Review and Photography by Robert Barrett
It’s been 12 long years since the last Crowded House tour. After 4 nights at London’s famous Roundhouse and a few gigs round the UK, the band were fully warmed up and in top form by the time they reached a sunny Birmingham.
Fans that bought tickets for the original 2020 show were treated to tickets issues and a box office que that snaked along the canal. They say Birmingham has more canals than Venice, I’m sure the hardcore Crowded House fans can now attest for this. After all this time it’s a shame that the fans and staff were left in this situation by the ticket provider.
However once inside the arena all was forgiven and forgotten as the crowd slowly took to their seats. There was no advertised support slot, but a mysterious bearded figure jumped onto the stage delivering a few tender acoustic cuts. Turn’s out it was Liam Finn “I’m in the band, bet you didn’t see that coming” he mused. It’s a shame the crowd were still struggling to get in as he delivered and beautiful intimate set.
Once the room was filled up to the rafters Crowded House took to the stage, and immediately you could tell the crowd were in for a special night that would be well worth the wait and ticket problems. Diving into “Distant Sun” and “Nails in My Feet’ from 1993’s “Together Alone” the band were all smiles. The warmth from the songs and the humour radiated off the stage like a bright Australian sunshine.
Despite the enormity of the arena, it felt like catching up with old friends as they joked around with the audience. At one point they even took requested which led to an outing of “Mean to Me” from their debut record.
However, the band are not content being a nostalgia act, and played plenty of tracks off 2021’s “Dreamers Are Waiting” which sounded fresh and slotted in perfectly between the classics.
Quarantine Inspired “Playing With Fire”, highlighed the excellent musicianship of the entire band, with the lyrics feeling like a send off to covid, especially when sang in front of a big audience. The jaunty “Weather With You” seemed apt for the roasting hot evening, with the blazing sunshine shining through the various exits feeling like the boys had bought a bit of that famous sunshine with them.
Its inevitable that the eternally anthemic “Don’t Dream Its Over” would cause a crowd singalong, it’s a song that only gets better with age. But the band were not content with ending there, grinning as they came out for an encore of “Its Only Natural”, “Love Isn’t Hard at All “and “Better Be Home Soon”.
Crowded House didn’t just bring the weather with them, but also a magical evening full of classic’s and excellent new tracks. Let’s hope it’s not another 12 years before they grace the UK shores again.