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Crowded House: Farewell to the World

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Listen in with Bob and Elise as we check out the new Crowded House release:

E: Did you read the liner notes?

B: Not yet.

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E: This is Crowded House’s 1996 “farewell” concert performed live six months after drummer Paul Hester quit in the middle of their last tour. It says he left suddenly because he missed his family. But who suddenly leaves mid-tour from homesickness? Sounds more like he left in a huff.

B: Either that or he’s got one hell of a fun family. Well this is about what I remember, polite, creatively arranged 80s-ish pop. Ooh, a horn section!

E: I have old Split Enz concert footage from an 80s Night Flight episode. I seem to remember it just going on forever, and the guy had gigantic hair. So which part of this band was in Split Enz?

B: Paul Hester and the singer, Neil Finn, were in Split Enz before they formed Crowded House.

E: His singing is very shout-y. The audience loves them. But it seems like the recording can’t quite capture the excitement of the live performance. It seems muted.

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B: I saw them once at the WOMAD festival in 1993. They weren’t all that exciting there either. But they’re not really a wild-abandon kind of band.

E: The liner notes make it sound like they are Australia’s Beatles. Their fans are very intense. It talks about “the legend that is Crowded House”. When it complains about Neil Finn breaking up the band, it says, “In one sense it was his to break up. In another sense it was our group as much as his.” I thought Paul Hester broke up the band. Maybe it’s a bad sign I’m intently reading the liner notes while the CD is playing. So far this is kind of boring.

B: Not what you’d call power-pop, is it? Maybe this is the spiritual godfather of all those weak-ass bands that fill up “The O.C.” and what not. Well, no, it’s better than that, but it’s stuck on one level of intensity and I’m starting to drift.

E: Wait. Oh my God, did you hear that lyric? “The thunderclap of blood pouring into the rain of my emotions” What song is this? It’s called When You Come Oh my God, these lyrics, “…like a cumulonimbus...” He definitely took Meteorology. These are the best lyrics ever.

B: Slayer is much more convincing singing about raining blood.