Christmas Videos by DC Cardwell

“Christmas Must Be Tonight”

Originally by The Band, this song was written by Robbie Robertson and sung by Rick Danko on their 1976 album, “Islands”. In this video, I play regular acoustic guitar while Samuel plays a Baby Taylor tuned in the so-called “Nashville Tuning”.

I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day

From the poem “Christmas Bells” by Longfellow. We decided to perform this in a style heavily influenced by The Byrds, particularly in the guitar figures between verses played by me, and Samuel’s extraordinary Roger McGuinn-like guitar solo. Available on DC’s album Pop Art.

The Day That A Child Appeared

A Larry Norman song from his “Bootleg” album. I played the piano on this recording, trying to get it as close as possible to how it is played on the original, which I’ve always felt was very inventive and clever.

Christmas Time Is Here

My simple piano version of this song by Vince Guaraldi which appears on “A Charlie Brown Christmas” both as an instrumental and a sung version. A hugely evocative Christmas tune for many people!

New Beatles solo covers – check ’em out!

Hi – DC here!

We came back from a trip to Ireland a few weeks ago and on my return I decided to focus on updating my Youtube channels and adding some more videos.

I have new original songs in the pipeline but people on Youtube seem to love covers so I’ve been knocking off a few and plan to do more as it’s kinda fun and easy 🙂

My latest two have both been Beatles’ solo songs.

Just yesterday I filmed this version of John Lennon’s “Love”

And last week, after seeing the George Harrison documentary by Martin Scorsese, I recorded this ukulele version of “Here Comes The Sun”.

I hope you like them. Please share on Facebook and via email. And if you’re on Youtube, I’d LOVE you to subscribe to my channels so you can hear about each new video I upload.

Here are the links to our three channels.

Thanks for watching & listening!

~ DC

PRESS
“Melbourne’s DC Cardwell is a singer-songwriter that should appeal to fans of Neil Finn and David Grahame, and he has the ability to excel on both the slower, acoustic numbers as well as the up-tempo pop gems. You’ll only need to go a few tracks into Some Hope to realize this as the beautiful, gentle opener “I Am Still the Same” and the lovely, spare “Birthday Present” are followed by the catchy power pop of “Peace and Love”. Aside from these three, there are plenty of instant classics to go around like the breezy “Way With Words”, the harmonica and handclaps of “A Minute of Your Time”, and the jangly “Tom is Everybody’s Friend”. 16 tracks in all here, so it’s quality and quantity.”  Steve, Absolute Powerpop

“DC Cardwell creates a heart felt acoustic gem here, full of wonderful melodic hooks and a Ray Davies styled vocal. The gentle minor chords and harmonies that open “I Am Still The Same” are both brilliant and poignant. “Birthday Present” is another example of solid composition and a revelatory Harrison styled guitar break. Some of the mid-tempo ballads (“The Quiet Ages”) are like magical combinations of both Paul Simon and McCartney.”  Aaron Kupferberg, Powerpopaholic

“I have a great respect for your songwriting and style. You have a unique delivery that for the uninitiated conjures the vocal prowess of Thom York blended with the edge of John Lennon and a tip of the hat to Bob Dylan.”  Doug Mitchell (Recording engineer/producer),

 ReverbNation       Twitter       Artist Website       other

DC Cardwell records with Jaymee Carpenter in LA [Newsletter 21st Jan 2011]

Hello! DC here…

I told you in last month’s newsletter about my impending trip (in December) to Los Angeles to record some songs for a movie. Well, it all went very well and I had a fantastic time!

Jaymee Carpenter at the controls in the studio.
Jaymee Carpenter at the controls in the studio.

The producer, Jaymee Carpenter, was a joy to work with and we managed to get six songs done in five days which was pretty good going. The director of the film, Michael Garcia, dropped by and seemed very happy with the songs and what we were doing with them. And I enjoyed every minute of my time there… now I can’t wait to go back!

Jaymee has a very impressive resumé which includes writing music for That 70’s Show and 3rd Rock From The Sun. He also composed the music for Crime After Crime which right now is nominated for an award at Sundance Film Festival. Also, Jaymee has two songs in the new Paramount Pictures blockbuster The Fighter starring Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale & Amy Adams. So you can see what a privilege it was to work with him.

[Addendum from 2012] I started out by recording the acoustic guitar for each song, followed by a guide vocal. Then, unlike my own recordings, most of the overdubs were by Jaymee and his regular session men. Jaymee overdubbed drums, and then Bryan Fouts put on some lovely bass. Jordan Shapiro brought along a large selection of guitars and amps and overdubbed 6 and 12 string electric, dobro and pedal steel. I played piano on a couple of tracks, and overdubbed harmonica on “A Minute Of Your Time”, and then on the last day I overdubbed the final vocals, much faster and in fewer takes than I would have at home!

The full list of songs we recorded is:

  • I Am Still The Same
  • Know Me
  • A Minute Of Your Time
  • Peace And Love
  • The Way Of A Woman With A Man
  • Birthday Present

The first five were destined for the movie in question. However, as of late 2012 the news is, unfortunately, that the project has been shelved and Jaymee and Michael are no longer involved with it. This is unfortunate news for me, however Jaymee intends to use my songs for some other project at some point so hopefully all the work will “pay off” eventually!” [end of Addendum]

And don’t don’t forget, my album Some Hope has been released in the US. It’s newly repackaged in a beautiful gatefold LP-style cardboard sleeve with new artwork. Sixteen (true!) tracks of pure goodness. The CD is available worldwide from CD Baby, my website (dccardwell.com) and our own Madcar Records website. Or you can download the album or individual songs from Madcar Records, iTunes or Amazon.

Anyway, after you’ve bought my album 🙂 come back and watch this little video I made about my experience in LA… and you can hear some of the music we recorded there…

Click here to watch “DC In LA”!

The Last Waltz

Samuel & I spent a pleasant evening changing guitar strings, eating the last of the Christmas cake and listening to the second commentary on The Band’s “The Last Waltz” DVD. Levon Helm & Garth Hudson are good value as always. Greil Marcus is so bursting with insight he’s slightly dangerous to himself and others. And the rest of the participants throw in a few interesting tidbits and Martin/Mr/Marty Scorsese impressions. Someone scorns Van Morrison‘s bizarre garb in a manner almost worthy of The Mighty Boosh. And Neil Diamond‘s apparel and general out-of-placeness is also accurately pinpointed. But above all, it’s worth waiting to the end where there’s a beautiful, wistful Garth Hudson solo piano piece. You don’t expect music on the commentary track!

Review of Neil Young at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne, Australia, 28 Jan 2009

The Sidney Myer Music Bowl is a rather wonderful outdoor venue in the
heart of Melbourne’s King’s Domain. A natural amphitheatre with a large
stage and a covered area for those who can afford the expensive seats!
For once, I paid the extra to get up close to one of my major musical
heroes. I was accompanied by my wife Marjie and my son Samuel, both
also Neil Young fans.

But it was just too hot for me to really enjoy this show. I’ve been in
Melbourne for twelve years now, but for a Northern Ireland kid these
40+ days are hard to take, especially when they drag on for too long a
period! And after a long hot day and a scorching walk to the venue,
you’re not exactly in the mood to rock and roll all night long, free
world or not.

I regret that we stayed in our seats under the dome as it was indeed
like baking in an oven, but the heat was also making us feel so tired
that we were reluctant to move back to watch and listen from out in the
open air. I now wish we had, judging from other people’s comments.

I’m a long-time Neil fan (ever since I heard a track from the new album
Zuma in 1975 while listening to the John Peel Show on a little
transistor radio underneath my pillow) and his playing has influenced
me more than any other guitarist’s. Anyone who knows me will attest
that I am a huge Neil enthusiast.

And I’ve only seen him twice before – the last two and a half songs
(don’t ask!) of a show in Vancouver back in the early 90s and his last
appearance here in Melbourne on the Greendale tour, which was really
great but not a typical performance.

I’d read very good things about this tour, with the British leg being
hailed as his best since the famous Crazy Horse shows of the mid-70s.

So I was primed for this to be the “gig of a lifetime”, but it was not
to be – which was probably more due to the scorching weather, my
fragile physical state (for various reasons), poor sound from where I
was sitting, a guy to my left who was not large but somehow took up way
more space (mine) than was justified, and a song selection which was
not to my taste. So I’m surprised to be writing a
less-than-enthusiastic review and I apologise for it, because I think
most people there enjoyed it more than I did.

The Greendale show had been at the same venue, and from our vantage
point then, much further from the stage, the sound was perfect.
Tonight, down near the front, it was rather boxy and unfortunately the
drums were mixed way too loud and reverberant like any crappy bar band,
which was annoying most of the time, but especially in the ballads,
when it was completely ridiculous. I guess the covered part of the
venue (50 years old next month) was acoustically designed for classical
music, but that’s not good for rock’n’roll! And from where I was,
Neil’s acoustic guitar sounded really bad and that spoiled songs that
should have been good, like “The Needle And The Damage Done”.

I thought the backing vocals were spot-on and beautiful, especially
Neil’s wife Pegi‘s, and the playing was generally sympathetic, but I
couldn’t really hear the piano at all from where I was. And as for the
bass, it was pretty much impossible to clearly identify any particular
note, so we just got a general boominess in the lower registers.

Anyway, Neil was full of energy, which amazed me given the extreme
heat. He was wearing a white open-necked shirt and Eric Morecambe style
khaki Bermuda shorts. His voice was sounding fairly strong despite the
acoustics, however at the Greendale show five years ago his voice was
astoundingly good, in fact I didn’t even know he *could* sing like that!

And despite regretting not moving back, it was good to be close enough
to really *see* Neil and observe what he was doing with his guitar.

It was also a treat to see Ben Keith – someone who’s played with Neil
since those far-off legendary days of the early 70s. The full line-up
was Ben Keith (pedal steel, guitar, piano, organ), Rick Rosas (bass),
Chad Cromwell (drums), Anthony Crawford and Pegi Young (backing vocals,
piano and guitars).

An early song was a fave of mine, “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere”
with its delectable la-la-las. But for my particular taste there were
just too many songs that I find mediocre, with throwaway tunes and
sophomoric homespun cod-religious or philosophical lyrics which are
probably crowd-pleasing but lack the depth of which he is capable. Many
of them had failed to interest me on the original albums and these live
performances didn’t enhance them any. I noticed that Marjie and Samuel
laughed heartily at some of them, and not in a good way!

An exception was “One Of These Days” which I had never liked much but
which suddenly rung very true on this occasion, and I guess it’s
moments like that which make a show worthwhile!

“Four Strong Winds” came across quite well too. The harmonium on
“Mother Earth” was nice, but, well, the song is laughable, really! I
mean, you’d think you can’t go wrong with the tune of “O Waly Waly“,
but the words… This was one which really had Marjie and Samuel
cracking up and who could blame them? (Flame away – we all have our
likes and dislikes and I’ve already stated that Neil is one of my absolute
fave artists so I don’t feel guilty!)

As others have commented online, “Cortez The Killer” was, well, killer,
and the only song of the night where he really let his guitar do what
it does so well – sing. (But you know, even though that song is one of
the best tracks on my favourite Neil album, the sentiment still really
bugs me because he suggests that sacrificing children is OK if you
think you’re going to get some mystical benefit from it. It doesn’t
exactly support his case against Cortez. There – I’ve written a song
about that, but now I’ve said it openly for the first time!)

For me, another highlight of the evening was “Words”. That was the only
song in which Neil played his white Gretsch and I hate to say this,
but it sounded way better than his legendary Les Paul, “Old Black”. I
think the cleaner, bitier sound helped make up for the muddiness of the
PA. I had never really loved this song on Harvest, but tonight the 11/8
time signatures (or whatever they are) sounded perfectly natural and
even swinging. Marjie hated it though!

The finale of “A Day In The Life” was brilliant. It’s a great song that
the Beatles made kinda difficult to cover (although I have a 45rpm
record of Wes Montgomery doing it) but it was good to hear it being
done so well by Neil. He and his band are as capable of doing
cacophonous wig-outs as anyone, as we all know, but they somehow
managed to make the orchestral crescendos sound remarkably like the Sgt
Pepper version! I was sure I could hear the swirling strings but it was
coming out of bass, drums, piano, organ and guitars. For the second
crescendo he proceeded to break all the strings on “Old Black” and thrash the
pickups with them, at great length and to noisy effect. The middle bit
(woke up, fell out of bed) was perhaps a little off, and Nil seemed to
be forgetting the words or forgetting to go up to the microphone, but
the overall effect was unforgettable.

Pegi had utilised the illuminated vibraphone in a pleasantly Motownish
way earlier in the evening, but for the climax of “A Day In The Life”
Neil ran up to where it was located at the back of the stage and hit a
percussive version of the Beatles’ famous piano chord. Not quite as
cute as the Rutles’ “plonk”, but a good way to end.

Review by DC Cardwell (www.dccardwell.com)

FULL SET LIST (thanks to http://www.setlist.fm)

1. Love And Only Love
2. Sea Change
3. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
4. I’ve Been Waiting For You
5. Spirit Road
6. Cortez The Killer
7. Cinnamon Girl
8. Mother Earth
9. The Needle And The Damage Done
10. Light A Candle
11. Four Strong Winds
12. Unknown Legend
13. One Of These Days
14. Get Back To The Country
15. Words
16. Just Singing A Song
17. Rockin’ In The Free World
18. A Day In The Life

Big Quiz Thingo by Marjorie Cardwell

I answered one of these questionnaires on Facebook…

1. WHAT IS YOUR GIVEN NAME AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
My Christian name is Marjorie which means ‘pearl’. Pretty hideous, eh?
2. DO YOU LIKE YOUR NAME?
No. I only like it when French people say it and then it almost sounds nice.
3. IF YOU COULD PICK ANY NAME IN THE WORLD, WHAT WOULD YOU PICK?
Ariane
4. WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO MAKE YOU CRY, WHAT MOVES YOU?
Injustice, cruelty, kindness.
5. ARE YOU RIGHT OR LEFT HANDED?
right
6. STAR TREK, STAR WARS, OR FIREFLY?
Star Trek.
7. WHAT ARE YOUR THREE FAVORITE FOODS?
Chips, Chocolate and Champagne.
8. DO YOU ENJOY PLAYING WITH CHILDREN?
I enjoy having a laugh with children.
9. WHAT QUALITIES DO YOU VALUE MOST IN YOUR FRIENDS?
Honesty, loyalty and fun.
10. WHAT TYPES OF HUMOR DO YOU ENJOY MOST?
The sort that incapacitates or surprises me.
11. LORD OF THE RINGS, HARRY POTTER, OR THE GOLDEN COMPASS?
The Lord Of The Rings…duh!
12. WHICH LANGUAGES DO YOU SPEAK?
English and French. Unlike Dave I wouldn’t presume to suggest I speak any German or Latin, although I should.
13. HAVE YOU EVER INTUITIVELY KNOWN ABOUT SOMETHING BEFORE IT HAPPENED?
All the time.
14. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE COLOR OR COLORS?
Yellow.
15. YOUR LEAST FAVORITE COLOR OR COLORS?
poop.
16. WHAT IS THE MOST DANGEROUS THING YOU HAVE EVER DONE?
Tried to beat a train by ducking through the barriers. It still makes me shiver
17. WHAT IS YOUR SILLIEST FEAR?
The word ‘tasty’.
18. YOU WOULD RATHER SWIM IN A SWIMMING POOL, LAKE, RIVER, OCEAN?
Pool.
19. FAVORITE CELEBRITY YOU’VE BEEN COMPARED TO?
No one. I’m only ever compared to embarrassing people, except for Wanda Jackson – that was cool
20. LEAST FAVORITE CELEBRITY YOU’VE BEEN COMPARED TO?
Rita McNeil
21. FAVORITE FILM: DRAMA?
Pirates of the Carribbean II
22. FAVORITE FILM: COMEDY?
Gregory’s Girl.
23. FAVORITE FILM: ACTION?
Once Upon A Time in Mexico
24. FAVORITE FILM: ROMANCE?
Indiscreet
25. FAVORITE FILM: DOCUMENTARY?
None
26. FAVORITE FILM: CHILDRENS?
Jungle Book because of Louis Prima
27. FAVORITE SOCIAL SITUATION?
bed
28. LEAST FAVORITE SOCIAL SITUATION?
Parties with people I don’t know and probably wouldn’t like if I did
29. THE CAUSE OR CAUSES THAT ARE MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU?
The Word
30. THE CHARITY THAT YOU MOST RECENTLY DONATED TO?
Bushfire Appeal
31. STRANGEST CELEBRITY ENCOUNTER?
Tim Finn speaking gibberish to me in NZ.
32. QUALITIES YOUR FRIENDS SAY THAT THEY MOST VALUE IN YOU?
Enthusiasm
33. WHICH CULTURES INTEREST YOU MOST?
American and French
34. FAVORITE PLACES IN THE WORLD THAT YOU HAVE VISITED?
France
35. PLACES THAT YOU WOULD MOST LIKE TO VISIT?
France
36. IF YOU COULD TALK WITH SOMEONE WHO HAS PASSED AWAY, WHO WOULD YOU PICK?
John
37. WHAT ARE YOU IGNORING RIGHT NOW IN ORDER TO ANSWER THIS LIST?
Eastenders!
38. WHAT IS PLAYING ON THE TAPE/CD/MP3 IN YOUR CAR THESE DAYS?
Darts live in 1978
39. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE?
Yellow
40. WHAT SKILLS WOULD YOU LIKE TO LEARN THAT YOU HAVEN’T YET LEARNED?
Speaking French fluently.
41. DO YOU PLAY A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT?
Guitar although today I played piano for a bunch of year 7s and got away with it.
42. FAVORITE SMELLS?
David
43. FAVORITE OUTDOOR ACTIVITES?
Sitting.
44. FAVORITE LANDSCAPE AND CLIMATE?
Snow anywhere
45. HAIR COLOR?
Sort of light brown, dark blonde reddish in bits.
46. EYE COLOR?
Hazel/brown/green – it depends
47. WHAT IS THE LAST MOVIE YOU LOVED?
Slumdog Millionaire
48. ARE YOU A HUGGY PERSON?
Sometimes.
49. WHAT BOOK HAVE YOU MOST RECENTLY READ?
The Gospel of John
50. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE BOOKS?
The Bible
51. WHAT IS THE PICTURE ON YOUR WALL CALENDAR?
Something to do with chocolate
52. FAVORITE SOUNDS?
The Beatles
53. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES?
The Beatles
54. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT?
I can make children happy to be learning grammar. It’s very magical and scary.
55. DO YOU HAVE RECURRING DREAMS, OR A FAVORITE DREAM?
Levitating. Sometimes I’m convinced I actually can because I’ve done it so often in dreams.

– Marjorie

OK, OK, I’ve finally given in and DONE one of these things!

[One of those Facebook questions doing the rounds that I finally answered…]
___________________________
THE RULES: Just copy and paste and put your own answers in. The purpose of this is to get to know your friends better. Have fun! Here are the rules – post this list on your profile (in Notes) replacing my answers with yours. Tag 25 people to do the same thing. If I tagged YOU, it’s because I want to know more about YOU!

And even if I didn’t tag you… feel free to do the survey and drop me a note to let me know!

1. WHAT IS YOUR GIVEN NAME AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN? – David, which means “beloved”

2. DO YOU LIKE YOUR NAME? – Yes, except for one little problem… when I tell people here in Australia my name, they never understand what I’m saying because of my accent! They’ll reply, “How’re ya goin’ Devon?”, or “Pleased to meet you, Derek”, or, “Good morning, Divot”. And I use “DC” as my nom-de-rock because there are already several other notable David Cardwells on Google. And it really annoys me that Facebook won’t let me use the name “DC Cardwell”.

3. IF YOU COULD PICK ANY NAME IN THE WORLD, WHAT WOULD YOU PICK? – I once dreamt that my stage name was “Nick Shade”, which is just about as cool a name as you can imagine. But when the time came for me to actually pick a stage name, I decided it was way too cool for me.

4. WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO MAKE YOU CRY, WHAT MOVES YOU? – The last time I cried was a few days after the Melbourne bushfires – I’d been numb, like a lot of people, and then one day I was reading the day’s newspaper accounts and I just burst out in tears. Not so surprising.

5. ARE YOU RIGHT OR LEFT HANDED? – Neither hand is much use for anything these days.

6. STAR TREK, STAR WARS, OR FIREFLY? – Star Trek. Watched it when I was little. I don’t mind Star Wars but it never had the same impact on me that it did on everyone else. Never seen Firefly.

7. WHAT ARE YOUR THREE FAVORITE FOODS? – I’m useless at picking favourites but I like anchovies, mushrooms and Cadbury’s chocolate.

8. DO YOU ENJOY PLAYING WITH CHILDREN? – As long as they can hold down a groove.

9. WHAT QUALITIES DO YOU VALUE MOST IN YOUR FRIENDS? – Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

10. WHAT TYPES OF HUMOR DO YOU ENJOY MOST? – The funny sort.

11. LORD OF THE RINGS, HARRY POTTER, OR THE GOLDEN COMPASS? – The Lord Of The Rings is the only one I have read but I think I can safely guess that it would be my favourite anyway.

12. WHICH LANGUAGES DO YOU SPEAK? – Ulster, with a smidgen of French, German and Latin.

13. HAVE YOU EVER INTUITIVELY KNOWN ABOUT SOMETHING BEFORE IT HAPPENED? I knew you were going to ask that.

14. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE COLOR OR COLORS? – All colours deserve to be treated equally.

15. YOUR LEAST FAVORITE COLOR OR COLORS? Except maybe the colour of fried junk food.

16. WHAT IS THE MOST DANGEROUS THING YOU HAVE EVER DONE? – It was never going to kill me but I started to cut the end off a pencil once with an extremely sharp one-sided microtome blade, and just as my fingers started to press down on it I realised it was upside down. I still shudder at the thought.

17. WHAT IS YOUR SILLIEST FEAR? – Spiders.

18. YOU WOULD RATHER SWIM IN A SWIMMING POOL, LAKE, RIVER, OCEAN? The ocean. The thought of swimming in (most) lakes and (all) rivers disturbs me.

19. FAVORITE CELEBRITY YOU’VE BEEN COMPARED TO? – Paul McCartney is the most common one. And he’ll do.

20. LEAST FAVORITE CELEBRITY YOU’VE BEEN COMPARED TO? – Pierluigi Collina.

21. FAVORITE FILM: DRAMA? – Skip Tracer.

22. FAVORITE FILM: COMEDY? – Gregory’s Girl.

23. FAVORITE FILM: ACTION? – I prefer films with no action.

24. FAVORITE FILM: ROMANCE? – Un Chien Andalou

25. FAVORITE FILM: DOCUMENTARY? Wayne’s World

26. FAVORITE FILM: CHILDRENS? – That animated Robin Hood one with Roger Miller

27. FAVORITE SOCIAL SITUATION? – A pub with a single good friend.

28. LEAST FAVORITE SOCIAL SITUATION? – Anywhere with lots of people and music that is not worth listening to but too loud to speak over.

29. THE CAUSE OR CAUSES THAT ARE MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU? – Helping widows and orphans.

30. THE CHARITY THAT YOU MOST RECENTLY DONATED TO? – The Cliff Richard Restoration Fund

31. STRANGEST CELEBRITY ENCOUNTER? – Larry Norman with sparkly beret dancing in the disco at a hotel in Lurgan.

32. QUALITIES YOUR FRIENDS SAY THAT THEY MOST VALUE IN YOU? – I’ve been told a number of times that I have a calming influence in the workplace.

33. WHICH CULTURES INTEREST YOU MOST? – American

34. FAVORITE PLACES IN THE WORLD THAT YOU HAVE VISITED? – Marysville before it was destroyed by fire.

35. PLACES THAT YOU WOULD MOST LIKE TO VISIT? – Places that I haven’t been to already? Southern USA, Russia, The Holy Land.

36. IF YOU COULD TALK WITH SOMEONE WHO HAS PASSED AWAY, WHO WOULD YOU PICK? – Adam.

37. WHAT ARE YOU IGNORING RIGHT NOW IN ORDER TO ANSWER THIS LIST? Recording music.

38. WHAT IS PLAYING ON THE TAPE/CD/MP3 IN YOUR CAR THESE DAYS? “Mental Notes” by Split Enz

39. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? This is just getting silly.

40. WHAT SKILLS WOULD YOU LIKE TO LEARN THAT YOU HAVEN’T YET LEARNED? – Memorizing lyrics.

41. DO YOU PLAY A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT? Guitar and bass, mainly, but I also have a go at piano, drums and a few other things – whatever it takes to record my songs.

42. FAVORITE SMELLS? – Apart from food and drink… I like some smells that other people hate, like ammonia, mothballs and hexamine. And marijuana when other people smoke it. Toy gun caps. Matches.

43. FAVORITE OUTDOOR ACTIVITES? – Walking down the street.

44. FAVORITE LANDSCAPE AND CLIMATE? A clear, dark frosty winter’s night in Northern Ireland with the smell of coal fires in the air.

45. HAIR COLOR? Greyer than before.

46. EYE COLOR? Slate grey with a greenish tinge. Although they look penetratingly blue in that profile photo I’m using right now.

47. WHAT IS THE LAST MOVIE YOU LOVED? Ghost Town.

48. ARE YOU A HUGGY PERSON? I would be if people didn’t run away screaming.

49. WHAT BOOK HAVE YOU MOST RECENTLY READ? – I’m currently doing my duty and reading Outliers.

50. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE BOOKS? – The Bible, G.K. Chesterton, Dickens, How To Lie With Statistics, P.G. Wodehouse, ‘The Expert Encyclopedia Of Recording’ by Rick Clark, Solzhenitsyn… there are more in my “info” tab.

51. WHAT IS THE PICTURE ON YOUR WALL CALENDAR? Don’t have one. The wallpaper on my computer is a photo that a Facebook friend took of Led Zeppelin in Iceland in 1970 that I did a little bit of restorative work on this morning.

52. FAVORITE SOUNDS? – The Beatles

53. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES? – The Beatles

54. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? – I cut extremely good frozen sections of human tissue.

55. DO YOU HAVE RECURRING DREAMS, OR A FAVORITE DREAM? Seeing aeroplanes crashing, or spacecraft or missiles flying or crashing or exploding.

DC’s Review of CROWDED HOUSE at The Forum, Melbourne, 2nd Dec 2008

[Originally on Facebook Notes] Here’s my belated review of the recent top notch Crowded House show in Melbourne, Australia. I’m writing this nearly two weeks after the show, and forgetting a lot of the details, so if anyone has a recording of the show I’d love to have a copy!

BACKGROUND

Crowded House are known for their unpredictable shows with improvised music, banter and on-the-fly audience interaction, and Tuesday, 2nd December at Melbourne’s Forum Theatre was a classic of the genre. (Although I have to admit I came late to them and have only seen them live a handful of times – I do, however, have numerous live recordings and videos so I am still qualified to make this statement!)

This was the first of two Melbourne warm-up shows for the band’s appearance at Sydney’s Homebake Festival. The house was packed.

For those of you who are not already fans of the band, I should mention that they split around 1996 and sealed their career with a massive free farewell concert outside the Sydney Opera House, which was also preceded by two wonderful warm-up shows at the Corner Hotel in Melbourne which my wife Marjie and I had the pleasure of attending.

Leader Neil Finn subsequently embarked on an interesting but slightly disappointing (to me) solo career, releasing two albums on his own and one with his brother Tim, interspersed by other projects such as a Split Enz reunion tour and a collaboration with musicians such as ex-members of Radiohead, the Smiths and Pearl Jam.

In the meantime, their much loved drummer and manic funny man, Paul Hester, sadly took his own life a few years ago, leaving a big gap which seemed impossible to fill. However, to many people’s surprise, Neil reformed the band a couple of years ago the new Crowded House are producing new songs and albums and generally acting as a vital unit, unlike some play-the-hits-take-the-money-and-run nostalgia merchants.

New drummer Matt Sherrod (ex-Beck) does his job admirably from a musical point of view, and wisely doesn’t try to emulate Hester’s humour and stage presence.

Original bassist Nick Seymour and guitarist/keyboardist Mark Hart (who joined as a fully-fledged member around the recording of their last pre-split album) are also back in the fold.

THE VENUE

Melbourne can lay claim to being the band’s spiritual home as they formed here and were based here for most of their career. The Forum Theatre is a fascinating place in itself, with ‘stars’ glowing from its ceiling, and faux architecture and Roman statues visible in large balconies to each side of the stage, giving the illusion of being outdoors in an exotic locale.

Apart from diners at the back of the room, most of the audience were standing fairly well-packed in front of the stage. Marjorie and I were around ten rows of fans back from the stage, and the sound was very good and, as usual at Crowded House shows, not too loud. The drums sounded natural, without that annoying, larger-then-life quality that you get too often nowadays.

THE ENTRANCE

The band came onstage with the house and stage lights down, wearing those miner-style camping lamps that you put on your head. They played the first song, ‘Locked Out’, like that, so that you couldn’t really see their faces. I think some stage lights also swept across the audience. It was like a low-budget version of something Neil Young might do. Quite artistic, really, and it actually felt faintly moving that they might have been implying that they wanted to see the audience rather than being seen by them.

When they discarded the lamps and the stage lights came up we could see that they were wearing the trim, dapper suits that they seem to have taken to this century. Neil’s hair hasn’t got any rulier. Nick was almost shaven-headed.

A little later Neil revealed that he had cut his forehead (very slightly) taking the lamps off after the first song, and he and Nick joked about how rock’n’roll that was. They said that there was a fine line between rock’n’roll and stupidity, and I think it was Neil who wondered if there is a line at all. Someone said that rock’n’roll was stupidity with lamps attached.

They talked a bit about which shops they had searched in that day for the lamps, and of course it was endearing to know that it hadn’t been some kind of long-hatched, professionally staged stunt.

Once the lights came up we could see a fabric backdrop painted to look a little like wallpapered walls with framed paintings of various members of the band, along with a couple of slightly weird androgynous nudes. Probably Nick’s work, but I’m only guessing.

THE HELP

The band have often used auxiliary musicians over the years, with Neil’s son Liam recently holding down guitar duties, Eddie Rayner out of Split Enz playing his baroque keyboards in their early days, and I recall Jools their female roadie playing keyboards occasionally. Tonight Neil’s younger son, Elroy, lurked in the shadows playing acoustic and electric guitars for many of the songs. He sported a beard not quite as fulsome as his older brother’s, and an immaculately coiffed hairdo which could probably absorb quite a few bullets if necessary.

Rather more visible was Don McGlashan, who used to be the leader of the sadly defunct Mutton Birds, and must nearly equal Neil Finn as a beloved New Zealand singer-songwriter and all-round national treasure. Marjorie and I adored the Mutton Birds (BTW, you can see our names on ‘Flock’, their Greatest Hits CD!) so it was rather strange, and in fact unsettling, to see him up there as a general musical dogsbody and not get the chance to sing any of his own compositions. We had assumed he would be the support act, but no, that was the enjoyable but unremarkable Anika Moa.

Anyway, as I mentioned, Don was at least visually quite prominent, with a modest elevated home behind Nick stage left. He had a small electronic keyboard close to hand, a guitar or two, a little gourd-like mandolinish thingy, a toy piano, something like a fluegel horn, and of course, his trusty euphonium. When I spotted its comforting form I yelled in Marjorie’s ear, “Don’s got his euphonium!” and she nodded in enthusiastic acknowledgment. However, a minute later she yelled back in my ear, “I thought you said he’s got his wee podium!”

Don also popped up over on the Mark side of the stage playing the real keyboards once in a while.

THE MAIN SET

The review in Melbourne newspaper The Age* referred to the set as ‘fan-friendly’ and indeed it was. There was only one indisputable classic in the entire main set, ‘Fall At Your Feet’, and that didn’t come until near the end.

I guess I should fend off arguments by stating that ‘World Where You Live’, the second song, is a near-classic, but not quite of the same mass-recognisability as ‘Weather With You’ or ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ (which didn’t get an airing tonight).

The audience didn’t seem to mind the five new songs they played, although I have to say I found them a little dull, rather like some of the lesser songs on ‘Time On Earth’, the band’s first post-reformation album, which had started out as a Neil solo album. I expect they’ll grow on me, though.

‘Lucky’ was the title of one of the new songs and they attempted to throw in a bit of The Kinks’ ‘Lola’ but they didn’t really know the chords – there’s one to practise for next time! Another impromptu cover was ‘You Sexy Thing’, one I’ve heard them do before.

One of the greater songs on ‘Time On Earth’ was ‘Don’t Stop Now’, which to me was a little flat on this occasion. Nick seemed a little uncomfortable playing the keyboard bit at the beginning while holding his bass, and the whole thing never quite took off. I’ve seen them do it before perfectly successfully though – I guess it might have been just another thing to iron out on the warm-up show.

Pineapple Head segued into a cover of The Beatles’ ‘The End’ which was rather nice.

Neil referred to the fact that he had dreamed the previous night about being in bed with Ed O’Brien and Phil Selway out of Radiohead. Those two appeared on his ‘Seven Worlds Collide’ project a few years ago, and are scheduled to play with him again when he revisits the concept next year.

When Paul was around it seemed that almost all the banter and humour originated with him, but now Neil and Nick are almost as chatty as ever without him. Nick was famously very much against splitting the band, and you get the impression that he’s very happy indeed to be up there again. Perhaps the fact that he had become a father a few weeks previously also had a bearing on his cheerful demeanour. He talked with fondness about going that day to Bernard’s Magic Shop on Elizabeth Street which he used to visit as a child but realising now that all the toys and tricks were really crap.

At one point Neil managed to rib Nick, as he often does, about the Seymour Family Singers, his family’s band which he was in with his parents and siblings when he was growing up. Snippets from such classics as ‘Three Little Maids From School’ ensued.

The normally taciturn Mark actually went up to the mike and opened his mouth as if he was going to speak, but then changed his mind. Later on, though, he actually did come up with a few words, as I recall.

I was particularly happy to hear a couple of my favourites, ‘Not The Girl You Think You Are’ and ‘Whispers And Moans’, and the opening bars of both were greeted with warm recognition from the audience, suggesting that I am not the only one to hold those two songs in high regard. They also revived the great ‘Chocolate Cake’, which was preceded by a series of samples that featured in the Woodface recording of the song. Afterwards there were some allusions to Obama and his recently announced ‘Money Team’ but rather than give an unqualified vote of confidence to their ability to get the world out of recession, Neil circumspectly said, “we’ll just have to wait and see”.

Before the gig Marjorie and I had noted a person at the bar dressed up in fancy dress as 1965 Bob Dylan or John Cooper Clarke (take your pick) with elaborate yet immovable hair. During ‘Love You Til The Day I Die’ this creature joined the band, played a lively guitar solo and was introduced as Davey Lane from You Am I. There’s a tradition around here for people to chant “The Best Cold Beer Is Vic” at a certain point in this song, but tonight Neil had to do it himself with hardly any help from the audience, and he seemed a little disappointed. I think it was originally a Paul Hesterism, but perhaps someone can help me out with the story. The phrase itself is a slogan for our local king of beers, Victoria Bitter.

THE FIRST ENCORE

In the first encore we were treated to ‘It’s Only Natural’, another big fave of Marjie’s and mine, and it was good, as always, but they didn’t really play that odd but lovely riff properly at the beginning, and, as in all the Woodface Tim/Neil songs, Tim’s backing vocals were sorely missed. I’ve seen shows before where Mark did a reasonably good job of replicating them, but at this show they were very weak indeed and one had to sing them oneself to achieve anything approaching the desired effect. I guess this is what ‘warm-up’ shows are for!

Neil asked the audience if they had any questions for the band and then found a loose microphone on a lead and asked the audience to pass it around to the speakers. He asked us to police ourselves and was duly impressed by the orderly fashion in which this was done, and even more so by the fact that the microphone returned intact at the end of it all. (Not quite as cute as a tale I once heard of Don’s euphonium being crowd-surfed from soundboard to stage with a few detours in between.)

One guy mentioned that his wife was about to have a baby and had to miss the gig because of it. He requested that Mark think of a name for it if it turned out to be a girl, and Nick if it was a boy. He said he was serious and the name would actually be used, but Mark cruelly came up with ‘Atticus’, which he had heard on some TV program the night before. Neil made up a snatch of a song “Attaboy Addicus”. Nick asked what the surname would be (I forget) and came up with the very boring but much kinder suggestion, ‘Emily’.

Then some guy answered Neil’s earlier question to the audience about when the back balcony had got walled up by saying that when Neil played solo there in such-and-such a year it was still open, and after that gig he and his band had gone home and learned to play ‘Private Universe’. This, of course, was a cue for Neil to invite him and his friends to come up on stage and play the song, so they guy got up but the other two members took a while to materialise. So in the meantime some other enthusiastic bloke got up as well. I toyed with the idea of doing likewise but two things stopped me: (a) I don’t really like ‘Private Universe’ and (b) I wasn’t sure that I could succesfully climb up on to the stage. Of course I regretted it afterwards.

Eventually the other two guys materialised and with the help of the real band they played and sang the song. But for me the highlight was the young girl who clambered up unnoticed by Neil and proceeded to play along on Don’s euphonium! Audience participation is commonplace at Crowded House shows but I bet this was a first!

They finished the first encore with ‘Weather With You’, again suffering from sheer lack of Tim, but benefiting from Don playing enthusiastically on his little toy piano held up to the microphone and rather effective for it. This is yet another perfect singalong song, but as I’ve noticed before, there are two versions of the chorus, both of which resolve differently. Generally the audience doesn’t know which version is happening at any one time, and the thing collapses each time the resolution is reached and half the people sing a different thing from the other half. However Neil made much of the fact that, for the first time ever, we actually managed to get it right! That’s a hometown audience for you! He got us to run through it again both ways just to make sure.

THE SECOND ENCORE

Neil began by playing a lengthy drum solo while Matt wandered over to the keyboards and started making sounds. Neil attempted to get a rendition of Paul Hester’s ‘This Is Massive’ going but it didn’t really work out. Apart from this musical allusion, I don’t think Neil mentioned Paul at all, even though he was a Melbourne man and it would have seemed very natural to talk about him here. Neil regularly paid tribute to Paul frequently on the earlier tours of the reformed version of the band, but tonight he didn’t and afterwards I was absolutely amazed to realise that I had gone through the whole concert barely consciously thinking of him at all! I guess that’s a good thing in that it means that Matt is doing a great job on drums, but I almost felt guilty when it dawned on me.

Then it was ‘Fingers Of Love’ which Marjorie absolutely hates. I don’t mind it too much but Marjie’s detestation always rubs off on me a little so that I can’t really enjoy it.

Then they sang a live favourite, their version of Nick’s brother Mark’s ‘Throw Your Arms Around Me’. An audience sing-along classic if ever there was one. We were happy that Neil gave Don a verse to sing, and he sounded truly magnificent. Only made me more cross that he didn’t get to sing any of his own songs!

Neil was clearly wanting the night to go on for ever and said that he couldn’t think of a way to end it so he gave Matt a drum solo. Parts of it seemed to me to be modeled along the lines of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Moby Dick’ so I was wishing the band to come in with that riff, but they had worked another Zep riff into ‘Chocolate Cake’ earlier so perhaps they didn’t want to overdo it!

Nick treated us to a rendition of ‘Hector The Safety Cat’ which must be some old Aussie public information film. I don’t think Neil had heard that one before.

Then they finished the night with ‘Better Be Home Soon’ – always a good way to end it! Throughout the evening the band seemed genuinely moved by the reception they got, and Neil specifically said that he didn’t want it to end. The show had lasted almost three hours and after a wildly received bow or two from the entire ensemble, Nick concluded it by warmly thanking his hometown of Melbourne.

– DC Cardwell 2008

Neil Finn – some banter from the gig

SET LIST (compiled from some other versions posted on the web – may not be entirely accurate but thanks to the kind anons from whom I pinched it)

1. Locked Out
2. World Where You Live
3. Isolation
4. Turn It Round
5. Pineapple Head/The End
6. Amsterdam
7. Don’t Stop Now
8. People Are Like Suns
9. Chocolate Cake
10. Not The Girl You Think You Are
11. Heaven That I’m Making
12. Lucky/Lola
13. Fall At Your Feet
14. Whispers And Moans
15. Love You Til The Day I Die
16. When You Come

_______________

17. It’s Only Natural
18. Cars Collide
19. Private Universe
20. Distant Sun
21. Weather With You
_____________

22. Neil Drum Jam/This Is Massive
23. Fingers Of Love
24. Throw Your Arms Around Me
25. Matt Drum Solo
26. Better Be Home Soon

_____________________

*Our son Samuel had mentioned to me the review in The Age but I couldn’t find it, and after I’d thumbed through the paper for some time Marjorie revealed that she’d used a few pages to wrap the Christmas Cake as it baked in the oven. She was kind enough to save the relevant article after the cake came out, and now I know that newsprint can survive such ordeals unscathed. I’ve heard of ‘half-baked’ reviews before, but I have the ‘completely-baked’ one in front of me as I type. It looks just fine.

Review of Crowded House live at the Corner Hotel, Melbourne, Australia, 9th July, 2007 (by DC Cardwell)

Here are a few impressions of the Crowded House gig at the Corner Hotel in Melbourne last night (9th July). This was two days after they topped the bill at the Sydney Live Earth show. It was a sort of homecoming for them, as they had been based in Melbourne for most of their career and wrote and recorded a lot of their best music here. Bassist Nick Seymour is from Melbourne, as was the late Paul Hester, their drummer, who has been replaced in the reformed band by American Matt Sherrod.

Neil Finn’s son Liam was the support act, ably assisted by E-J (Jimmy Barne’s’ daughter) on vocals. Liam was really rather brilliant and E-J did a very impressive and unflappable job of keeping up with his racket with her singing. Liam played electric guitar (an SG) and in all the songs he did that thing where you set up a loop and then play another loop over the top of it, and so on. But, the thing is, he did it all in an incredibly ingenious and seamless manner. He must have nimble feet. For those who haven’t heard him, he’s really quite a dangerous competitor to his father in both his songwriting and singing. And he was rather charming too. And, oh yes, once in a while he’s set up a heavy set of guitar loops and then sit down at a handy drumkit and skillfully beat the living daylights out of it. He said that once he’s done that all his nerves are gone and he can relax. He did a lot of widdly heavy metal guitar and said that as his dad was making him play acoustic guitar for two hours later he was going to take the chance to play some solos in his own set.

There was a very loud grand finale with him on drums, masses of guitar loops and E-J wigging out on a rather ingenious musical instrument. It’s like a theremin, but here’s the ingenious part – you actually *touch* it to play it!

Then we had a long Crowded House set, a little bit rambling in the middle where they did a few of the songs off the new album that sound like, well, rambling Neil Finn solo songs, but that was OK. I’m not the kind of person who writes down or remembers entire set lists, so I won’t do a play-by-play. There was perhaps a slight surfeit of older and newer songs, with not so many from Woodface & Together Alone.

They started out with, “Recurring Dream”, which used to be a rare B-side until it showed up on their posthumous Afterglow album. I guess the title is appropriate, but it sounded fantastic as an opener. Next up was “Mean To Me”, perhaps a more traditional opener for them.

Sounding good, although the drums were way too loud in the mix and the bass was too quiet throughout the show. (We were about 7 rows back which was about a third the way between the stage and the bar.) The poor mix gave it a rather too heavy sound in the quieter songs where the drums were really quite annoying at times. Even when Matt was playing brushes the kick drum was overshadowing the whole mix. In the loud songs the balance was more appropriate.

“Sister Madly” was, well, you missed Paul doing his out front crazy antics as he used to in this song, but it was swinging and Nick was playing well. We could actually hear him in that one because there was a segment where Neil stopped playing his guitar and it got particularly jazzy. Mark Hart‘s piano solo was stunningly authentic be-bop with a lot of altered chords on the left hand. He’s a clever chap, you know! I’ve always enjoyed Mark’s playing on keyboards AND guitars immensely and he didn’t disappoint me last night.

Liam was playing acoustic guitar and additional keyboards for most of the set, leaving Neil free to play electric. He’s filling that role until he goes off later in the year to promote his own album. I just want to say that I want his job when he vacates the position!

Introducing “Pineapple Head”, Neil mentioned that there was still a bit of an unresolved issue between Liam and him, as Liam had written half the words, but he was in a state of delirium at the time. This famously happened when Liam was a young boy and had a fever.

Neil managed to somehow stuff up the intro to “Don’t Dream It’s Over” (only their most famous song!) and then said, “let’s try it a different way, let’s see we can murder the song!” The first verse was in a kind of a 16th-note feel but actually wasn’t that much different from the original, although Neil seemed chuffed with it. Then for the second verse they went into a reggae version. Matt and Nick made for a remarkably authentic rhythm section and Mark’s Jackie Mittoo impressions on his keyboard were spot-on.

“Nails In My Feet” was good, if marred by the too-loud drums. There’s a bit of stripping down happening in a lot of the songs, perhaps a slight further modernising of the sound, which takes them further in the direction begun around the time Eddie Rayner was replaced in their live shows and the sound became less baroque and more rock. I thought that was evident in the nice tight little Beatlesque Rock-Band Live Earth set. Overall there was a lot more messing around in the set last night, but still you could tell that some songs were a little more heads-down-no-nonsense-rock-n-roll.

“Locked Out” was fab. The TA version, much as I love it, always sounded a little untogether, as if they weren’t quite, well, I was going to say locked-in, and the pun was unintended!

Neil played a LOT of keyboards. “Walking On The Spot” was a highlight for me – no mess, no fuss.

I was surprised by the huge audience reaction to the new single, “Don’t Stop Now”. I mean, I *love* it and even though it’s maybe not quite a classic song, it has all the elements that to me make a great Crowded House sound. But the mainly diehard fan audience greeted it like the old classic that they’d all been waiting to hear, which I’m sure was very encouraging for the band!

“She Called Up” was another major moment. So hugely soulful. I love the studio version, but live, with Neil sitting behind a Fender Rhodes and singing more soulfully than I’ve ever heard him, I couldn’t help thinking of Ray Charles. And the lalala bit was spine-tingling.

Of course we couldn’t help thinking of Paul, who commited suicide in Melbourne a couple of years ago. Apart from his wonderful, inventive and slightly swinging drumming style, he brought a lot to the band with his totally uninhibited sense of humour and unpredictability. Anyone who has seen him would agree that *that* part of him was unique and irreplaceable. Neil dedicated his classic “Melbourne song”, as he called it, “Four Seasons In One Day” to Paul.

Well, you know, it was always going to be a huge thrill seeing them back together again, and even more so because of the intimate setting, and they didn’t disappoint!

Here are some of the songs I remember them doing, not in order:

  • Recurring Dream
  • Mean To Me
  • World Where You Live
  • Also Sprach Zarathustra (played with only one chord, or less)
  • Pineapple Head
  • Something So Strong
  • Love You ‘Til The Day I Die
  • Don’t Dream It’s Over
  • When You Come
  • Sister Madly
  • Fall At Your Feet
  • Red Sails in The Sunset (remarkably, played with only two chords)
  • Four Seasons In One Day
  • Locked Out
  • Nails In My Feet
  • Walking On The Spot
  • Nobody Wants To
  • Don’t Stop Now
  • She Called Up
  • Some other ones from the new album (I know, I know, it’s pathetic that I can’t remember – I was up very late last night!)

Review by DC Cardwell

 

Review of Split Enz at Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, 5 June 2006 (by DC Cardwell)

We went to see Split Enz in Melbourne last night at the Rod Laver Arena (home of the Australian Tennis Open), and we were lucky to be in the 6th row on the ground. The sound was perfect. The band came on in a big bag (looked like The Blob) and when they popped out they were wearing something Noel had made out of old curtains (so nothing new there), each member a different flavour of Olde English Spangle.

A long set with two sets of encores, and beautifully paced. Tim Finn was in magnificent voice. Sometimes he’s a bit shaky and you think, “why did he write the songs in those high keys?” but last night he hit every note and his voice was strong and true. He was the most active and energetic member and did a lot of running around. Neil Finn seemed slightly in his shadow, but I’ve often noticed that Neil takes a bit of a back seat when Tim’s on stage – he also smiles more when Tim’s there and seems to always just be admiring him.

I Hope I Never was particularly sublime, and Six Months In A Leaky Boat was probably my highlight of a night in which you realised what an incredible catalogue of memorable tunes they have to choose from.

I See Red was tremendously exciting as usual. One Step Ahead, I Got you, History Never Repeats, Matinee Idyll… I’m afraid I’m not the kind to make careful note of the entire set.

Eddie Rayner was in good form – I often found him a bit over-baroque whan he played with Crowded House (Mark Hart was more appropriate for them) but he was an absolute rock last night and played with style and swing on the electronic keyboard and occasionally on the acoustic piano, which was attacked at various times by him, Tim and Neil.

Noel Crombie and Malcolm Green shared drum duties, playing together in a few songs, and each playing percussion when the other was at the kit. Noel took his traditional spoon solo to great applause, and some of the audience played along on spoons which were handed out by the faithful Frenz Of The Enz leader, Peter Green.

Noel also did the whole Hendrix thing with an electric guitar at one point, banging it off the floor a bit but sadly stopping short of smashing it or setting it on fire. I expect he’ll destroy it on the last night.

A few people dressed up for the occasion, and there was one interesting woman who looked like a particularly colourful bag lady with a red fisherman’s hat. She was in about row 3 in front of us and when a towel appeared on stage and the banter turned to the famous Enz towel-flicking days, they asked for a volunteer to “proffer” their rear-end. The psychedelic tramp made herself obvious and was duly invited onstage, and graciously adopted the appropriate position for Eddie to flick skillfully in her direction. Tim then asked us all to forget this moment had ever happened.

Nigel Griggs seemed to be enjoying himself immensely on bass, too and I don’t think he realised Tim was hiding behind him at one point – every way he turned as he danced, Tim kept right behind him.

So it was a classic warm night of Finn-related music. Tim name-checked Phil Judd, and I hope he was in the audience. Without him the Enz would never have been what they are. Mike Chunn was there – Tim asked him a question at one point and he piped up loudly. There was enough banter and joking around to keep us happy and good nature was very much in evidence.

The support band, Evermore were charming and sounded great although the songs started to seem pretty lightweight after a while – simple chords with predictable anthemic melodies like so many other bands nowadays. This feeling was only enhanced when the Enz played song after song without an uninteresting moment from beginning to end.

So – a great night. I never saw the Enz when they existed, so it was quite an event for me, and if all was right in the world they would be touring the globe and the whole world would be having good nights out and singing along with their unhinged masterpieces.

Review by DC Cardwell