HOTA’s Outdoor Stage, with its gentle slopes, starry views and lush backdrop, was the perfect setting for Neil Finn’s ‘Out of Silence’ performance; a filmic, emotional album which famously had its recording process live streamed via Facebook. The veteran performer, seated at the piano, played the album track by track from start to finish. Backed by an orchestra and a small choir, ‘Out of Silence’ was full of complex arrangements but deceptively simple in its delivery.
Emily Wurrumurra, a natural born storyteller with some degree of Finn’s gentle pop sensibilities, was a gorgeous opener for the main event.
The man himself was quietly personable, reminiscing about family holidays on the Gold Coast and the infamous Grundy’s (ahhh, Grundy’s! Come back to us!) ‘Out of Silence’ – unbelievably in only its fifth public performance – received a warm reception from the crowd, but it was the second half of the show that really got the audience moving. Wearing his guitar like a third arm, Neil launched into Split Enz classic ‘One Step Ahead’, followed by several crowd-pleasing Crowded House numbers such as ‘Weather With You’, ‘Fall at Your Feet’, ‘Dont Dream It’s Over’ and ‘Four Seasons in One Day’ before the HOTA choir joined him and the orchestra in an epic rendition of traditional set closer ‘Better Be Home Soon’. Neil seemed genuinely humbled by the crowd’s reaction and desire for an encore, seeming a little uncertain what to do before launching into ‘Message to My Girl’ and ‘Fall At Your Feet’, both of which turned into a giant karaoke party.
With three and half thousand in attendance, HOTA’s Outdoor Stage was indeed a crowded house, and one that was full of raptures. Finn proved that not only does his music stand the test of time, but there is a lot more left to come from this beloved entertainer.
IMAGES (c) Danny Santangelo Photography