I've cooled on reunion tours in the last few years, but I reserve the right to change my mind, especially when it comes to a band whose music I've loved for more than two decades. That band is Crowded House, and after missing their last two tours of the United States, I mended the errors of my ways by hitting their gig at the Warfield.
Crowded House, the Warfield, August 23, 2010: Regular readers of this blog may or may not recall the days of when MTV played actual music videos, but the legends are true: There was such a time! As a burgeoning music nerd, I crammed in as many hours in front of the TV set as I could, though that might not be saying much since my family didn't have cable. Trust me--I watched plenty of videos. Funny thing, though, I don't care for many of those bands anymore, but I'm still very fond of Crowded House.
You have to take the following paragraph with a huge grain of salt because I don't trust my memory on this front. As I recall, however, when Crowded House finally broke through in the United States circa 1986-1987, their earnest, unpretentious sound signified a huge departure from many of the groups I usually liked at the time. Of course there were predecessors in the jangly, folksy vein, but none of them hit heavy rotation on MTV, which made all the difference in the world. I was hooked, and the fascination has carried through for, well, decades.
Clearly, this history is not mine alone; take a look around a typical Crowded House show, and you'll likely see a majority of faces of a certain age, myself included. Listen in, though, and you may decide this is no mere nostalgia tour. For a band with only two official hits in the United States, Crowded House can sure get a lot of people singing along to their songs, even their deep album cuts.
You sort of expect it with the likes of "Fall at Your Feet" or "Four Seasons in One Day," both of which Neil intentionally handed over to the audience. However, I heard plenty of voices around me for the moodier and less obvious numbers such as "Nails in Your Feet" and "Kare Kare." Personally, I was happy to hear so many songs from Together Alone, which occupies a special place in my memories; the band's looser musical direction on that disc doesn't hurt either.
I have to give my friend a lot of credit for making this show such a memorable one. Crowded House has long encouraged audience requests, and they took up the challenge early on in the gig with an attempt at Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing." My friend was much more proactive with her request, providing a sizable scroll of paper with the lyrics to "Tombstone" written out in large, legible letters. Neil couldn't refuse, and the crowd got to hear a true rare gem.
I can't resist the urge to connect the dots between my most adored performers, and I'm pretty sure those years of listening to Crowded House paved, in part, the path to the musicians I love so much these days. In fact, it's not just conjecture; Neil Finn has collaborated with my two favorite artists, and I've been able to witness at least one of those partnerships on several occasions. Heck, we even sort of forced a crossover moment with the other songwriter in question last year. I may or may not be back for another Crowded House tour, but it's no exaggeration to say that they've been a part of my musical DNA for a long time now and to come.
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