SEPTEMBER 18 2016 – 11:47PM
They said farewell to the world from the steps of the Opera House but now it’s hello again as a much loved band return to the scene of their iconic ‘final’ concert.
The Sydney Opera House forecourt, from where Crowded House said farewell to the world in 1996, will host a return of the much loved trans-Tasman band for two anniversary concerts in November.
Twenty years after the group broke up at the now legendary show under the stars, and 30 years since their first album, which spawned the contemporary classic Don’t Dream It’s Over, Neil Finn, Nick Seymour, Mark Hart and Matt Sherrod, will return on November 25 and 26.
While the band officially reformed in 2007, two years after the death of original drummer Paul Hester, and have toured intermittently and recorded two albums since then, they have always studiously avoided a return to the spot that in many ways was a high water mark in a career that took them to number two spot in the United States. However, a month when they will also be inducted into the ARIA hall of fame and re-release repackaged versions of all the Crowded House albums, has won over the perennial hold out, New Zealand’s premier songwriter, Finn.
What’s not lost on bassplayer and the band’s in-house art director, Melbourne-born Seymour is “the irony that our most successful moment was our breakup show”.
“I think the analogies drawn between Rob Reiner’s [rock mockumentary] Spinal Tap and real life are a very fine line,” he said, with a laugh.
Finn, whose decision it was to end the band first time around, has said over the years that he didn’t enjoy the Opera House show anywhere near as much as everyone else seemed to. Anxiety ruled and its legacy coloured his view of any return while his long and successful solo career has continued.
For Seymour, returning to the Opera House forecourt from his home in Ireland is a genuine Charles Dickens moment because that Farewell To The World show really was the best of times and the worst of times.
“As I recall the Sydney Opera House gig, ironically it was the first gig that I felt really carefree, and it was the last gig we were doing,” he said. “Possibly because it was the last gig we were ever doing. Against my wishes.
“But I surrendered myself to it and thought, ‘well, I might as well enjoy this’.”
Jovial about it now, and happy to return to the scene, Seymour was not so sanguine in 1996 and confesses now that in fact he had felt under pressure pretty much from when they changed their name from The Mullanes to Crowded House while recording the self-titled debut in Los Angeles.
“I was always willing it forward [but] every gig that we did I was always careful to assess how things transpired and what could go wrong,” he said. “That [Opera House] gig was the first time that Neil was feeling the responsibility of (a) his decision to leave the band and (b) how it was weighing on his shoulders emotionally. He was the reason [it was happening]. So I can understand him not enjoying the gig fully.
“For me on the other hand it was kind of a liberation, without me realising. And I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Tickets for Crowded House Encore go on sale September 26.
Source : Sydney Morning Herald