Neil Finn @ Birmingham Symphony Hall – Monday 28th April 2014


Review by Dean Pedley

It is evidence of his enduring appeal that Neil Finn can pack out Symphony Hall even when touring as a solo artist and without the wider recognition that comes with performing under the name Crowded House. Nevertheless whilst the faces in the crowd may be the same a Finn solo show is precisely that and not just a trawl through Crowded House greatest hits sprinkled with a few new tracks. Opening with a stark piano arrangement of ‘World Where You Live’ he takes Symphony Hall on an extensive musical journey that takes in solo material old and new, deep cuts from Split Enz and Finn Brothers albums along with rearranged Crowded House favourites. And for a show that nudges towards Springsteen territory in terms of length it also features another mainstay of any Bruce show in that Finn rarely plays the same set twice and is comfortable to indulge his audience in making audible changes and incorporating ad-hoc requests.

Neil FinnWith a (mostly) young and impressive five piece band at his disposal Finn showcases a number of selections from latest album Dizzy Heights, his first for more than a decade, which are built around ornate and expansive arrangements and thoughtful lyrics. ‘Divebomber’,  ‘White Lies and Alibis’ and ‘Impressions’ show that Finn has lost none of his song writing excellence and the knack for combining uplifting melodies with radical shifts in mood and tempo.

Coming across as sincere and warm, Finn engages with the crowd throughout and moves back to the piano for the encores for an impromptu ‘Six Months In A Leaky Boat’ (“one of my brothers songs but I think I can remember it”) and poignant ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’. By the six song second encore we are into overtime as the band move through the shiny pop perfection of ‘Weather With You’, ‘I Feel Possessed’ and ‘Better Be Home Soon’. A return visit to Symphony Hall from Finn in any of his guises cannot come soon enough.


Set List:
1. World Where You Live
2. Message to My Girl
3. Impressions
4. Dizzy Heights
5. Distant Sun
6. Locked Out
7. Pony Ride
8. Suffer Never
9. Only Talking Sense
10. Golden Child
11. Sinner
12. Into the Sunset
13. Wherever You Are
14. White Lies and Alibis
15. Divebomber
16. One Step Ahead
17. I Got You
18. Flying in the Face of Love
19. She Will Have Her Way

20. Fall at Your Feet
21. Six Months in a Leaky Boat
22. In My Blood
23. Don’t Dream It’s Over

Encore 2:
24. History Never Repeats
25. Weather With You
26. Edible Flowers
27. I Feel Possessed
28. Private Universe
29. Better Be Home Soon