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Tim Finn - Gig Review: Tim Finn @ Christchurch Town Hall, Christchurch - 20/09/2023

21 Sep 2023 // A review by Peter K Malthus

I'm still on a high, from this show. Still totally amped up about it. It's the following morning, and I treated my two teens to a selection of some of my favourite Tim Finn songs from last night's set, at high volume, before they left for school. I attended the show with a friend, and I sent them a video this morning of me dancing around my living room to I See Red.

Honestly, it was a truly magical night. I hadn't seen any announcements of support acts, and it was a real treat to experience a short, sweet set by Flip Grater and Brooke Singer. Their singing voices are uniquely different but blended together exquisitely. This was the first show in a while for Flip since becoming a mother, an experience which inspired some of the beautiful songs they performed. At times joyful, at others wistfully mournful, their set had the loving crowd spellbound.

My friend and I had been excitedly discussing which songs we were hoping to hear in the upcoming set, and we didn't have long to wait before our wishes were fulfilled. A six-piece band took to the stage and launched into the start of My Mistake. After a suitably tantalizing pause, one of New Zealand's all-time greatest showmen strutted on stage to rapturous applause. Clad in a well-fitting black suit and crowned with a dashing mop of silver-fox hair, Tim Finn arrived and filled the room with his presence. Just as the song properly started, he appeared to stand on something, which caused everything to go silent and for the lights to black out. A second later, the lights came back up... to which he announced, "Oh sorry... that was my mistake" and BANG! It was all go, from there. The instant that the lively version of My Mistake finished, I got my number one wish: they slammed right into a rollocking version of I See Red.

The next number saw his daughter Elliot Finn go from backing vocals, to singing the first verse as lead vocalist, showing off superb vocal skills. The whole band were incredible. A tight, solid drummer. A multi-talented dynamo of a bass player, who is a fierce performer, and also provided piccolo and harmonica throughout the set. The keys player, and multi-instrumentalist woodwind/brass player were both exceptional. Brett Adams is a guitar player I thoroughly enjoy, and he was in top-notch form. They were an excellent collective, ably supporting this beloved master songwriter. 

The setlist followed his stellar career, as he shared anecdotes about the various periods that the songs were born from. He spoke of the collaborative creation of Persuasion, of receiving praise for Six Months In A Leaky Boat that warmed his heart, the relaxed fun atmosphere in the creation of Fraction Too Much Friction. So many incredible songs, that are embedded in the cultural DNA of our nation. Poor Boy, Shark Attack, I Hope I Never, Dirty Creature, Take The Weather, the hits just kept coming. After a brief obligatory fake 'finish' and walk off, the seven-piece exercise in masterclass came back out to perform a few more songs, ending the set for real this time with Staring At The Embers. It almost felt that way, too, in a really good way: as if we'd all been sitting around a campfire, being taken on a wondrous journey by a gifted raconteur, and here at the end of the night we're staring at the embers, lost in reverie's warm glow.

The Lives And Times Of Tim Finn tour continues tonight in Wellington, and tomorrow in Auckland. They're in for a treat, let me tell you. Thank you, Tim.


About Tim Finn

“Imagine there is an old stone wall at the bottom of your garden, beyond which is a beach and further out a volcanic island. You are sitting on the wall drinking coffee. It’s a radiant winter morning and you feel passing through each moment the exquisite rhythms of friendship and disappointment, encouragement and love.” Tim Finn on the mood of, The View Is Worth The Climb, Auckland 2011

Tim Finn stands barefoot at the studio microphone. There’s a music stand within arm’s reach and a holy picture sits next to a lyric sheet. The studio is littered with old analogue gear and reels of fresh tape. Producer Jacquire King looks at Finn from behind a high-tech console as the band adjust their volume. The singer takes a deep breath, looks back at the producer and smiles. Then the magic begins.

For Finn, the magic has been happening over a long period: across generations, beyond horizons and around the world. One of the new century’s great classicists, Finn has a formidable reputation as a singer and songwriter. His lineage goes back to the group he co-founded in New Zealand in the early 1970?s, Split Enz. Alongside that is his acclaimed solo work, as well as tenure with Crowded House. Now he’s returned with a new solo album, The View Is Worth The Climb.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Tim Finn


What You've Done
Year: ????
Type: Album
The View Is Worth The Climb
Year: 2011
Type: Album
The Conversation
Year: 2008
Type: Album
Imaginary Kingdom
Year: 2006
Type: Album
Everyone Is Here
Year: 2004
Type: Album
Feeding The Gods
Year: 2001
Type: Album
Say It Is So
Year: 2000
Type: Album
Before & After
Year: 1993
Type: Album
Tim Finn
Year: 1989
Type: Album
Big Canoe
Year: 1986
Type: Album
Year: 1983
Type: Album

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