The songs you know in your bones by Madelaine Empson
Legendary Kiwi musician Tim Finn OBE of Split Enz and Crowded House fame will make his welcome return to our stages this September, performing The Lives and Times of Tim Finn at the Michael Fowler Centre on the 21st. The singer-songwriter and composer says he’s excited, in training (swimming laps, which he does anyway), and getting his voice in shape for the Australia and New Zealand tour, his first after being largely off the concert grid while songwriting for music theatre and opera for the last decade.
Joined by a tight full band – including his daughter Elliot on harmonies – with an atmospheric light show by Australian theatre lighting designer Matt Marshall to boot, the setlist will be unmatched. Venture through era-defining albums like Split Enz’ Dizrythmia (1977), True Colours (1980), and Time and Tide (1982); Crowded House’s Woodface (1991), which Finn joined the band especially for; and solo releases like his number-one debut Escapade (1983).
You’ll be playing the full gamut of Split Enz, Crowded House, and solo hits. Which songs are you most looking forward to playing and why?
All the ones that fill the room with energy and create that feeling of connection. I See Red, Weather With You, Made My Day... I have also included some deeper cuts such as Ghost Girl and Hard Act to Follow, both of which I haven’t sung for many years. So they seem very fresh to me, and interesting to get inside those lyrics at this stage of my life. I’m particularly looking forward to singing harmonies with Elliot. As well as general BVs [backing vocals] we have been experimenting with close harmonies in It’s Only Natural, Fraction Too Much Friction, and I Hope I Never. But there will be others.
What are the ghosts of concerts past when it comes to the Michael Fowler Centre and Wellington at large?
In 1983 I was presented an award by then-Prime Minister David Lange at the NZ Music Awards there. Afterwards we had dinner together, along with his wife. She was giving him plenty of stick. Also in the Michael Fowler Centre that night were Dave Dobbyn and the Topp Twins, whom I’ve toured with at various points and greatly admire. I’ve always loved coming to Wellington. I remember driving down there when I was 21, we arrived at night, and immediately I felt it had a sensual allure. Maybe it was the enfolding hills glowing with tungsten light. The shine off the water. The secret lives of diplomats.
What kind of night out can Wellington audiences look forward to?
A night of songs they know in their bones, played really well and intensely by an inspiring band. A musical journey beginning in 1977, traveling through the 80s and 90s. I was there. I come as an emissary from a different age, but what happens will be happening right then and there between us. We can create some new memories together.