Live reviews


Live review: Crowded House at O2 Academy Shepherd’s Bush, 13/6/24

Neil Finn and co deliver a joyous night of perfect guitar pop with a cameo from Mick Fleetwood

When your night starts with Mick Fleetwood ambling on stage to introduce the band, you know you’re in for something special.

Crowded House are consummate professionals, as adept at charming an audience as they are at delivering the most gorgeous guitar pop in existence. But there’s something else about the band, particularly Neil Finn. You can see them live as many times as you want, it’s always even better than you remembered.

Basking in the warm banter between Finn and crowd, Finn and long-time lieutenant Nick Seymour, Finn and Finns Jr (sons Liam and Elroy feature heavily in this iteration), the realisation hits that not only is Neil Finn one of the greatest songwriters of all time, he’s also a very, very funny man. He jibes at Seymour for his “unstructured trousers”, his childhood spent singing showtunes and for injuring his knee “sashaying to ‘Dawn of Aquarius’”. When Mick Fleetwood returns to the stage for the Split Enz classic ‘I Got You’, Finn jokes, “His cap is on backwards, this is serious”.

Crowded House are in London off the back of their brilliant new album Gravity Stairs, which meshes perfectly with the numerous hits also on offer. Rather than a perfunctory run-through of the album in track order, they’re scattered throughout the set, ‘Teenage Summer’ arriving early and the gorgeous ‘Some Greater Plan (For Claire)’ providing one of the highlights of the night, with the help of guest stars from Greek band Maistrato.

The rest of the show is a joyous amalgamation of hits. ‘Fall At Your Feet’ is as gently devastating as ever, ‘Distant Sun’ an emotional burst of sunshine. But Crowded House know how to put together a setlist and the four-song encore is made up of one peak after another.

‘It’s Only Natural’ leads into the return of a swinging Mick Fleetwood for ‘I Got You’ before someone has to retrieve Mick for a roof-raising ‘Weather With You’. Neil Finn himself suggests that’s maybe the perfect way to say goodnight, before delivering one more knockout blow with a whole-room singalong on ‘Four Seasons In One Day’. With the summer we’re having, there’s no better two songs to end the night and send the crowd back out into a rainy June night.

Next year will mark the band’s 40th birthday. What’s become clear is that whether they’re playing the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury or a packed Shepherd’s Bush, Crowded House have used those four decades to mould themselves into one of the best live bands on the planet.

Crowded House are on tour around the UK and Ireland throughout June 2024 and play Isle Of Wight Festival on 20 June. Get tickets here.