Crowded House came to the Warfield Theater this summer, touring in support of their latest release Intriguer. I have a long history of patronizing all manner of audio, video, and performances from this band, from Neil Finn and Tim Finn, and from their original band, Split Enz, and so am likely to be a bit biased about their capabilities. But to me, almost anything Neil and/or Tim are involved in will always be special as they are basically the Beatles of New Zealand. Personal favorites amongst all their projects over the years include “Conflicting Emotions” from Split Enz, Tim Finn’s self titled third release, and the self titled “Finn Brothers” album. For me, Crowded House’s best work is “Together Alone“, though after a series of listens, the new release “Intriguer” does intrigue – buy it with the DVD which sports the band running through most of the tracks in their home studio live and up close – it’s a wonderful document of a mature, precision band.
At the Warfield, the group was in top form in front of an enthusiastic crowd of fans. New tracks like “Amsterdam” and “Either Side of the World” were standouts during the set, which was neatly comprised of Crowded House staples going back to their first release. For the first time in my experience, they did not include a track from the Enz era, though it was not missed amongst so many favorites from their back catalog. Neil’s voice is remarkable for it’s durability after all these years, and given every group member sings backup, including his wife who lent her voice for one track, the harmonies were lush and heart warming. All in all a great night from a great band fronted by this important artist and entertainer.