Neil Finn - vocals, guitar; Paul Hester - drums; Eddie Raynor - keyboards; Nick Seymour - bass
This recording was originally broadcast on WIOQ-FM in Philadelphia, and marks the band's first U.S. radio concert as well as one of their earliest stateside appearances.
Crowded House front man, Neil Finn, had already gone platinum once - with his brother, Tim, in the eclectic New Zealand pop band Split Enz. Neil recruited drummer Paul Hester (another Enz alumnus) when Split Enz split and he formed Crowded House in 1985 with bassist Nick Seymour. For this tour, he also enlisted another ex-Enz member, Eddie Rayner, to play keyboards. But Finn was determined to take Crowded House in a different direction than the Enz, and by the time the group came to America seven months after the release of their first record in Australia, their hit single "Don't Dream It's Over" was breaking out all over radio and MTV.
The audience sounds wildly enthusiastic as the band takes the stage for this 12-song set. When one member of the audience yells out "Neil Finn!!!" after their version of "When You Came," the surprised Finn responds by saying, "Wow…someone knows my name in Philadelphia!"
Finn sings passionately throughout this set chocked full of pop music gems including early House hits "Something So Strong," "Mean To Me" and "On The Street Where You Live." He dips into his Split Enz repertoire twice, once for the opener, "This is Massive," and then again for a spirited version of "One Step Ahead." Another highlight is their unplugged, rockabilly version of the Buddy Holly classic "Not Fade Away," which morphs into the early '70s reggae classic "Stir It Up."
The band, which eventually split up in the mid 1990s, was exceptional on this debut tour, especially drummer Paul Hester, who, sadly, committed suicide recently in his native Australia.
Thankfully, the group's unique chemistry is preserved on recordings such as these - always there for those who care to listen.