Friday, October 14, 2016

Crowded House Celebrates Their 30th Anniversary With Reissued Catalogue

Crowded House will be celebrating their 30th anniversary by reissuing their entire catalogue in two disc deluxe CD packages and 180-gram heavyweight vinyl, unlocking a wealth of rare material that has been personally selected by Neil Finn and the band. They will be released on Friday,  November 18 through Universal Catalogue, and are available to pre-order at the official Crowded House Store.  Digital versions will also be available on November 4.

The two-CD packages will feature the original album with a bonus disc of rarities, b-sides and previously unreleased home demos and outtakes unearthing over 100 unreleased tracks across the campaign. Each CD package will be delivered in high quality fan-deluxe packaging, with extended notes featuring new interviews with the band and memorabilia from personal and fan archives in a 36 page book. Exclusive CD bundles will also be available here.

True to the original releases, there will also be classic reissues of each album on 180-gram heavyweight vinyl. These are all cut from the original analogue tapes at Abbey Road Studios. The LPs will not include bonus tracks.

Upon announcing the reissues Neil Finn said, “We are thrilled all seven of our albums are about to be reissued in all formats including vinyl, each one accompanied by a rich trove of rarities including writing demos and other unreleased musical curiosities, as well as new original artwork from my dear friend Nick Seymour. This has been many years in the making with much of the exhaustive listening, editing and remixing being done by the keeper of knowledge Jeremy Ansell in Auckland. It has been a labour of love for us and our mission all along was making a superlative quality, definitive document of Crowded House’s unique history for all the fans who have given us their affection over the years.”

Crowded Houses seven studio albums are:
Woodface (1991)
Time On Earth (2007)
Intriguer (2010)
Afterglow (1999)

The self-titled debut Crowded House, released in 1986, saw the band instantly launch onto the global stage with lead vocalist and mastermind Neil Finn, bassist Nick Seymour and drummer Paul Hester premiering timeless hits including “Don’t Dream It’s Over,”World Where You Live” and “Something So Strong.” 

1988’s Temple Of Low Men drew critical acclaim and platinum awards with Finn crafting a set of intense and personal songs revealing his true mastery of melody – highlights including “When You Come,”I Feel Possessed” and the defining “Better Be Home Soon.”

The band’s third studio album Woodface in 1991 spawned a remarkable European following with their first UK Top 10 and hit singles “Weather With You,” “Fall At Your Feet,” “It’s Only Natural” and “Chocolate Cake.

With 1993’s follow up Together Alone, Finn’s shining pop song-craft joined forces with legendary producer Youth’s energetic and experimental approach to deliver catalogue highlights "Locked Out," "Distant Sun," “Private Universe” and was another phenomenal global chart success. 

After the bands breakup in 1996 and subsequent reunion in 2007, the bands fifth studio album  Time On Earth followed.

2010’s Intriguer is the sixth and latest studio record from the band ionizing the commercial and artistic longevity of the group with Finn's durable song-craft shining across highlights “Saturday Sun” and “Falling Dove.

Key 1999 compilation album Afterglow features a selection of rarities and outtakes recorded between 1985 and 1994 including “I Love You Dawn” and “Recurring Dream.” It is rightly regarded as an essential album in the catalogue and rounds out the campaign.

The entire collection is on sale from Friday November 18 and can be pre ordered individually or together as an exclusive bundle at the official Crowded House Store. Full tracklisting and images -

This November, almost 20 years to the day when Crowded House said Farewell to the World with a celebrated concert held on the steps of the iconic Sydney Opera House, they return to that iconic space to celebrate their induction into the ARIA Hall Of Fame at the 2016 ARIA Awards.
Crowded House will perform two very special Encore shows exclusive to Sydney and Australia, their only appearances worldwide during 2016, on Friday, November 25 and Saturday, November 26.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Lady Gaga To Headline Super Bowl Halftime Show

Not quite sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, it fits the bill for recent Super Bowl halftime shows. On the other hand, why can't we get Metallica, Maiden, AC/DC, or Guns N Roses?

Monday, September 12, 2016

Concert Review: Guster - November 21, 2015

It was a beautiful Saturday night in late November, and once again, Mrs. Vie and I were going to witness the always fantastic Guster in concert. After seeing them live earlier that summer, I knew they were going to give an incredible performance. This time around we would be enjoying their show from the Wellmont Theatre, an exceptional venue located in Montclair, New Jersey.

We arrived early, and once again, my lovely wife put us as close to the stage as possible. We were up against the barricade and could easily reach over and touch the stage. It was nice to be that close to the action and my wife was ecstatic. I was pretty excited myself.

The opening band had won the opportunity to open for Guster at this show. For their fall tour, Guster held a contest that a local college/high school band near each venue would open the evening. For The Wellmont Theatre that meant The Emily Youth Project would be the opening act. Clearly I knew nothing about the band, the same as most audience members. This was a local, unknown band who were handed a great opportunity. I was interested in seeing how they would make the most of it.

The Emily Youth Project was nothing short of spectacular. Considering that I didn’t know any of their songs or anything about the band, they came out and gave a stupendous performance. They absolutely blew the crowd away! Although they are a young and new band, they commanded the stage like seasoned professionals. Their ability was magnificent and they showed a maturity and stage presence well beyond their years. By the end of their set, the entire crowd was clapping and dancing along with their songs. I was extremely impressed with the band.

After The Emily Youth Project wrapped up, I took a moment to look around the theater before Guster would come out. I noticed that the General Admission area was pretty much sold out and packed, but the balcony seating was sparse. That was disappointing, as I’ve always felt that Guster is a band that should be selling out the venues they perform at. However, knowing Guster after having seen them a few times, I knew that the size of the crowd did not make a difference to them. They were going to come out and give us a magnificent performance no matter what.

We stood through the setting up of the stage, took in all the little nuances that we could, and then the house lights went down and Guster came out to the roar of the crowd. They opened with a terrific rendition of “Ramona” and the night was off and running.

“Satellite,” the new track “Simple Machine,” and “Happier” were next and it was an exquisite pack of songs to begin the concert. Classic staples and newer hits blended together to start the night off right. I was grinning by the end of “Happier” and just knew that we were in for an amazing night.

My favorite track from the new album, “Kid Dreams” was performed as well as “Never Coming Down” and “Lazy Love.” I felt that Guster paid the right amount of attention to their latest album while mixing in plenty of hits and deeper cuts. At one point in the night, the band decided to take an audience vote on which song they wanted to hear. The choices were “Two Points For Honesty” and “Happy Frappy.” The loudest applause and cheers would get the song performed. “Two Points For Honesty” won out by a landslide and the band went on to play an exceptional version of it. Singer/guitarist Ryan Miller admitted after the song that he didn’t like to perform most of the older songs, he preferred to stick with the newer material. He then admitted that he had so much fun playing “Two Points For Honesty” that the band was going to play “Happy Frappy” anyway. This received a huge roar of approval from the crowd. What he didn’t tell the crowd was that they hadn’t played the song live in so long, they were going to sing the verses out of order. They butchered the verses which forced quizzical glances from Ryan and Adam at each other. When Ryan started to sing the same verse again, Adam noted that he sang that verse already and they made a small bit out of it. Guster always finds a way to entertain, even through their mess ups. And the crowd did not care. They got to hear “Happy Frappy.”

It was also Ryan’s birthday. Toward the end of the set, Ryan was presented with a birthday cake and a little birthday party hat that he wore for a while. It was comical seeing him sing songs with a birthday party hat strapped to his head. It was just another reason to love this band.

The encore was set up in a way that only Guster could do. They made up a song on the spot called “Zombie Jews.” They told the audience that the band was going to lie down on the stage ike they were dead and then they would slowly rise like Zombies to play the encore. Then another verse of the fictious song “Zombie Jews” was played and the band lay down on the stage just like they said they would. It was comical and entertaining. Shortly after lying down, the band slowly rose like Zombies and went into the encore.

The encore was a solid pack of hits (including their newest one). The last song of the night was a special Guster joke that they entertain from time to time. Drummer/Bongo specialist, Brian Rosenworcel stepped out from behind the bongos and took the microphone. It was time to sing a cover song. The band launched into Wham’s “Careless Whisper” with Brian screaming his way through the vocals. I laughed through the entire song, enjoying the joke of it. It’s also my kind of esoteric comedy.

Once again, Guster was amazing in concert and I can’t wait to see them again. It was a terrific performance and being so close to the stage for the second Guster concert in a row was a real treat. Compliments to my wife who always seems to bring me out of comfort zone for all the right reasons.

Simple Machine
Doin’ It By Myself
Kid Dreams
Homecoming King
Come Downstairs And Say Hello
Do You Love Me
Never Coming Down
Two Points For Honesty
Happy Frappy
Ruby Falls
Lazy Love
Barrel Of A Gun
This Could All Be Yours
Long Night
One Man Wrecking Machine
Manifest Destiny
Airport Song
Careless Whisper (Wham cover – Brian on vocals)

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Concert Review: Bruce Springsteen And The E-Street Band - August 30, 2016

Two words sum up the experience of my 20th Bruce Springsteen concert---holy shit! It is nights like this one that remind me why I became a fan of Bruce Springsteen in the first place. With all of the speculation and second guessing about what was going to happen, no one was prepared for what actually transpired. And it wasn’t just the song selection, which was absolutely incredible.It was also the power and the energy produced that made this an unforgettable evening. The interaction with the audience. The boundless excitement that Bruce showed to the crowd and that the crowd showed right back. Every single moment seemed memorable, magical, and mesmerizing. It was pure concert bliss for over 4 hours.

Before The Night Began

Yes, I did get to witness the longest show ever performed in the United States and the second longest of Springsteen’s career. That single fact alone would rank this as one of the best concerts I ever attended, but as we’ve discussed before, length isn’t everything. The power of the performance bears a lot of weight as well. And the performance at MetLife Stadium on that warm August evening was one for the ages.

The event began with a very special opening number. Even though I knew it was coming, starting the concert with “New York City Serenade” was a rare treat for me. I had only seen this song performed live once beforeway back in 1999. I have wanted to see it again ever since. Finally, 17 years later, I would get the chance. My patience was rewarded with a stunning rendition of this beautiful lost classic from The Wild, The Innocent, and the E-Street Shuffle. The song worked perfectly as an opener and it slowly pulled the crowd in for what would be an extended night of entertainment. Roy on the piano set “New York City Serenade” and Bruce’s short, quick, acoustic guitar notes sang out into the stadium. We were off and running. Serenade lasted almost fifteen minutes and the roar of approval at the end showed just how beloved this song, and this band, is.

After “New York City Serenade” Bruce welcomed the crowd with a grand “Good evening, New Jersey!” He then told us that they were going to try and play the songs that they didn’t get to the first two nights. I didn’t realize that would mean almost every track that people would want to hear from his first two albums. 5 songs off of Greetings From Asbury Park, N.j. kicked the night into high gear and left several jaws wide open (mine included). It was at that moment I knew this was going to be a concert like none I had ever experienced. Perhaps every third Springsteen performance that I see, I’ll get a track or two from one of the first two albums. Usually “Spirit In the Night” or “Growing Up.” Almost never would I experience more than two and never would they be 9 out of the first 10 songs played. We were well over an hour into the show before Bruce played an original that wasn’t from his first two albums.

“Summertime Blues,” played by sign request, served as the perfect segue from Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. to The Wild, The Innocent, and the E-Street Shuffle. I’ve always loved the E-Street version of “Summertime Blues” and it was even more fun on that night in the Meadowlands. After ending the song, Bruce stepped to the microphone and announced “We haven’t played this one in quite a while.” The band then ripped into “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy),” and all of us were sitting on the Jersey Shore with Bruce, experiencing the boardwalk life, and feeling the thrill of the rides and the smell of the surf.

A blistering “Kitty’s Back” would follow and then the moment of the night for me occurred. I was able to witness a live performance of “Incident On 57th Street” for only the second time in my Springsteen concert attending career and it was brilliant! Goosebumps broke out all over my skin as the song played on. And when we got to the end of the number, Roy’s piano continued, just like it does on the album. Roy wasn’t stopping and most of the fans in attendance knew what that meant. Springsteen paused with guitar in hand and gave us all a sly look as if to ask “should I do it?” More than a few of us screamed “Do it!’ And with that, the opening notes of “Rosalita” hit the air and every single person in MetLife Stadium was on their feet. The rare album sequence performance of “Incident on 57th Street” into “Rosalita” was absolutely awesome and one of the best gifts I ever received at a Springsteen concert.

And the night was only getting started!I got to witness Springsteen’s cover of “Pretty Flamingo” for the first time ever and it did not disappoint. A brilliant performance of “Atlantic City” came next and served as another segue, this time into the pack of Born In The USA songs that would follow. “I’m Goin’ Down,” “Darlington County,” “Working On The Highway,” and “Downbound Train” left my throat raw from screaming and singing at the top of my lungs. A gorgeous version of “I’m On Fire” followed to wrap up the Born In The USA package. I was stunned and speechless by that point, but Springsteen was nowhere near done.

The album that was the purpose of the entire tour finally had a couple of songs performed. “Hungry Heart,” and “Out In The Street” would be the only representatives from The River that night, and that was okay with everyone in the crowd. By that point, Bruce could do no wrong. A fantastic rendition of “Living Proof” was next, but sadly, most people sat through it. Showing once again that the 1992 Springsteen songs just don’t get any love, which is a shame. I was extremely happy that Bruce pulled out “Living Proof” and it only added to the unique spirit of the night for me.

Five fan favorites wrapped up the main portion of the evening. By the time the crowd was chanting the Badlands chorus, over three hours had passed since the opening notes of “New York City Serenade.” And we still had an encore to go. The encore provided another first for me at a Springsteen concert. Seeing a performance of “Secret Garden.” I forgot how grand that song is! I would later learn, thanks to the wonderful fan site Backstreets (, that it was only the 4thtime ever this song had been performed live. No wonder I forgot about it!

MetLife Stadium Going Crazy For Bruce!
 Even though I’ve seen “Jungleland” performed quite a few times, I have never witnessed a version like this. Perhaps it was the intensity that the night demanded, the song selection that led up to it, or just the setting that we were in, but this was one of the best “Jungleland” I’ve seen. Springsteen sang with an intensity that we haven’t felt on this song for a while, and Jake Clemons absolutely nailed the solo made famous by his uncle. After the solo, Jake stood on the stage, motionless and Bruce walked over and embraced him. It was a very touching moment in an emotionally charged night.

“Dancing In The Dark” found Bruce playing dance leader and pulling people from the pit onto the stage to dance. One wise gentleman held a sign that read “I’d go a bit woozy if I could dance with sister Soozie” (referring to none other than violinist Soozie Tyrell, of course). He got brought on stage. Another witty fella held a sign that read “My wife gave me permission to dance with Patty”. He got hoisted onstage, although it took a little extra effort to get him up. He was a big man and apparently it’s not as easy to climb onto the stage as people think. A girl with a sign that said “Last dance before school” got raised up. And a random girl got to dance with Bruce. All of these people were in their glory. All of these people lived a moment in their lives that they will never forget. He even let them all join on the microphone and sing the chorus with him. Who does that? And that is what makes Springsteen such a master. I am sure the security detail absolutely hates that he brings people on stage like that, but Bruce isn’t hearing it. He wants everyone in the building to have the night of their lives every time they perform.

The night ended with the same song that ended the previous two MetLife Stadium shows, “Jersey Girl.” By this point it was well after midnight, but no one had left for the parking lot. The New Jersey crowd sang along with “Jersey Girl” to finish the night and a lot of guys held their ladies, swaying and swooning to the Tom Waits classic that Bruce has made his own.

When it was all over, Bruce had performed for over 4 hours (1 minute over to be exact) and I was exhausted. I was euphoric, but I was still exhausted. After 20 Springsteen concerts, I had never witnessed one quite like that and it immediately went to the top of my list as best Springsteen concert ever. In a few months, we will see if it still remains there, but I don’t see any way that this could be knocked off the top of the perch. It may even be the best concert I’ve ever attended. The night was full of magic and memories that are going to stay with me for a lifetime.

New York City Serenade
Blinded By The Light
Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street?
It’s Hard To Be A Saint In The City
Spirit In The Night
Summertime Blues
4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)
Kitty’s Back
Incident On 57th Street
Rosalita (come Out Tonight)
Pretty Flamingo
Atlantic City
I’m Goin’ Down
Darlington County
Working On The Highway
Downbound Train
I’m On Fire
Hungry Heart
Out In The Street
Living Proof
Candy’s Room
She’s The One
Because The Night
The Rising
Secret Garden
Born To Run
Dancing In The Dark
Tenth Avenue Freeze-out
Twist And Shout
Glory Days
Jersey Girl