Neil Finn cruised into Sydney and delivered a set balanced between ancient history and new works. He created an amiably folksy atmosphere -- a far cry from Crowded House's sometimes manic live performances -- and delved into his work with that band, plus songs from Finn brothers collaborations, solo tracks and some Split Enz.

Front and center in the Oz music scene for a quarter of a century, Neil Finn cruised into Sydney and delivered a set balanced between ancient history and new works. He created an amiably folksy atmosphere — a far cry from Crowded House’s sometimes manic live performances — and delved into his work with that band, plus songs from Finn brothers collaborations, solo tracks and some Split Enz — including a fancy guitar-based arrangement of “I Got You.”

Tour, promoting his second solo album “One Nil,” included a U.K. leg after a spectacular Auckland, N.Z., launch, where Finn fronted a super group for five days that featured brother Tim Finn, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, the Smiths’ guitarist Johnny Marr and former John Mellencamp collaborator Lisa Germano.

Sydney perf was most effective at its extremes — the solo acoustic opener “When You Come,” which allowed the lyrics to resonate throughout the hall, and the full-tilt, revved-up full-band versions of the latest album’s “Driving Me Mad” and Crowded House’s “The World Where You Live.”

Without a current U.S. record deal, Finn, who lives in New Zealand, has no plans for a Stateside tour.

The lineup was a bit loose owing to new members having replaced super group departees, but Finn played up the rustic to great effect. He grabbed an audience member’s cell phone to make a call and encouraged three punters to come onstage to sing Tim Finn’s part in “Weather With You.” Germano, who appears on the album, played a valuable role on violin, keyboards and guitar.

Neil Finn

The Metro, Sydney, Australia; 1,200 capacity; $14.40

Production

Presented by Frontier Touring. Opened, reviewed June 11, 2001.

Cast

Band: Lisa Germano, Sean Sullivan, Scott McPherson, Sebastian Steinberg.
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