24 August 2007

Oh, the humanity!

Seeing this Crowded House appearance in the studios of Santa Monica's station KCRW stuck with me. It's not just the music but the talk that's memorable.

After the death of drummer Paul Hester a few years ago, Crowded House's other remaining musicians -- and Neil Finn's sons, Liam and Elroy, started picking up guitars and playing together. They felt good and decided to be Crowded House again.

I love the story Neil tells here (minute 17) about how Nick had sent out a terse text message putting a call out for a drummer; the next morning his text was quoted in a front-page story in the Melbourne city paper and they were subsequently swamped with thousands of applications. But they narrowed it down to auditions of 45 drummers in 5 cities in 10 days (!) and about midway through they liked Matt Sherrod in L.A.

So did we when we saw the re-formed band at the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver. Sherrod (say sha-rod') has worked with another perfectionist, Beck, and it shows in his assured work. Here on this KCRW appearance we get another interesting story (well, Neil kind of makes him tell it): Matt's dad was a stuntman and Sherrod has fond but terrifying memories of his teenaged times spent with his dad teaching him to ride straddling two horses at once, also known as "riding Roman." Sherrod is happily stationery on the drummer's stool now, however, giving drive and power with beats that are supple and sophisticated, a nice fit for Crowded House's luscious catalog of songs. He's a pleasure to watch, too, as he's clearly digging on learning this entirely new river of music.

Neil's hissy fit when he couldn't pry his guitar pick out at the end of the third song was interesting, and some of the banter revealed the ego-jabbing, not-so-nice aspects of being in a band. Neil seems to like control, getting the last word in, being the smartest guy in the room. He gave himself an endearing bitch-slap at the end with his remark about "instant karma" catching up with him, but I bet he'd cringe if he saw parts of this performance again.

It's a pleasure seeing Elroy Finn here, btw -- I still have a shirt he signed for me when he was a little kid at the Fox Theatre one excellent night, and it's fun to imagine him off doing archaeology in Jordan with his pals.

I thought I might get emotional when I heard "Fall At Your Feet" here. I was feeling incredibly grateful to my husband for being there for me and incredibly sad about how I had earlier vanished so quickly that he couldn't give me help when I needed it. I had gotten tunnel vision and lost consciousness inside the theater and was helped outside by a medic. I couldn't even see properly again until my sweetie was right there next to me a minute or two later. I felt fine after cooling off and drinking a pint of water. I'd had a beer on not very much dinner and gotten overheated, I think. But I felt good again, happily relinquished my wristband, and then we went back to the show, which was great.

When we had gotten settled in a new, cooler spot next to the soundboard and under a vent, and my sweetie went up to tell our friends where we were, the memory of just before blacking out came back and I felt so sad at how vulnerable I had been. That's when the band played "Fall At Your Feet" and I just wept through it, in sadness and in gratitude to my sweetie, through the whole song. I still feel a little shocked by that whole sequence of events -- it was terrifying to lose control like that.

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