ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 5, 1991
When a band has as much fun on stage as Crowded House usually does, it’s pretty hard for it not to rub off on the audience. At the Orpheum last Sunday (September 1), the four Aussie pranksters could do no wrong with their playful approach to live performance. Of course, having an awesome supply of precious pop-rock melodies doesn’t hurt, either.
“Good evening Vancouver, you’re looking good!” declared Neil Finn, when in fact it was he and his mates who were the sharp-dressed men in blue, red, green, and purple suits. Crowded House has always been a powerful act in concert, but the recent addition of Neil’s older brother Tim to the line-up has poured some fuel on the fire—he adds a bit of Lennon wit to the band’s Beatlesque mentality, coming up with smart-ass comments like “Bring me my guitar, you stupid boy, I don’t care if it’s in tune or not.”
And the guy can sing, too, especially when harmonizing with his bro on lovely ballads like “Fall at Your Feet” and “Four Seasons in One Day” (the band’s big hit, “Don’t Dream It’s Over”, was strangely absent). The former Split Enz members also went back in time to resurrect their jaunty bit of Kiwi schmaltz, “Six Months in a Leaky Boat”.
Drummer Paul Hester—the type of guy who doesn’t think twice about changing the logo on his Pearl bass drum to spell his own name—was his usual wacky self, but his goofball approach never got in the way of his formidable percussive talents. His three-mile smile during “Something So Strong” couldn’t help but make you grin along with a person who has such an obvious riot and gets paid for it.
And Nick Seymour—the sunken-eyed bassist from Australia who’s a dead ringer for Vancouver Sun rock critic John Mackie—kept the ship firmly anchored with his seemingly effortless bass runs.
The easygoing, informal structure of a Crowded House show was exemplified by Neil’s invitation for somebody—anybody—to hop on stage and sing a tune. An enthusiastic youngster named Jason did just that, crooning bravely to “Better Be Home Soon” and winning roars of approval from the crowd.
When the guest vocalist’s time was up, Neil encouraged the crowd to pass him around over their heads, but the kid only got about three feet off the stage before being abandoned and tumbling, back-first, to the floor. But what’s a few bruises when you’ve just tasted stardom?