August 31, 1988
STATE THEATER, SYDNEY
If the decibel level of screaming fans is any indication, Crowded House is undoubtedly at the top of the popularity stakes in Sydney.
It's reassuring to those whose ears took a beating at the first of a string of sell-out shows that the band thoroughly deserves to be there; it delivered a tight, slick and entertaining set that would have pleased the most discerning in the audience.
Crowded House has opted to play several small concerts in the big cities rather than appear in large auditoriums. Reason is their desire for an intimate atmosphere and an audience appreciative of their hard work.
The State Theater should have provided them with such an atmosphere, but the 2,000-strong crowd, largely consisting of young girls with high-pitched screams, clearly frustrated the band members as much as it did the older fans in the crowd. And witty repartee from the charismatic lead singer, Neil Finn, was met with louder screams, so the band sought refuge in its playing.
Even then, there was a feeling that the intelligence of the lyrics and versatility of thc melodies were playing second fiddle to the mere presence of those pretty, likeable guys on stage.
With their recently released album ''Temple Of Low Men" at the top of the charts, and their debut album having been a smash last year, there were plenty of songs for the devotees to sing along to. "The World Where You Live," "Something So Strong" ond "Mean To Me," from the first album, were numbers one just couldn't sit still to; ballads like "Don't Dream It's Over," and their latest single, "Better Be Home Soon" had all transfixed.
Finn's solo burst of his old Split Enz classic "Message To My Girl" was charmingly poignant. Interestingly arranged covers, like Talking Heads' "Road To Nowhere" were pleasing surprises.
The cleverly designed stage set made the show seem more like a piece of theater, and the performers on stage, when absorbed in their roles, were enjoying themselves immensely. But it did seem as thought the class and style of Crowded House went way above the head of the average fan at this concert. Krug.