Nope, this isn’t (for once) a post about my night terrors. Well, OK, I will touch on it, but later.
THIS, my friends, is a post where I turn back time and become a giggly, overly-emotional, crazed 16 year old music fan.
Because we went to see CROWDED HOUSE last night.
Have I mentioned they are absolutely, positively, my all time most favorite band? Yup. I totally can prove it: I named my cat Finn after Neil Finn.
Yeah, yeah, I know I have waxed poetic about Duran Duran and The Police. Don’t get me wrong. I lurve those guys. But those two concerts were about missed opportunities. Bands I loved as a teenager but never got to see.
Crowded House has been top of the pile for over 20 years now.
I remember distinctly the very first time I heard “Don’t Dream It’s Over.” I was driving to work at the record store, it was around Christmas 1986, and it was snowing. I was late for work but the indie station I listened to constantly (the formerly great WHFS for you Marylanders) was playing this beautiful little pop song that I was completely entranced with. I pulled into the lot and just sat there in the car and fell in love. I was late but I didn’t care. The snow was slowly drifting down on my windshield and there was this piece of musical perfection coming out of my tinny teen-car speakers and damn it! I was going to sit there and soak every second up.
Luckily for me, they announced who it was and I sprinted into my job. At a… RECORD STORE!
Yes, I bought their debut album (OK, cassette tape) that very night – the first time I had EVER bought an album on the strength of one song.
I ABSOLUTELY loved the whole thing.
I enlisted as many people into the cult of the Crowdies as I could. My sister Karrie, in particular, was taken with them… which is no small feat since, while it may not seem to the casual observer that the canyon between our musical tastes is huge … Let me tell you, it’s no “stone’s throw” between the Grateful Dead and Depeche Mode. Crowded House was a bond between us.
And we got to see them! Together! In Washington DC in 1987, the last stop of their tour. I remember this because at some point in the show, Neil told his wife that he could not see the red light. Apparently she was up in the balcony filming the show for them personally, with a handheld camera. (And possibly not doing a very good job of it).
Then came “Temple of Low Men” and “Woodface.” Two more albums that I loved just as much as the first. Released at a point in my life (end of high school and through college) when I was trying to get my head around just who the hell I was. Neil Finn’s lyrics have a sense of mystery to them, but always have interesting twists and turns – and certainly any emotional wreck like me can make those lyrics shape the stories of their own lives too. Add lovely melodies? And you have the soundtrack of my life.
“Sister Madly” was written about Neil’s sister waking up and having nightmares. “Now youre heading down to find something, Something that you buried in your backyard, Sister Madly, Waking up the dead, Systematically stepping on my head…” Um. Yeah. You can imagine how that has become somewhat of an anthem for me and my night terrors over the past 10 years.
But there is one song that speaks to me above all the others. It was released during a time when I was in a relationship that was abusive on an emotional level. I look back now and can jokingly call him “The Liar,” but at the time, the way this man twisted me into knots is embarrassing to think about. “Whispers & Moans” really has ambiguous lyrics – and if any of you know the true meaning behind them, I actually don’t want to know. For me, the song is about longing. About looking in from the outside. About not being good enough one day, but then adequate the next. Maybe being held lovingly one day, but forgotten about the day after. About manipulation.
It is absolutely my favorite song by my favorite band. And when they played it last night, I literally teared up and screamed like a banshee. I had not seen it on hardly any set lists and could not believe they played it here in Denver. Amazing.
And why does it continue to be my favorite song when it brings me right back to that place? Because I finally untangled myself. I realized I am worth more.
The Liar, Marabeth and I saw Crowded House together in Orlando in December 1991. About 3 months later, I finally kicked him out of my life.
And 6 months later, I met Bryan.
Fast forward to now. Crowded House is still my favorite band. I may have been dethroned as their Top Listener on iLike by Neil from Glasgow, but he better watch his back. I’m coming for him! Just kidding. (Sort of).
Even Declan loves Crowded House now. Sure, his first introduction to the band was Paul Hester playing the Chef on The Wiggles and Tim Finn’s wooden appearance singing “Six Months In A Leaky Boat”… but I’m telling ya, my boy has my genes for sure. He has asked repeatedly when he could go see Crowded House with us. And had we not found a babysitter (THANK YOU MICHELLE AND PIERCE!), I was seriously considering just buying him a ticket and bringing him with.
In fact, yesterday at drop off for Kindergarten, I said to him, “Whoa, Declan – this place is a madhouse today!” And he said, “No Mama! It’s a CROWDED HOUSE!”
That. Is. My. Boy.
But, OK. Jesus. I haven’t even talked about the concert from last night yet. Which was the whole fricking point of this post.
WE WENT TO SEE CROWDED HOUSE LAST NIGHT!
AND THEY WERE AWESOME.
Jeff and Bryan mainly went for moral support because obviously Crowded House is not really their cup of tea. But they assure me, they still totally enjoyed it.
But Danielle (aka Best Friend and Concert Buddy Extraordinaire!) and I had a BLAST. Of course, I do believe we were actually wetter than we were at The Fray because it seems the air conditioning at the Fillmore was on the fritz… but it did not matter. The boys sounded great.
We fought our way to the near front and danced our asses off. In fact, we met two sisters who were also huge fans albeit 10 years younger than us, and the four of us formed a union to guard our space. One has to pee, the other three spread out and PROTECT.
And I am glad we ended up in the section we did, because Bryan said (from his vantage point in the back) that the four of us, plus the drunk and wavy girl in front of us were pretty much the most boisterous group in the whole place.
And here is where I get down *again* on my beloved Denver. WHAT IS YOUR DEAL??? WHY do you go to concerts and stand there like a statue? And ESPECIALLY why do you fight to the front, wear a face like you have to poop, and NOT MOVE for 2 hours straight? That CANNOT be good for your posture. And it is SERIOUSLY bad for my blood pressure.
OK, rant over.
At least most of the crowd knew the words to the songs. It was like we were all at a German beer hall or something, the whole place sang almost every word to every frickin’ song. That part was wicked.
OK, yeah, the whole thing was wicked. I am so thrilled they came here. But you know, the people in front of us in line flew in from Virginia to see them. And if they do another tour at some point, I would so do that.
But for now, you will have to excuse me. Because I am off to write “Aimee + Crowded House = BFF” all over my notebook. A hundred thousand times.
SET LIST for DENVER
AUGUST 22, 2007
There Goes God
Don’t Stop Now
Whispers & Moans
Fall at Your Feet
Heaven That I’m Making
She Walked Her Way Down
Don’t Dream It’s Over
Never Be the Same (not whole song, and done slowly)
People Are Like Suns
When You Come
Italian Plastic, dedicated to Paul
Weather With You, with a very long sing-along
Four Seasons In One Day
World Where Your Live
Happy Together, impromptu and not knowing most of the words 😉
Something So Strong