I saw Neil Finn for the upteenth time on Thursday night.
I've seen him so many times now I have lost count, I've seen him play solo, with various backing bands, with his brother Tim, with Split Enz once, and of course many times with Crowded House.
I guess you could say I'm a fan.
He's never ever delivered a bad performance, but this last performance, at the beautiful Civic Theatre - my Mecca for all things wonderful in Newcastle - was superb.
He played a mix of everything, songs from the new album, Dizzy Heights, solo tunes, obscure tracks rarely played live, Crowded House tracks, and a large selection of Split Enz.
He also channeled The Kinks and Michael Jackson, playing the guitar and drums almost at once, which was fabulously fun!
He also played a lot at the piano, songs he hadn't played on the piano before too, and they were superb!
And he was loving every single minute of it, having fun with us the audience, playing and joking about. This is not unusual for him, but it just made me appreciate what a consummate yet genuine performer he is. It's a rare thing, I have spoken about this before. I go to a lot of concerts, and it's really rare to go to a dog (I have good taste you know!) but sometimes whilst the performance is great you just don't feel the love, it feels somewhat perfunctory. You never ever get that with Neil.
His band was not Split Enz or Crowded House but they were pretty good. His wife is playing bass with this incarnation of the band, and I wondered how she felt, and indeed how he felt, hearing these stunning songs, so obviously written for her, performed with her own interaction. It must be the ultimate romantic notion...or at least to me.
But really, it's all about Neil. His stage presence, the way he glides about on stage, his spectacular voice, and those songs.
For me, as much as I love his musicality, it's the lyrics. They bring me to my knees, his way with words is second to none. They are poetry in motion, and filled with emotion and romance.
As he writes in one of my favourite tunes, "Where your words devour my heart. And put me to shame, put me to shame."
Neil, that's what we think about you.
My heart was caressed, melted, and devoured for the entire time you were on stage.
I think at some point in the future I will have to post about my favourite Neil Finn lyrics...