February 20, 2005
Finn Brothers at the Mercy Lounge, Nashville
Ultimately, it was a good show. A lot of people had traveled to see the Finns. For the most part, really nice, normal people. I met one of the press photographers, a freelancer. We were near the stage and ended up chatting. Friendly guy, definitely into music. He offered to send me a picture from the show, so I gave him my email address. He said he was covering the Elvis Costello show at the Ryman Auditorium in a few weeks. For a moment, I wanted to ask him if he could send me a picture from that show, something I could send to Mike. And then I remembered.
During the show, I was thisclose to slugging a guy who was taller and heavier than me. I know I would have hurt him, and I would have enjoyed it, at least until I came back to my senses and gotten kicked out. Good sense prevailed, although I'm still trying to shake off the ugly vibes of those feelings.
If I may take a moment...It's always a shame when somebody in the audience has to be a real jerk and taint the experience for everyone else. Being a fan doesn't mean you get to scream "NEIL FINN! NEIL F*CKING FINN!" all night long. It doesn't mean you get to stick your cameraphone in Neil's face and interrupt him, mid-song, to make him look up so he can pose for your stupid picture. It doesn't mean you should sing along, loudly and badly. It doesn't mean you get to jump around, spilling your drink and smashing into me and my friends. And yet, despite your being such a stupid frat-boy prick, Neil's still gracious enough to shake your paw which you thrust at him at the end of the show.
And here I was, worried that the dysfunctional redneck couple from Atlanta was going to be the problem. The woman, who proclaimed herself an educator, who clearly hadn't been to many sold-out shows in music clubs, complained about being surrounded by the "wacky" crowd of "rat bastards" with drinks in their hands - like those of us standing around her. She told her husband, repeatedly, how horrible he was and that she was going to kill him at midnight.
The show was broadcast live by the local radio station. I wonder how they handled the F-bomb Neil dropped multiple times when he was telling the story about Nigel Griggs in Atlanta during their Split Enz days. For the most part, it was Neil and Tim performing, accompanied by Tim Smith, a musician who toured with them the last time around and is based in Atlanta. Tim seemed a little more mellow, a little more relaxed. The set list was a good mixture of songs from their various collective albums, so there was music from the current album, from Neil and Tim's solo efforts, as well as a few Crowded House and Split Enz tunes. Definitely a good balance of stuff.
I'm always mixed about people singing along, though. People get caught up in the moment. Or maybe they forget that they're seeing the live person and think they're in their car or their living room, singing along to the record. I mean, are you there to listen, or to make the experience all about you? But then again, I sang a bit, but it was more like mouthing the words, nothing really audible. It's the inevitable thing that happens, especially when the crowd favorites like "Don't Dream It's Over" and "Weather With You" are performed. Which the Finns must be used to by now. Didn't stop me from wondering what it would be like to give Drunk Lardy Frat-Boy a black eye, though.
Harmonies were excellent. Good looks sported by the guys - Tim's hair a bit shorter, but still deliciously snowy and flowy. I think in part I liked my college boyfriend because he looked a bit like Tim. Neil sported a more dapper look - pinstripe button-down shirt with a black vest. Even in his forties with gray at his temples, Neil's still the cutie. And, um, oh yes, a really good songwriter and musician. As is Tim.
Not a lot of banter, but lots of rock jam moments as Tim and Neil really got into the music. There were two short encores. Their roadie was making great progress packing up. He'd just given me the setlist taped on the floor near the keyboard when the guys came back out again - extremely pleasant surprise. They played "Shark Attack" and "Don't Dream It's Over."
And then it was over, and we headed out for the night.
Set list shortly.