TRACKS

  1. Kare Kare
  2. It’s Only Natural
  3. Distant Sun
  4. Mean To Me
  5. Whispers and Moans
  6. Locked Out
  7. Don’t Dream It’s Over
  8. Pineapple Head
  9. Log Cabin Fever / Catherine Wheels
  10. Sister Madly
  11. Love This Life
  12. In My Command
  13. Chocolate Cake
  14. Hole In The River
  15. Fingers Of Love
  16. Better Be Home Soon

The Crew:

Angus Davidson
audio
Bruce Johnston
audio

The Band:

Neil Finn
vocals/guitar
Nick Seymour
vocals/bass
Paul Hester
vocals/drums
Mark Hart
vocals/gtr/keys

Crowded House make beautiful albums. By July 2010, the band, which formed in Melbourne in 1985 and quickly became a global success story, had sold 10 million of them.

But it is in concerts that they bring a sense of time to the timeless songs, with their improvised humour through whacky onstage patter and the occasional onstage practical jokes on fans.

For Neil Finn, the stage also provided a leveller to Crowed House songs, where non radio hits like Recurring Dream’, ‘In My Command’ and ‘Catherine Wheels’ get as much applause from the fervent fans as those which were.

“Music always travels in mysterious ways,” he admits. “I can’t say I understand why one song is a hit and another one’s not.”

Finn has said that his sense of ambition has never been about how many front covers he’s been on and how “big” a rock star he’s considered, but in making a piece of beautiful music that will last for decades and decades.

When people do remember those songs, it is not important to him that they remember their writer.

Throughout his career he’s leaped from project to project with different names and personnel – at odds with music marketing creed that “you wear the same clothes every day if you want to be famous.”

Crowded House Live 92—94 Part 1 has some of the band’s best ever songs. Part 2 will continue the incredible song list.

‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ was enough of a gorgeous ballad to be a world hit including #2 in the US, #1 in New Zealand and Canada and Top 10 in Australia, Norway and the Netherlands.

Neil was feeling lost at the time and wanted to write a song about moving forward. He penned it at his brother Tim’s home, trying to find quiet there while his sibling was away.

But drummer Paul Hester was staying there and had friends over, so while Neil wrote behind closed doors in the piano room, out came the line “when the world comes in”.

“Try to catch a deluge in a paper cup” is a homage to his musical hero John Lennon who used the line “Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup” on ‘Across The Universe’.

The song came together quickly and Neil made a demo of it as soon as he returned to his home, using a matchbox as a snare drum and tapping the table as his bass drum.

The original had a R&B/soul feel and Crowded House found it difficult when they rehearsed it.

In the studio, producer Mitchell Froom suggested changing the flavour, and shifted the key from E to E# to make it more melancholy.

Years after its release, fans remain divided on whether the song is of hope or if the title means “don’t dream (any more because) it’s over”.

According to bassist Nick Seymour: “You think the song is gloomy? The record’s about not giving up hope and succumbing to the effects of the mass media and consumerism, but there’s an over-riding positive view in all our songs.”

The inspiration for other songs on Crowded House Live 92—94 Part 1 come from different places.

‘Pineapple Head’ was something his infant son Liam yelled out while hallucinating during a fever in Melbourne, as well as “the get away car” and “the detective is flat.”

Rather than tend to the boy, Neil says he rushed downstairs to his studio to get the lines down – something which he says his wife Sharon ticked him off for, and for which Liam still insists he should get some publishing royalties for!

At Crowded House’s ‘Farewell To The World’ concert, Neil introduced ‘Sister Madly’ as “This is a song about waking up in a room with my sister having nightmares!”

For ‘Hole In The River’ Neil was doodling up a new melody when the phone rang. It was his father to say his sister (Neil’s aunt) had killed herself. He went back to the piano and out came the first line, “There’s a hole in the river where my auntie lies.”

One interpretation of ‘Better Be Home Soon’ is that Neil is telling Paul Hester he was aware of the demons he was confronting and that he needed to be home where he would be “safe”. At the 2005 ARIA awards, after a depressed Paul killed himself in a Melbourne park aged 46, Neil flew to Sydney from Auckland just to perform the song as an emotional farewell to Paul.

‘Kare Kare’ from Together Alone is named after the beach in New Zealand where the album was recorded. Neil recalls, Sleep by no means comes too soon/ In a valley lit by the moon.”

Another New Zealand location, Te Awamutu, the town Neil and Tim grew up in, appears in ‘Mean To Me’ about an American tourist who was down on her luck and felt abandoned by everybody.

‘It’s Only Natural’, another global hit, featured in the end credits of 1992 film There Goes the Neighbourhood starring Catherine O’Hara.

‘Locked Out` was part of the soundtrack to American Reality.

Recalling a more simple time in his life, and taking responsibility for his failures “like a Christian fearing vengeance from above” brought Neil to ‘Distant Sun’.

‘Chocolate Cake’ was inspired by an incident in a New York restaurant where a woman loudly chattered, “I don’t know, you think I should have another piece of chocolate cake?” The song’s lines like “excess of fat on your American bones” was viewed as a comment on American consumerism and over-indulgence which led to its low sales in the US.

‘Log Cabin Fever’, about a lonely man who kills himself because he was shut in during winter, first emerged in Split Enz’s 1982 album Time and Tide.

Other songs on Crowded House Live 92—94 Part 1 include ‘Whispers And Moans’, ‘Love This Life’, ‘In My Command’ and ‘Fingers Of Love’.