NEIL FINN has told NME.COM that his superstar-studded five-night stand in AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND, is a “mind-expanding” experiment.
Finn was speaking before the show last night (Tuesday, April 3), and acknowledged that the artists joining him onstage had very different musical backgrounds – Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder, Radiohead‘s Ed O’Brien and Phil Selway, Johnny Marr formerly of The Smiths, Lisa Germano, and guests including his brother Tim and 17-year-old son Liam.
But he commented: “There was just a willingness for the show [Monday’s opening night] to be good, and so it was. When you get people who are really good onstage, even when they don’t come from the same background – as we obviously don’t – if there’s a combined will to make good music, it’s a mind-expanding thing, really.”
The group began rehearsals at Crowded House‘s studio at Karekare, on Auckland’s west coast, a week ago.
He had already sent out the set-list – which included much of the Finn back catalogue, from Split Enz to Crowded House and material from his acclaimed new solo album, ‘One Nil’ – and “scared the shit out of everyone”. The original barrage of songs was whittled down to an interchangeable set of 40 numbers, which will vary from gig to gig.
“We had an amazing rehearsal out in a barn. We worked for 10 hours a day, with jetlag, but it felt effortless. It was like we were on holiday because we were having such a brilliant time.”
rendition by Vedder of ‘Better Man’ – which he announced by saying these were his first shows since the US election and he had a lot of anger stored up, and so it proved.
Vedder also sang the Split Enz classics ‘I Got You’ and
‘History Never Repeats’ with Betchadupa, Finn‘s son Liam’s band, as his backing band.
It was Finn‘s own songs people had come to hear, however, and the biggest cheers were reserved for ‘Four Seasons In One Day’, ‘Weather With You’, and the perfect closing number, ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’.
As much as being a brilliant exercise in music-making, the gigs have also been a great excuse for the musicians to play with some of their own personal heroes, Finn said: “Last night onstage I was looking at Ed O’Brien, and he’s a major, major Johnny Marr fan. I was going, ‘It’s Johnny Marr’ to him, and he knew exactly what I was going on about.”
Film crews have been recording the concerts, being staged at Auckland’s turn-of-the-century St James Theatre.
The closing gig on Friday will be webcast LIVE on NME.COM, kicking off at 7.30am (GMT) with the two-part live performance plus candid backstage shots during the interval. The show will be broadcast again at 8.30pm (GMT) and available later on demand.