Neil Finn Singing ‘Silent House’

There was a time, back when Linda was working for A&M, that we saw a lot of concerts. Some of them were good, some were just so-so, but sprinkled in there are some memories I treasure 20 years later: Mark Mothersbaugh kicking glasses off our table as he whipped the crowd into a frenzy during ‘Whip It’, Joe Jackson recreating the entire ‘Blaze of Glory’ album, and Steve Winwood playing ‘Dear Mr. Fantasy’. But at the top of that list of memories is Crowded House.

Since then we’ve made a point of seeing them every chance we’ve had, and now that they’ve reformed to release a studio album and do a US tour we’re counting the days until the Santa Barbara show two weeks from now.

There’s something about the way Neil Finn performs live that is completely pure and natural; he strolls across the stage, strumming the guitar, head back as he looks into the sky, and it’s as if the performance goes away; there’s no band, no crowd; just this guy with music pouring out of him.

When I try to explain Crowded House to people who don’t get them, it’s hard, and I understand that there’s a problem there. On first listen, a Crowded House album usually makes me feel like, “Huh. That’s pleasant enough, if kind of lightweight and innocuous.” But Linda will give me that look and say, “no, you’ve got to listen again,” and I will, and the second or third time through something will ignite. I think of Crowded House as the closest thing we have to what the Beatles would be today if they hadn’t fractured and dissipated, but were still making music the way they did at their peak. I realize those are fighting words for some people, but that’s the effect the music has on me.

Yesterday I was working at the computer and listening to ‘Time on Earth’, and I put the song ‘Silent House’ into ‘Repeat One’ mode in iTunes. Before I knew it I’d listened to the song for over an hour. Is that wacky? The song touches a part of me that’s been going through some personal grief lately, and it’s a comfort to have it. I (obviously) really like the studio version (which they appear to be streaming from the Crowded House website at the moment), but the YouTube video posted above, in which Neil Finn sings the song with Elly-May Barnes at a cerebral palsy benefit concert she did in February of this year, is pretty cool.

One Response to “Neil Finn Singing ‘Silent House’”

  1. shcb Says:

    Sorry to hear of your personal trials, our thoughts and prayers are with you sir.

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