Crowded House, Peter Gabriel / June 23, 2007 / London (Hyde Park)
"We got the sun, we got the sun ... While it's raining at Glastonbury," Neil Finn adlibbed two songs into Crowded House's first London show in 11 years, flashing a smile that owed as much to his delig"We got the sun, we got the sun ... While it's raining at Glastonbury," Neil Finn adlibbed two songs into Crowded House's first London show in 11 years, flashing a smile that owed as much to his delight at being back with 'the Crowdies as an upturn in the weather.
Which is just as well, because his band's planned 90-minute set was cut short by a torrential downpour as, er, four seasons in one day materialized right on cue just after the song of the same name.
Between the weather's extremes, Finn's rejuvenated band -- featuring full-time members Nick Seymour (bass), Mark Hart (guitar and keyboards) and new drummer Matt Sherrod, augmented by the Kiwi's eldest son Liam on guitar -- romped through a selection of their sublime pop hits.
"Weather With You" and "Fall At Your Feet" both featured impressive audience sing-alongs. Those gems along, with other classics like "Locked Out," "Distant Sun" and "Private Universe," were mixed with tunes from the upcoming album "Time on Earth." The combination made for a thoroughly enjoyable outing, and confirmed that their U.S. jaunt later this summer is a must-see.
The new numbers, which included first single "Don't Stop Now" and the stunning "Silent House," also confirmed Finn's knack for a melancholic melody is very much intact. The enthusiasm with which all were performed suggested this reformation, unlike others doing the rounds this summer, is not an exercise in nostalgia.
But what Crowded House lacked in the nostalgia stakes headliner Peter Gabriel made up for in spades, delivering a set full of vintage favorites that fans had chosen via a poll on his Web site.
But while lesser-known album tracks and rarities such as "On Tte Air," "Family Snapshot," "DIY" and "Lovetown" no doubt delighted the partisan element, it was a bit much for the uninitiated. Remember, this show was part of a festival of sorts (Hyde Park Calling), and the casual listeners were only stirred into action by a stunning final salvo of "Solsbury Hill," "Sledgehammer" (Gabriel's only sing-along) and the ever-wonderful "In Your Eyes."
Musically, it was a reliably consummate performance, but on this damp night, the set somewhat lacked the warmth of the weather -- good and bad -- that Crowded House brought with them.