October 2, 2020

ARCA’s Roadies Fund gets boost with new Neil Finn live album

ARCA’s Roadies Fund gets boost with new Neil Finn live album

Neil Finn is the latest big name to throw his backing behind Support Act’s Roadies Fund on behalf of the Australian Road Crew Association (ARCA).

The musician has authorised the crew welfare group to release the tapes recorded at a solo show in Sydney as part of ARCA’s Desk Tape Series.

Neil Finn Live, Solo At The Seymour Centre 2010, is the eighth release in the series.

At the beginning of the show, the singer-songwriter tells the 800-strong sold-out audience at the York Theatre at the Centre: “I thank you for joining me tonight and allowing me to pass through a few eras and a few songs that I don’t get to play very often because it’s a very joyous thing for me.”

Aside from his solo work, it allowed him to revisit his songs from Split Enz, Crowded House and The Finn Brothers.

Ten years later Finn recalls of the show: “I remember it fondly as a great room and an audience that was leaning forward and listening to every word.”

About the choice of songs he admits: “I just made it up backstage an hour or so before … I can’t remember what sparked each choice.”

Finn switches from guitar to piano and infuses the proceedings with humour and wry quips like “is it contradictory we’re in the Seymour Theatre and there’s no Nick Seymour?” and bringing up an audience member to play two-finger piano with him during ‘Anytime’.

Among the solo songs are ones whose lyrics are debated about by fans on social media, including ‘Try Whistling This’, which is said to be about turbulence within Crowded House.

There’s also ‘Faster Than Light’ inspired by putting one of his sons to bed and advising him that “Travel faster than light. In time you’ll recognise that love is larger than life”.

The fans get a treat with a version of Crowded House’s ‘Something So Strong’ the way he had originally written it, with up-tempo guitar and a rockier feel, inspired by waking up in a dark and quiet space and wanting comfort.

But in the studio, while cutting Crowded House’s first album in 1986, producer Mitchell Froom suggested it would be more effective with an R&B approach – which led to its becoming a Top 10 hit in Australia, the US, Canada and New Zealand.

Other dips into the Crowded House catalogue include ‘Fall at Your Feet’ and one he regards as one of his best songs and one which he loves performing ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’.

The Split Enz era is represented by ‘Message To My Girl’, written for Neil’s wife Sharon whom he married in 1982, ‘One Step Ahead’ which he was surprised was a hit (it “hasn’t got a proper chorus”), and ‘Hello Sandy Allen’ about the time he met Sandra Elaine Allen, “the tallest woman in the world” (she was seven feet seven inches, or 231 cms) at a talk show in New York.

Of the many accolades and awards that Finn has had since he stepped into the public spotlight as a teenager, the most powerful was when George Harrison reportedly remarked that that “Crowded House played the music The Beatles would be playing if still together”.

The Desk Tape Series are all straight out of the mixing desk and made by a member of the road crew, in this case, Angus Davidson who did front-of-house sound for Finn and Crowded House.

They are released on is Black Box Records via MGM and on all major streaming services.