Crowded House is one of those bands that is all tied up with my (slightly misspent) youth. They’re about R2 drinks and Happy Hour at Monks Inn, tricking bouncers into believing that we were 19 rather than 15 (I think I wore more make up as a teenager than I have in all my adult years combined!) and teenage crushes on boys in bands. They’re about carefree happiness and singing along at the top of your lungs. I didn’t go to see them when they came to SA previously, probably because the limited funds in those high school years were reserved for R2 drinks, but now that I’m older and wiser (ahem), I thought it’d be a great idea to check them out on their return to Durban.
The support act for the evening was Farryl Purkiss, who is always a favourite of mine. I love his laidback rich tones, and his easygoing stage presence. I think he was conscious of the fact that it was just him on a rather large stage, so he did that nifty thing that some artists do, and recorded himself while playing, and then played over that. If you know what I mean. Like playing with himself, only a bit more polite. He took great pains to explain to the audience that he was not using backing tracks – “I’m not Justin Bieber” were his exact words, which made me giggle – and generally the crowd ate it up. The only criticism I have is that he only played three songs. I could have done with a few more.
And then it was time for Crowded House. Let’s face it. These guys are not really getting any younger. I was a bit nervous about how things were going to go down, particularly when I saw that we were amongst the youngest people there – total mutton dressed as lamb convention! But Crowded House played with more energy and enthusiasm, and for almost two hours, than some bands I have seen that are thirty years their junior. You know if you can get your audience to sing along with huge gusto from the very first song, you’re doing something incredibly right. It was an evening of intense nostalgia and mass karaoke. They played all the old favourites, and a sprinkling of newer material, and I’m pretty sure a lot of people had lost their voices by the end of it. Neil Finn is charismatic, friendly and funny on stage, chatting to the audience throughout and downing the beers that crowd members handed to him. Even the sound was excellent (it has been known to be somewhat less than at this particular venue) and all in all, it was one of the best gigs I have been to in a really long time. And now I can’t get Distant Sun out of my head.