Next to Kate Bush, my favourite musical act is Crowded House. I own pretty much every recording they’ve ever released, and I’ve seen them in concert nine times over 23 years. I’ve seen them play in a very wet outdoor amphitheatre, where I had to huddle from the rain under a black plastic garbage bag, and I’ve seen them play in a convention centre ballroom, where I was so weak from food poisoning that I had to lean against a wall for almost the entire show. (In case you’re wondering why I didn’t just go home, I had used frequent flyer points to travel to that show and wouldn’t have missed it for anything.)
The purpose of this post, other than for me to rave about how great Crowded House are, is to alert other Crowded House fans to some great stuff just now showing up on the Internet. Neil Finn’s website has started posting audio of some very hard-to-find material from Neil, Crowded House, Tim Finn, and other acts related to Crowded House and Split Enz. The posts include live recordings, B-sides of singles, unreleased songs, songs written for other artists, and soundtrack-only songs. You can find this treasure trove in the “Other” section of the “Albums” part of the website.
Earlier this year, Neil collaborated on a series of Australian concerts with singer-songwriter Paul Kelly. Paul Kelly is criminally underappreciated in North America. His songs are simply brilliant, and he put on one of the best live shows I have ever had the privilege to be at. So I was thrilled to hear that he and Neil were working together – and this week, their shows received a Helpmann Award for being the year’s best contemporary Australian concerts. Neil’s website has a video of the entire final show of that tour – a show that took place at the famous Sydney Opera House – and it’s well worth watching.
And if you are not familiar with Crowded House, or you aren’t sure if you like the music that you’ve already heard, or you believe it when they’re dismissed as “pop” or “soft rock” – this song, which is stunning on so many levels, just might win you over.
But, of course, I also have to pass along some news about Kate – or Ms. Catherine Bush, CBE, as she can now be called. She had a significant event as well this week, when she celebrated her 55th birthday. Happy birthday, Kate!!!