Auckland Zoo a crowded house for family's set of shining songs, writes Lydia Jenkin.

Auckland had done a good job of setting the scene for the Finn family, appropriately showing off four seasons in one day - thunder, lightning, heavy rain and blazing sunshine - before they took to the band rotunda in the middle of the Auckland Zoo on Friday.

It was a special evening, with two hours of songs that make up many key threads in the tapestry of Kiwi music, performed by two generations ably jumping between instruments and vocal parts, clearly revelling in the opportunity to play each others' songs.

The crowd were a little distracted early on, trying to find a reasonable spot in the proverbial sardine tin with the usually spacious grassy knoll and surrounding areas absolutely crammed with families and fans.

But once they broke into Six Months In A Leaky Boat, everyone was in singalong mode.


It was great to hear some of Liam's best tunes in an early bracket - spirited renditions of Burn Up The Road and Fire In Your Belly went down a treat, but it was when he broke into his lovely, lilting singalong No Regrets, a spell seemed to settle.

With Liam's younger brother Elroy on drums and sometimes bass duties, and Tim's son Harper playing keys and drums at various points, they had a significantly deep well of sounds to draw on as a five-piece, and Crowded House tracks sounded just as rollicking and rocking as they do when played by Crowded House.

Tim professed his admiration for Liam's chord progressions as they broke into another of his recent numbers, Snug As F***, and Neil enthusiastically swapped to drums.

The intimate, haunting strains of Four Seasons In One Day didn't quite seem to translate in the airy, open venue (despite its appropriateness), but Better Be Home Soon was a sweet moment with Neil simply accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, and the voice of the crowd swelling to join Tim and Liam's harmony parts.

Even the birds decided to get involved with an evening chorus of their own.

Tim's rendition of Edible Flowers was equally poignant, as was Liam's Neurotic World.

There were plenty of great stories told in between songs - that time a publicist thought Tim was gay, or how they wrote Kiss The Road Of Rarotonga on stage at Trader Jacks, and how Granddad was keeping watch on proceedings via Skype.

But the songs shined above all else - Liam's beautiful harmonies with Tim on Second Chance, Harper sounding remarkably full-voiced as he took the lead on Stuff and Nonsense, or the wonderfully tribal-esque version of Take The Weather which had the entire flock (or should they be called a festoon, or a frolic?) of Finns on stage.


The gentle mosh pit expanded throughout the evening, testament to how much the fans of all ages enjoyed hearing the classic hits and choice selections of this remarkable musical family in such a characterful venue.

What: Finn family concert
Where and when: Auckland Zoo, Friday, February 27