I'm getting ready for a real update soon, after I catch the Gang of Four show tonight and, with any luck, the Coldplay gig tomorrow (not bloody likely), but my dear friend Heidi and her pal Brian managed to dig up my review of a monumental Jon Brion show from last year. So before another board/PC crashes and I don't get to see this again, I'll post this for posterity.
Jon Brion + friends, Largo, Feb. 20, 2004: I'll spare you the excruciating details of Jon Brion's set, except that he played my request for "Milkshake," the Kelis song. We weren't sure he was going to do it, but once that beat kicked in, we had no doubt. Of course, the vocoder-treated vocals and the freaky keyboard bits helped a lot too. Out of all the covers I've heard at Largo, "Milkshake" is certainly one of the least likely tunes I would've expected, but damn, it was fun!!!!!
Anyway, Neil Finn made a surprise appearance at Largo this past Friday. No one said why he's in town, but I suspect it may have something to do with the upcoming Finn Brothers album. All I know is that from our seat at the back of the room, I nearly had a heart attack during dinner when I saw him wandering about. Seriously, I could barely breathe when I spied him. To think that I've been conspiring for about four years now to catch one of his impromptu shows at Largo, and Neil just happens to show up the weekend that my friends convinced me to go.
Neil joined the openers, Goldenboy, for a few songs. For those unfamiliar with Goldenboy, it's basically Shon Sullivan, who played with Neil on his last couple of tours and also with the eels on their most recent tour. He had a few other musicians joining him, including Neil's drummer from the last tour. After about three or four songs, Shon introduced Neil, at which point gasps could be heard through the audience. Neil approached the stage with a small cupcake atop which sat a single lit candle for Shon's birthday. We sang "Happy Birthday" to him, then Neil joined in for a handful of songs, taking the piano, then the guitar, as well as backing vocals.
Jon followed with his usual set, complete with original songs, covers, and a couple of small freakouts. After a short break, Jon, Neil, Shon, and Scott came back out around 1 a.m. and commenced the second set. I couldn't believe that people actually left before Neil came on. I mean, this is the stuff of Largo legend. Sheesh.
They began with a standard that Neil said was his father's favorite song, "I Can't Get Started with You." From there, they went into a number of Neil Finn classics, and they rounded out the set with Benmont Tench on the piano, helping them on a bunch of covers.
Before they started "Hole in the River," Neil commented that Flanagan assured him that the entire band already knew the song, but it was obvious that they were just making it up as they went along, as they all stared at Neil for musical cues through the song. I thought I had pretty much died and gone to heaven when Neil sang "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow," but that may have been topped by "I'm So Tired" with Neil on lead vocals (and forgetting the lyrics), Jon on backing vocals, and Benmont hitting the toy piano now and then. Just before that was another classic moment, where the entire supergroup literally put their heads together to figure out what song to do next, and we overheard Jon recommending a song because "it only has one chord." That song turned out to be "Tomorrow Never Knows." They nearly ended with "You Really Got Me" done in three different styles: traditional, "acoustic folk," and Merle Travis. But they came back for a medley of a rockabilly song I didn't recognize, then "Jeepster," then "That's All Right Mama."
Then it was 2 a.m. and we finally went home. As soon as we reached the car, I called Largo's answering machine and made a reservation for Neil's show at Largo a week later. Here's the setlist as best as I can tell:
--Someone Else's Problem Now
--I Was Happy with You
--Why Do You Do This to Yourself
--I'm on a Roll with You
--Walking through Walls
--I'll Take You Any Day
--You Made the Girl
JON BRION AND NEIL FINN
--I Can't Get Started with You
--Driving Me Mad
--Hole in the River
--Not the Girl You Think You Are
--Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow
--Tomorrow Never Knows
--I'm So Tired
--You Really Got Me
--unidentified song/Jeepster/That's All Right Mama
» top 5 Largo memories
» get a load of the lengths I go to