On Monday 18th of March Neil Finn and Paul Kelly played the final show of a short tour together, at the Sydney Opera House. It was streamed live on YouTube.
The set list was a nice mix of old and new with the song choices split roughly 50-50 between the two songwriters. Neil cherry-picked songs from a number of his former projects - Split Enz, Crowded House, The Finn Brothers and his solo records. They ended with two covers: Buddy Holly's "Words of Love" and the standard "Moon River".
It was one of those shows that featured a set list where most music fans could sing along to most, if not all of the songs. It was an event where both lead singers showed tangible mutual respect for each other and each other's artistry.
One particular highlight was when both singers elected a song from the other singer's back catalog and took lead vocal on it. Paul chose "Into Temptation", a moody offering from the second Crowded House LP. Neil chose the more obscure song "You Can Leave Your Shoes Under My Bed", and he sang it beautifully.
The two performers were embellished by a number of additional musicians: Paul's nephew Dan on lead guitar, Neil's son Elroy on drums and Zoe Hauptmann on Bass. As a unit they were tight and managed to pull off the diverse range of material well. They knew when to rock out ("Deeper Water") and when to empty out an arrangement for effect ("Private Universe"). In fact, on "Private Universe" it was a real treat to hear both Paul and Neil taking turns at singing vocal lines all through the verses.
The acoustics in the concert hall at the Opera House have never been the best and they have never been fixed, so as to what it actually sounded like in the venue is another story. On YouTube it was professionally filmed and the sound quality was crisp, clean and well balanced. I'd love to see this released on DVD one day.
Here's some of the promo clips for the show, with Paul singing Neil's "Into Temptation" and the pair of them doing Paul's "Leaps and Bounds". Enjoy!
The full show can be watched at this YouTube link