8 February 2003
Gothic Theatre, Denver, CO
Return to the Gothic Theatre. Tonight, the headliner: Neil Finn. Opening act: Rhett Miller.
I don't know too much about Rhett Miller, except that he supposedly used to head a band called the "Old 97s". Armed with a D-tuned acoustic guitar, Rhett reminded me of just about every other recently surfacing singer/songwriter I've encountered. Complete with a fake West Coast accent, smug demeanor, a Beck-lookalike haircut, and soulless songwriting. Supposedly many people his age lack any experience with overcoming adversity, tend to aimlessly ask the question, "Where are the frontiers? How do I get there?", and yet seem unwilling to face challenge, and are absent of a real sense of responsibility. I don't know Rhett personally, but my suspicion is that much songwriting from his age group often suffers from this sheltered existence. Maybe I'm just an angry old man?
Neil Finn caught my attention in the early 1980s while fronting Split Enz, and retained my attention with the 1986 debut Crowded House CD. Neil took the stage with four additional musicians, performing songs mostly from his solo career, including, "Driving Me Mad" off of his recent solo album One All, and "She Will Have Her Way".
"I Got You" was enjoyable to everyone in the audience, who repeated its chorus several times after the song's actual performance completed.
But, lacking encores of "Don't Dream It's Over" or "Something So Strong", I found many songs unrecognizable.
Neil Finn's New Zealand voice is excellent at age 44. His hair, though greying, is unchanged in shape or size; his smile is still sincere and spirited.
[***] - Steven T.
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