Crowded House know how to give a good concert. It's a dozen years of more since I last saw Neil Finn, Nick Seymour and the gang perform at the Apollo in Oxford and give one of the best performances I've ever witnessed. They took a 10 year hiatus between 96 and 06, during which drummer, Paul Hester, died and the sum of the remaining parts never quite lived up to the whole.
I saw Neil perform with his band, and Neil and brother Tim graced the Oxford stage too, but I never really thought I'd see Crowded House together again...until last night.
Jac and I were back on my home territory: back to Wembley and the recently-revamped Wembley Arena . It's still a barn of a place, cold until the audience warms it up and we were a good 50 yards back from the stage, despite having floor seating. But at least the acoustics are about a million times better than before the revamp. At about 8.30pm, four middle aged men took the stage and lit up my year.
The band aren't all about greatest hits, though they've had enough of the and they were liberally sprinkled in among strong new material. But the big difference between Crowded House and many other bands I've seen is the way they connect with their crowd and make a concert for 10,000 people appear intimate and personal - they have a great way of turning a building the size of an aircraft hangar into a small room. The concert is all about banter and involvement - and, in celebration of Nick Seymour's birthday they were even taking requests as they played up to Wembley's infamous curfew last night.
They left the stage last night just before 11pm. YouTube and dodgy phone recordings can only give a flavour of a band on top form live - and there's nothing up yet from last night's Wembley experience.
The only downsides? Overpriced merchandising and over zealous stewarding. But that's just being picky. We had a great night out.
I'm sipping coffee from my Crowded House 'char' mug this morning and enjoying the band's extremely rewarding back collection once again.