Imagine The Beatles reformed in 1992 and played all their classics, as recorded, to an adoring audience. Imagine Shakespeare reformed his original actors from the Globe Theatre and performed his classics, as written, in the 21st Century.
Split Enz, NZ’s greatest export to the world, have reformed after 22 years to perform in Australia. As a major fan (life member of the fan club major fan) – and owner of the cassette, vinyl, CD, DVD and other collected works of this band + offshoots, I’ve probably personally provided the band members a healthy retirement.
Obviously, attending their concert this evening in Sydney has been a once-in-a-generation event. The whole Hodge family attended; and Split Enz performed their classics in a theatrical and purposefully chosen manner. Oh wow.
For me, it’s about the songs. They each have a personality; and their natural performers (the members of Split Enz) are the natural players. In a crowd of 10,000 I must admit I momentarily lost my personal connection to each of these songs. Recorded from 1972 to 1984, the songs occupy a particular place in my psyche during those difficult formative years. The words: whether lyrical and mystical (Neil Finn) or colloquial and alliterative (Tim Finn) matched with timeless music [I See Red, Message to My Girl, I Got You etc etc] they have lifted me through many an internal storm.
The Split Enz classics, have a timelessness that evoke a simpler period in life; and these songs held greater sway in our being. Even Neil and Tim tend to be more experimental when crafting their later songs: they have an increasing depth, maturity and introspection that matches their journey.
“Songs” today is entertainment in a package; rather than a story wrapped in a musical shell. For two hours tonight, Split Enz returned us to this simpler time.