London Highbury Garage

If Andrew Lloyd Webber werre to have a go at rock it would be like this...

It starts with an airstrike. A paper plane whizzes past Neil Finn’s nose, falters, then settles on his guitar. He opens it, grinning and noting the scrawled song request inside from Louise on the front row. Naturally, Louise gets her song, and her night is duly made because this, folks, is showbusiness.

Indeed, if Andrew Lloyd Webber were to have a go at rock, it would be as polished as this: edges smoothed, stage manoeuvres rehearsed to match the light show and about an hour-and-a-half too long. Impossible to love, this is bland and tedious to the point where torture would be a soft option by comparison.

There’s something intrinsically tragic about it all, as the middle-aged devotees dance in the aisles trying to remember the last time they had so much fun, and Neil prays no-one notices that the only things worth listening to are acoustic versions of old Crowded House numbers.

Everything else rambles by in a haze of instrument swapping and cheesy banter about Monica Lewinsky and getting drunk, like a bunch of patience-trying teenagers when their parents have left the room. None of which disguises the dismal lack of tunes that constitute Neil’s solo career; the best (‘Last One Standing’, ‘Sinner’ at a push) resembling limp Crowded House B-sides and the worst (er, everything else) Bryan Adams Unplugged. Someone should have ordered a real airstrike.