You’d be hard pushed to find any music fan with a good word to say about the aural aircraft hangar that is Glasgow’s SECC, so you could understand if we weren’t drooling with anticipation at the prospect of squinting to see four dots called CROWDED HOUSE there last Friday for their all-seated gig. How foolish we were to underestimate them.
We defy anyone to suggest the sound was anything other than crisp-clear. Was it the band’s doing or some super-engineer? Who knows, but they managed the impossible – by the end of the night the gig almost felt intimate.
The set was a 70-30 mix of the beautiful pop that has sold millions together with tracks from their most recent album Time On Earth. Understandably, it was the classics that made it so special. A pounding, bassy Private Universe kicked things off, while the timeless splendour of Distant Sun was fondly greeted with a mass singalong.
But while Crowded House themselves couldn’t be faulted for entertainment value with their constant bantering and in-band put-downs, it was only after their invitation to the audience to abandon their seats that the concert changed from good to great.
With the band able to see the whites of their followers’ eyes, the quartet gleefully responded, lifting the tempo with Mean To Me, Something So Strong and the mighty Locked Out, three songs any rock group would be proud to call their own. During Weather With You, Neil Finn even went for a mad dash round the entire SECC, high-fiving everyone he met along the way, prompting bassist Nick Seymour to yell “You’re as mad as a seagull!” to his erstwhile leader from the stage.
While Neil, Nick and Mark Hart clearly haven’t lost any of the camaraderie that made them such endearing live performers over a decade ago, the ridiculously talented new drummer Matt “Shredder” Sherrod adds youthful exuberance to a band who have rediscovered the joy of playing together.
4 Crowded House – Locked Out (live at Sydney Opera House, 1996)