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Photos: MoniquePizzica

Review: Greg Phillips. Photos: Monique Pizzica

Tim Finn the elder statesman of the esteemed New Zealand music duo the Finn brothers has largely stayed away from live touring for the past decade, preferring to dabble occasionally in music theatre projects or collaborate in the studio with other artists such as Eddie Rayner and Andy White. When it was announced that he’d not only be returning to the stage with a full band this September but also sifting through his back catalogue for The Lives and Times Of Tim Finn concert series, music fans stood up, took notice and most importantly purchased tickets. It’s not the kind of tour you want to miss.

Support act, one time lead singer of The Jezabels and now established solo artist Hayley Mary greeted the Melbourne Palais Theatre crowd with her powerful voice and soaring, cinematic melodies, building on her ever-growing fan-base. Hayley’s had a busy year, recording with Scott Darlow, touring with You Am I’s Tommy production and supporting her husband’s band DMA’s.

Before Tim Finn appeared on stage, his impressive 6 piece band began proceedings by building a funky groove, an infectious intro to the early Split End classic My Mistake from their Dizrythmia album. However as Finn finally shuffled into view, it’s almost like he tripped over a power cord as the stage lighting and audio suddenly died. Not the kind of opening we expected. Thankfully full production resumed in seconds as Tim’s first word to the crowd was “whoops.”

The gremlins were soon forgotten and any cobwebs rapidly brushed away with a stunning version of arguably Split Enz’s greatest hit I See Red. If quintessential Finn magic like that is coming in at song two, it’s clearly going to be a long and strong evening of timeless music. In explanation of the set list, Tim suggests that he’d be playing songs in chronological order, which meant that the legendary True Colours album (the record which saved Mushroom Records) was about to get a run. Poor Boy, Nobody Takes Me Seriously, and Shark Attack follow, underlining what a significant recording that album was to Australian music history. Finn then took a seat at the grand piano to perform the album’s most beautiful track I Hope I Never. Sure, he’s not reaching the vocal register of a younger Tim Finn but with the assistance of his daughter Elliot on backing vocals and a quality band behind him, you’d be a hard soul not to be touched by this performance.

The band consisted of Brett Adams on lead guitar, switching through a range of instruments to find the most appropriate sounding licks for each piece. On the other side of the stage Tony Buchen laid down some solid bass lines, also changing from a Hofner style bass to what looked like a metal-style BC Rich bass, depending on the required groove, throwing in some Split Enzish body moves to add to the vibe. Carlos Adura was solid on drums while Niall Anderson provided era-specific synth sounds from his workstation. Carlo Barbaro on assorted wind and brass contributed a touch of class to the overall picture and Tim’s daughter Elliot showcased her significant vocal range.

Six Months in a Leaky Boat and Dirty Creature saw the band exhibit a jam element with band master Tim controlling the tempo on the fly, moving the show from just a performance of hits to a deeper musical experience.

Made My Day from Finn’s solo album Escapade was one of the more powerful moments of the night with the band in full flight. The Melbourne crowd responded enthusiastically as Finn reminisced about his time living in the southern city and particularly around St. Kilda, where tonight’s venue resides.

Persuasion was dedicated to audience member Jackie, who had yelled out for Tim to sign her leg. He suggested that road crew assist the girl to come up on stage with a sharpie, only to see a prosthetic leg arrive without it’s owner.

A Crowded House section of the evening followed, again spotlighting the incredible contribution Tim Finn has made to Australian/NZ music. Chocolate Cake, It’s Only Natural and Weather With You from the Woodface album were met with eager applause. Personally I would have loved to have heard All I Ask, which I believe is Tim’s finest moment from the album but the vocally challenging track may not have translated as well in 2023.

Abandoning the chronological theme, Tim reverted back to the Dizrhythmia album for the encore with the much-loved acoustic-based track Charley. Hard Act to Follow and Staring at The Embers ended the evening on a high. The Lives and Times Of Tim Finn is a celebration of one of the most gifted songwriters to come out of this part of the world and for the the Palais crowd tonight, it was a chance to relive some nostalgic moments from their past.

Remaining Tim Finn gigs:



For complete tour and ticket information, visit:

Hayley Mary

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