Saturday, September 06, 2008


A long while back, I wrote about a really awesome band called Split Enz. They broke up about 25 years ago, so I don't get the chance to talk about them in casual conversation. Check the link, you may remember a bit of what I said. I'm also going to update the current Song of the Moment to a Split Enz tune.

That blog post ended with
*sigh* It would have been really great to see them live.
How strange then when earlier this week I discovered that Tim Finn, the former leader of Split Enz was going to be performing in a dive bar in Salt Lake City. He's concentrated on a solo career for the past 20 years. Would he remember to play some really old stuff? Was it worth dropping 20 bucks just to find out?

I figured it was worth it just to see the guy. I mean, I've been a Split Enz fan for like 15 years, so that's just a little more than a dollar a year. Quite a deal. Even if he played no Enz, it would still be great just to see the guy. Surprisingly, I tend to get pretty star-struck with celebrities. Whenever I see one I want to go up and talk to them and I always try to think of a really cool way to have the conversation so that they'd think I was cool and not just another obnoxious guy. In my head, I'm always obnoxious in such situations, though.

Like with most things like this, I told nobody and I went alone. Most people don't consider going to movies alone much less concerts, but I do it all the time. Don't need friends for that. The performer is my friend enough. Perhaps I should have brought somebody, though. In the early '80s Split Enz were international superstars. Their next incarnation, Crowded House, was even bigger. Millions of records sold. As recently as the late '90s the gang played in front of thousands in front of the Sydney Opera House. When Tim took the stage I counted the members of the audience. There were 37 of us.

His band was just a couple of other guys -- a keyboardist and guitarist. VERY low-key. Tim played the same acoustic the whole time and also manned the drum set -- which was a single bass drum by his foot.

But was he going to push his new stuff? Sure, but it wasn't long before he broke out into the really old stuff. It was very Split Enz heavy (despite the fact that if anything, his Crowded House stuff was more recent and more popular): "Shark Attack," "Dirty Creature," "I See Red," "Six Months in a Leaky Boat," "Poor Boy," "My Mistake" and "I Got You" (which was a very curious choice, since it was his brother's song, not his). The old Enz songs were great with Tim's marchy bass drum.

Here's "I Got You." You may have heard it before. It's a great example of Enz. The minimalism really works with the ideas of jealousy and paranoia. The introverted spooky verse and the outbursty chorus are great next to each other. I couldn't help but sing along. I've ruined so many dang concert videos by my singing along.

Eventually more people showed up. Everyone had a great time. I didn't expect it to be too happenin'. I mean, this guy is all old and silver-haired and stuff. But I heard the songs live. 48 hours earlier I was still under the impression that it was something I'd never be able to do.

After the show he was kind enough to chat and take photos with the attendees outside by the tour bus. He only had a couple of minutes before his manager carted him off somewhere (in a beat-up 1985 Ford), so I didn't get a picture with him or much of a chance to talk. But I did shake his hand and tell him that I never thought I'd ever see those songs performed live.

I wanted to ask about his brother and what he's doing, or maybe, if I did it right, I could have asked about the old Split Enz/Crowded House drummer, Paul Hester, who committed suicide a couple of years ago. I would've just been dorky, though. I did actually consider getting an audio drop from him. Do you think he would have let me record him saying "Hi, this is Tim Finn from Split Enz and Crowded House and you're listening to J.R. Watches Star Trek for the first time?"


Blogger Maria said...

That is pretty cool. I'm sure he would have helped you out with the sound bite. Even though, that may have been the awkward conversation you were worried about..."What is this for?"

September 06, 2008 7:22 AM  
Blogger Maker said...

Actually, it sounds like a great time. I'm glad he played some oldies for you.

I used to like a couple Niel Finn songs. Kind of folky but good.


September 06, 2008 2:51 PM  
Blogger Lynda said...

Good on you Jon. The Finn boys are very much loved all over the world and you can visit the Frenz of the Enz website to see what they are up to.

Crowded House are still in production of their new album after touring on and off for the last 12 months. And all of us Frenz are waiting in anticipation.


September 07, 2008 10:38 PM  

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