Last night I went on a trip down memory lane to a NZ that I never had. Sounds weird I know. Please let me explain.I love love love the music made/written etc by the Finn brothers; Tim and Neil. I started being a fan in the early eighties. Straight Old line is the one that I really recall as the first song I loved and it started the investigation into their music.
A few years later I had managed to get just about everything and the music sparked an interest in NZ. In 1995 I visited the country that was to become my second home for the first time. And yes my choice in emigration country most certainly was influenced by their music. To me, the music and country are intertwined. Somehow they manage to capture the mood, the feeling that the country has and use it is an accessible manner.
Over the years I saw many of their concerts in many of the different incarnations where the brothers have been part of. I saw Split Enz (the millenia concerts in Auckland Harbour). I saw ENZSO in one of the Auckland parks and got soaking wet and my red jeans ruined forever. I saw Crowded House a fair few times. I saw Tim I saw Neil in concert in many concert venues In the Netherlands and NZ. Just the two brothers just together has not been on my list yet.
The last week SO and I have had a massively busy week (will blog a bit more about that later) and then here there was the Neil Finn – Dizzy Heights concert. I was not sure if I could handle that on top of it all but SO knew how much their music means to me and really supported me in going.
So we had an early dinner and drove to Amsterdam, to Carre. normally not my choice of city and venue, but it was to be the only Dutch concert. Carre is an odd venue for a pop concert. It is a really magical theater with grandeur and so stately. As I only found out quite late that the concert was going to happen we did not have the best seats in the house It was in the gallery which is high up, but has the advantage that you see the whole stage And really it is the music that counts. I did bring earplugs and we did use them.
The concert itself was a wonderful mix of old and new songs, The concerts starts and finishes in the Auckland Domain (support act starts there in a song). Full on rock/pop songs, but also very intimate songs. Some of the best parts in the concerts are Neil solo with just his guitar or on the piano. His rendition of Fall at your feet was magical, the audience sang along and the last part was just his guitar and us, the audience singing, fading away. Almost sounded as a hymn by the end of it. Don’t dream it’s over was the best ever with a piano, the keyboards for the important part and a cello making it even more haunting. Message to my girl (she was part of the band too), I got you, Straight old line were amazing. Chocolate cake was fun and interactive. His new album masterly woven in between the much loved songs. For me the best was the two guitar only Private universe It is the song I used for the subtitle of my blog. Last but not least was four seasons in one day, which brought us back to the domain (Sun shines on the black clouds hanging over the domain). I loved the concert and even bought a T-shirt! It was pretty close to midnight when we drove home and nearly 02.00 before we were in bed. But what a wonderful heavenly evening it was.
The thing with the music is that it takes me back to my adopted country, to all the good bits. The wonderful colours that nature displays, the laid back “She’ll be right mate” attitude I never 100% mastered. The lifestyle where free time and outdoors are what it is all about; Sun, beach surfing etc. And really if I am honest that was not what my life in NZ was :-). Don’t get me wrong I had a great life there, but it was not that lifestyle that comes through in the music and that we probably all kinda dream about. It is a homesickness to something that never really was. I know that feeling the other way around (to the Netherlands) as well. You only remember the good wonderful things when you have that homesickness. Everything becomes rose-tinted and you so happily forget about the struggles, the cold and draft in many NZ houses and other inconveniences that real life brings. That is what I mean homesickness to a NZ I never had, because life really, not here, not there, ever is without RL worries and issues.
SO does not know Neil Finn and his songs very well just some songs. He loved the show and most of the songs, though. He also loved seeing me enjoying it all and singing along to everything. He remarked that he thought it would have been even better in a smaller venue and I tend to agree. Specifically Neil Finn is at his best in an intimate venue. He loves the audience interaction. His music suits the feeling of just being there for you the one person in the audience. Carre IMO was already a little on the large side, I would have liked smaller too. That said; what a performer, what a musician and what a wonderful new memory that connects with my much loved and missed other country.