Masonic Lodge, NYC
July 19, 2007
By David Chiu
Rock and roll reunions are usually a mixed bag with disappointing results. Fortunately in the case of Crowded House, who split up in 1996, it’s a welcomed and pleasant return.
Founding members, singer/guitarist Neil Finn and bassist Nick Seymour, are in this incarnation of the band, and joined by longtime multinstrumentalist Mark Hart and new drummer Matt Sherrod (Original drummer Paul Hester died in 2005). The band had just released a new album, Time on Earth, their first since 1993, and are embarking on a world tour that includes two dates in New York City this month.
In July, Crowded House gave a preview to a New York audience of what to expect of their forthcoming tour with a performance at the Masonic Lodge. Finn, the main songwriter and voice, showed he had lost none of his melodic gifts. That was the case with the some of the new songs from Time on Earth such as the buoyant “Don’t Stop Now.” They meshed well with the older and familiar Crowded House tunes such as “Pineapple Head,” the rocking “Locked Out” and “Fall at Your Feet.” The encore included the wonderful “Something So Strong,” “Better Be Home Soon,” and of course, their biggest hit, a semi-acoustic rendition of “Don’t Dream It’s Over.”
The low-key intimacy and setting of the Masonic Lodge suited the music well. Finn and Nick Seymour appeared to be enjoying playing together again as demonstrated by their musicianship. Mark Hart showed his musical versatility as he alternated between guitar and keyboards. While the absence of the late Paul Hester was sadly noticeable, the superb, muscular drumming of Matt Sherrod offset it.
In this country the band will be forever associated with their 1987 smash hit “Don’t Dream It’s Over.” But overall they also had a consistent body of work, and the concert was a reminder of that.
Crowded House will be playing on Aug. 8 and 9 at the Beacon Theater. For information, visit www.crowdedhouse.com.