. Perhaps I owed this bloody Brit an apology. The show concluded with a lengthy take of "Better Be Home Soon." Finn asked the crowd to join in. "NEIL, THIS IS AMERICA! THEY DON'T SING!" The apology I made up in my mind was immediately rescinded.

So, you may be asking yourself, why is this bloke going on about a concert he saw back in the summer? I have a good answer. I went into the show owning all but one Crowded House album. I had not yet bought their latest. Hearing several songs from 'Intriguer' that night should have inspired me to get it, but it wasn't until I came across it for $5 at a used record store in Seattle two weeks ago that I finally made the purchase. That's shameful because, contrary to lukewarm reviews across the globe, I think it's brilliant. I can't stop listening to the following deep track. If you like it, buy the record now. You may also enjoy a live song from their double-disc set 'Farewell to the World.'

Crowded House - Either Side of the World (mp3)
Crowded House - Better Be Home Soon (mp3)

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