Crowed House – State Theater – Minneapolis MN – May 14th 2023

REVIEW: Crowded House – May 14, 2023 at The State Theater, Minneapolis

Review and photos by jim Zons

Back in 1986, I was the music director at a small AM radio station in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and I had pretty free reign to program just about type of music I wanted, as long as it was somewhere between rock and pop.  I remember an album by a new Australian band with a cool name landing on my desk:  Crowded House. We played numerous tracks off that album on our station well before Crowded House hit the charts with “Don’t Dream It’s Over,” and I really appreciated their distinct sound back then.

Fast forward almost 40 years and I was pleasantly surprised to see that Crowded House would be performing at the State Theater in Minneapolis, on Sunday, May 14, 2023, and I knew I had to catch this show!

Opening for Crowded House was Ohio based Spirt of the Bear, whose short set was lively and melodic.  The Minneapolis show was the first show for the band on this tour.

Next on stage, Crowded House! For those who don’t know, the original band actually split up back in 1996 as all the members went their separate ways.  They regrouped back in 2006 but drifted apart again. The current lineup is a family affair with founder and lead singer Neil Finn joined on stage by his two sons: Liam on guitar and Elroy on drums, along with original bassist Nick Seymour and the band’s original producer from the 1980s Mitchell Froom on keyboards.

From the first couple of songs in their set, you could tell the band was having FUN.  There was a lot of playful banter, and some jokes back and forth in between songs. You can tell when a band is having a good time when they deviate from their set list and drop something unexpected in … like a bit of Lara’s Theme from Doctor Zhivago!  The entire set spanned music from their entire catalog, with songs from their 1986 debut album to new tracks from their latest album.   Before creating Crowded House in the 1980s, both Neil Finn and Nick Seymour were in the New Zealand band Split Enz along with Neil’s brother Tim Finn, so Sunday night concert featured a couple of Split Enz covers, including “Message to My Girl” which was a solo effort by Neil on piano.

Of course, the band’s two biggest US hits, “Don’t Dream It’s Over” and “Something So Strong” were both featured near the end of a very long set, so I was expecting … that’s it!  Ending the night strong after almost two hours!  But then, after an extended break, the band came out for an encore .. of five more songs! First up was a cover of the Split Enz song “I Got You” which sounded amazing live.  They also dropped in some songs that have never been played on the tour previously including “Locked Out” and a Neil Finn original, “Sinner,” which hadn’t been played by Crowded House since 2008!  In fact, during the song, Neil had to lean over to tell bassist Nick Seymour which key it was in so he knew what to play! The only reason that they may have played it is because some loud guy in the audience kept requesting it during the encore, so Neil just sort of started playing it! Spontaneous moments like that are what truly make concerts special.

The final song in the encore was “Better Be Home Soon” which seemed like a great way to wrap up a fantastic concert by a Crowded House!  If you get a chance to catch this band while they’re on the current tour, do it!