Beautiful pop melodies were flowing through the Pabst Theater on Friday night as Crowded House proffered a nearly two-hour set of classics and six stunning new songs from the latest release "Time on Earth."
Indeed, there were many things that were just right Friday at The Pabst Theater. From the acoustics to the storytelling to the crowd -- the show was tight, fun and lively.
Heck, any band that talks about their evening of flying paper airplanes from floor to floor at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee, is more than good in my book. But, to tell you the truth, I was already primed for the Australian band's Friday night show. Crowded House is one of those band that I've been dying to see live for years. Thankfully, the reunited tour made its way to our town.
Singer and frontman Neil Finn, bassist Nick Seymour, multi-instrumentalist Mark Hart, Finn's son Liam (on guitar/vocals) and drummer Matt Sherrod (formerly of Beck's rhythm section) are the new Crowded House, on tour together for the first time in the U.S. since 1996.
Opening with a rousing version of "Recurring Dream," the band, backed by a colorful montage of designs, objects and art seemed to love the venue and quickly connected with the crowd through Finn and Seymour's witty banter and between song stories. But, it's Finn that makes Crowded House go. Now 49, he's all charm and seemed at ease on The Pabst stage.
The 14-song first set was filled with impeccable anthems from the band's newest release "Time on Earth." Four songs in, they cranked the infectious, singable and oddly upbeat "She Called Up." It's a song about Finn hearing the news of his former drummer's death over the phone. Fittingly, tha band transitioned into the flowing "There Goes God," then "Fingers of Love" before landing on the mega-hit ballad "Don't Dream it's Over."
As I mentioned, the night was just right. There was more than melody; there was a charm in the air, too. Finn did parts of two numbers a capella in the encores: "Four Seasons in One Day" and "Better be Home Soon." Both sent shivers through the Crowded House faithful as the vocals and guitar bounced off the beautiful Pabst walls.
As with most reunions, you leave with a bit of nostalgia. On Friday, I left thinking that there's staying power here, not just nostalgia -- for this is a band that's meaningful, real and most importantly fun.
A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.
He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.
Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.
He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.
He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.