Key Points:

The first time I saw Split Enz was at the Bowl of Brooklands in New Plymouth in the early 80s. It was the Enz of an Era tour, I was 10 or thereabouts, and I remember Tim Finn rowing across the lake in front of the stage during Six Months In A Leaky Boat. At least I think that's what happened.

I didn't know then what was going on with this mad music I was hearing. And it still sounds beautifully crazed today.

The sold-out Auckland show last night - there's another show tonight - follows concerts in Christchurch and Wellington and a string of reunion shows in Australia last year.

The current band, made up of the Finn brothers Tim and Neil, Eddie Rayner (keyboards), Nigel Griggs (bass) and Noel Crombie (percussion), is the classic Split Enz line-up from the True Colours days in 1980. The drummer from then, Malcolm Green, is not present; his place is taken by Rotorua lad Michael Barker whose main job is drumming in Australian band the John Butler Trio.

Yes, there's no Phil Judd, the main songwriter with Tim Finn during the band's early days, and no Mike Chunn or Paul Crowther. But this line-up was the one behind True Colours, the album that marked the band's global breakthrough thanks to hits like I Got You and I Hope I Never.

The first song they played last night, a nutty version of Shark Attack, with Tim Finn looning and freestyling at his jerky best around the stage, was also off the album.

They have reformed many times since breaking up in 1984, but this is the mother of all Split Enz reunions.

Last night's crowd made sure that this was a concert that was also a band getting together to play some of the country's best-loved and best-known songs.

And Crombie designed some suits for the occasion, even if they're not as loud and outrageous as the costumes from the band's Mental Notes, Dizrythmia and Frenzy days.

Off Frenzy, they played I See Red and Give It Whirl with its chiming bells - two berserk songs that still sound ahead of their time today.

They doled out the 1976 classic Matinee Idyll, then One Step Ahead, with master percussionist Crombie on his tambourine showing that subtlety rules, and the stunning I Hope I Never on which Tim Finn never missed a note.

Message To My Girl was the first crowd sing-a-long and Crombie took over the drums. Then, with the writhing slippery groove of Dirty Creature, the band got the Vector crowd out of their seats.

This reunion was a celebration, and who says history never repeats?

REVIEW
Who: Split Enz.
Where: Vector Arena.
When: Last night.
Reviewer: Scott Kara.