For those following me on Twitter or reading my Facebook posts of late, it will come as no surprise to learn I've been on a serious "Crowded House" listening jag these days. As a long-time fan of the band, I've been busy obsessing over their latest album, "Intriguer", as well as revisiting their incredible back catalog. Listening to that amazing body of work, particularly the albums that meant so much to me growing up, I couldn't help but reminisce about the very first time I saw my fave Kiwi trio perform live...
Circa '88 I'm a 19 year old college kid working with my best friend in the home recording studio we built in the basement of his parent's house (an anomaly for the time, btw, not like today wherein every musician has Pro Tools in their bedroom), when my friend's younger sister burst in informing us that CH was on WNEW announcing a "secret" show that evening at CBGB's. The band's second record had just come out and as my friend and I were enamored with both their albums, we immediately stopped what we were doing and made our trek from Queens down to the Bowery.
Long story longer, we got to the club early enough to sit first-table-center at the foot of the stage. Needless to say, that intimate night of music was incredible. CH was simply the tightest (yet agile) band I'd seen to date, playing the most beautifully melodic, Beatle-esque tunes just six inches in front of me replete with their own unique brand of style and humor. And the harmonies?! Man, could those three sing together (RIP Paul Hester). Too young to see the Fab Four live, I imagined this must have been what it was like.
After the band played an electric AND an acoustic busking set, my friend and I couldn't resist the opportunity to meet our heroes in the tiny dressing room behind stage. I remember being incredibly star struck. When the moment finally came, we first met an amazingly friendly Nick and then an equally genuine Neil. I offered Mr. Finn a sweaty, nervous handshake (which he graciously accepted - sorry Neil), made some small talk and a fantastic night of music came to a surreal conclusion. A pedestrian experience, maybe, for some but us true music fans know better; I could have died on the ride back to Queens that evening, I probably wouldn't have noticed.
I believe the very next day CH taped this Letterman appearance; check it to get an idea of the pure joy, subtle power and sound that floored this young musician that night at CBs.
Something so strong, indeed.