Live Review: Crowded House, Wembley Arena, 24th June, 1992

You know the feeling – great gig, lovely songs, all the notes in the right place, the acoustics sorted out, but something just doesn't feel right. I should like this gig – and I do – but there's still something bugging me and I can't quite put my finger on it (maybe that's what's bugging me). Anyway I'll try…

Antipodean bands are like Antipodean people – frank, straightforward, good company, all in favour of having a "good time, mate," etc., but somehow on the wrong side of the planet when charisma was being handed out, so I can't quite buy it when the crowd get as excited as they do.

But what kind of people are we talking about? Mainly young, clean-cut, politically-correct, middle-class twenty-somethings, who really dislike those oiky yuppie types, and would gladly die for Greenpeace. Crowded House, with their deft melodic touches, cute lyrics, surging, sun-kissed, wheaty wholesomeness, and occasional boy's own tomfoolery, seem to be just their cup of tea.

No doubt these are the same bright young things who follow all those charming soaps from Down Under that basically score by offering a subtle coded version of the kind of lost pre-60s Britain that was supposed to exist before it got all fucked-up by punk, glam, LSD, and Barry Grant; the sort of soap fare that – when all's said and done – you can snugly enjoy with your parents. Just as well, as, I suspect, most of these people are probably still living at home. The Crowdies are that sort of band – the kind your parents would like you to like.

Lots of beautiful, hypnotic moments, like the chorus from Don't Dream It's Over and the loose, jazzy feel of Sister Madly – and you can tell which segments of the vaguely androgynized audience are female coz they're all swaying their hips.

You have to wait for the encores for the hottest slice of action, when they actually start to rock out on the stomping, supersonic blues of Chocolate Cake, where – I swear – Angus Young (one of the few Antipodeans with real charisma) comes on and does a brief, girder twisting guitar solo. Too little, too late…too bad!

A nice enough band who probably deserve their success, but not quiet what Rock n' Roll’s about, although I'm sure everyone else in the house would disagree.

June 1992
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