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Crowded House, Live at Auckland's Vector Arena

Monday 29 October 2007

From the minute you walked into the Vector Arena, it was obvious the venue was buzzing with excitement with the return of the prodigal sons, Crowded House.

Admittedly, many of the people I passed were complaining about the queues at the bars and also the toilets - but the minute the bands started up, it was clear the Sunday night concert was going to be something special.

As well as the return of Neil Finn and the boys, it was clear many were also there to see the reformed Supergroove. Their riotous mix of funk got many off their chairs and into the aisles, dancing away. However, as has been well documented in the past, Vector Arena's acoustics sometimes go a little astray - and unfortunately, there were a few times when the sound I heard at the back was quite distorted and difficult to make out. Yet, as a first introduction to what is now understand to be one of New Zealand's most iconic bands, it did little to drive away my enthusiasm to find out more. "Can't Get Enough", "You Gotta Know" and "Sitting inside My Head" all delighted the arena and proved the band is still a force to be reckoned with.

But as was inevitable, the crowd went wild when the lights went down at around 9.20pm as Neil Finn and the boys walked into the Arena to bathe in their glory. It was a muted start to their set when they opened with "Private Universe" but it soon became evident, Nick Seymour and Neil Finn - as well as the rest of the band had no intention of keeping the lid on their set.

After a brief greeting, Neil launched into "Four Seasons in One Day" and the crowd decided to showcase their own talents, singing along to the best of Crowded House - including "Don't Dream It's Over" and "Weather With You". Some numbers from their latest release "Time On Earth" were also covered, but it was the firm favourites from "Woodface" and "Together Alone" that were the ones that delighted the audience.

There were special guests in the form of Don McGlashan and it was to rapturous applause, that Neil's brother Tim Finn walked out during the first encore and launched into "Weather With You". And it was at this point when the whole Vector Arena appeared to finally get motivated enough to get off their seats, begin swaying and belting their little hearts out as the Kiwiana hit its peak.

The only moment which saw Crowded House very nearly upstaged was when a pack of what appeared to be greyhounds were released across the stage while the crowd waited patiently for the band to return....and one dog which appeared to be untameable very nearly stole the show by running back and forth.

However, Neil Finn - whether he felt the pressure or not - returned back to the stage with the band to provide one last singalong moment with "Better Be Home Soon, leaving the crowd fully satisfied and happy enough to cope once again with the queues for the toilet and the exit.

So, were you at the show? How did you rate it? Did you find some of the sound went awry at times? And, what was your highlight?