Last night I accompanied my betrothed to the Crowded House concert at Theatre St Denis. I’m not a huge Crowded House fan, but she is, so I just went along to keep her company. It was a crowded house, apart from a few empty seats in the front row which almost caused a stampede when Neil Finn suggested people should fill them.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. There were two other acts before Neil and his band took the stage. First up was Liam Finn, Neil’s son, who did a quick set of three songs on his own, singing, playing guitar, going crazy on the drums, and waving his wa-wa joystick about. It was innovative, creative, and slightly manic.
Second on stage was Pete Yorn, who started on his own with an acoustic number before bringing the rest of his band on for a fun set, in which he played the drums as his drummer had been “detained at the border”. The songs were upbeat and foot-tappingly good, and rounded off nicely by a rendition of Elvis’ Suspicious Minds.
Finally Crowded House came on stage to a standing ovation and launched straight into a couple of their hit songs, before settling back for a few less well known (to me anyway) numbers. In the breaks between songs the band joked with each other and with the audience, about lederhosen and Avant Garde underwear, breakfast in the John and Yoko suite, empty front row seats and whether or not they’d been to Montreal before.
Towards the end of the set they got the crowd on their feet before two encores, finishing the evening with an audience sing-a-long of Take the Weather With You.
I’m always very cynical about concert encores, especially when the band are so obviously guaranteed to be coming back, whatever the audience does. It’s even more obvious when the roadies bring on new pieces of set after the band have “said goodnight”. But the encores got the crowd going, and the concert finished very nicely with a group bow from the band before they all ran to the front of the stage to shake hands with the front row of the audience and Nick Seymour made comments to audience members further back.
So, despite not being a big fan, I enjoyed the concert. We had good seats, about 13 rows back with a clear view, despite the 6′ tall guy who sat in front of me at one point before switching places with his shorter friend. It’s always a pleasure to see a band obviously having fun and making an effort to interact with the audience, and the music was pretty good too.