Southern Rock Opera

SXSW 02 Music Fest Wrap-up

Neil Finn & Friends

Antone's, Saturday 16 Neil Finn's brief, sparkling set at Antone's New Times party Saturday served a tiny slice of what this former Split Enz/Crowded House-er is up to these days. Within mere months, Finn has released his second solo album, One Nil, put together a live collection of songs old and new, 7 Worlds Collide, and has a U.S. release in the works -- a slightly different version of One Nil called One All. He's also touring the globe to back it all up. The One Nil/One All Aussie football references make sense if you think in terms of teamwork and collaboration. These days, Finn is all about collaboration. This particular show, for instance, featured some exciting luminaries: ex-Soul Coughing stand-up bassist Sebastian Steinberg, former Prince protégé Wendy Melvoin, and the mesmerizing Lisa "Geek the Girl" Germano. The first strums of new song "Anytime" established that this was no pickup band. These chums have been at it for a while and have a deep understanding and love for Finn's work. And there was sweet Neil, in the center of it all, tousled and boyish as ever despite the years, soaking it all in. The crowd offered dopey grins and tear-glistened eyes, mouthing lyrics and shouting out requests, so much so that at one point, all hope of set list was abandoned to give the people what they want. And in the case of these particular Finnatics, what they wanted wasn't necessarily the chart-toppers. Songs like "Fall at Your Feet" and "Weather With You," two later-day Crowded House tunes, received Texas-sized cheers, whoops, and hollers befitting the grandest of No. 1 hits.

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Finn, Neil

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