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7 Worlds Collide assembles
an intense, brilliant band

Neil Finn & Friends
7 Worlds Collide — Live at the St. James
(Nettwerk)
Director: Paul Casserley

By NICK TAVARES
STATIC and FEEDBACK Editor

Neil Finn’s career has seen many faces — teen
wonderboy songwriter, 80s pop superstar, cult classic,
always great singer/songwriter — so it’s only fitting that
this collection has so many other faces. A gathering of
some of his favorite musicians, friends and followers,
Neil Finn’s
7 Worlds Collide — Live at the St. James
serves as the apex (so far) of what has been a fabulous
career.

Beginning with a quick, self-deprecating intro by Finn
explaining the inspiration and application of the string of
concerts that this DVD is culled from, the set gives off a
loose but special feel. As Finn says, “I thought it might be
possible to bring together an unusual lineup of
musicians from different bands. … We could rehearse a set, become a band, play a few shows and then break
up before anything went wrong.”

If nothing else, his timing was perfect, because little if anything appears to have gone wrong. The band, which
includes Lisa Germano, Eddie Vedder, Johnny Marr, Sebastian Steinberg, Ed O’Brien, Phil Selway and Neil’s
brother and sometimes band mate Tim Finn, draws from songs from all facets of Finn’s career, through Split
Enz and Crowded House to his solo work, as well as numbers from the other band members.

“Fall at Your Feet” kicks the concert off, with just Finn on guitar and vocals and Germano backing him. The
simple, sad song gives the set a hint of melancholy that never completely lets up, which shows on “Anytime” and
“Private Universe,” but it does indeed break for bits of fun. Vedder takes the lead vocal for a rousing take on Split
Enz’ “Take a Walk,” while Johnny Marr’s own “Down on the Corner” has a rollicking spirit. Betchadupa, fronted by
Finn’s son Liam, runs though two classic Enz tracks, “History Never Repeats” and “I See Red” with Vedder
fronting, the latter of which has a roaring cameo by the Finn elder Tim.

The serious mood, brooding and intense, really does shine here, though. Germano’s two songs, “Paper Doll”
and “Cry Wolf” tackle some uncomfortable content and force the listener to be sucked in. Marr’s and O’Brien’s
guitar swirls and spirals turn Pearl Jam’s “Parting Ways” even darker than it usually is, while O’Brien shines on
“Suffer Never,” where his distortion and ragged tone tears the song in two.

It all winds up with “Don’t Dream It’s Over,” the song that nearly pigeon-holed Finn in the mid-80s. But the subtle
beauty and power shine here, with everyone on stage filling a simple role. It’s in no way reminiscent of “We Are
the World” or some other terrible celebrity sing-along, it’s just a band working together and having a blast.

That’s the real star of this DVD. It’s not necessarily Finn, or Marr, or Vedder, or Germano. It’s the band, the band
that came together for two weeks, surfed, played and disappeared.

They left a great back-catalog in their wake, too.
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