The essays written by Neil Finn and Paul Kelly enclosed inside the booklet within this double-CD set are, like the two men's original songs, wholly and completely without affectation. These two kindred spirits instead speak frankly about the pragmatic aspects of their collaboration, such as choosing the songs and rehearsing with the band, for a concert tour that yielded this recording of their very last show.
The refreshing simplicity of material such as "Four Seasons in a Day," mutually agreed upon in advance and supplied by each of these estimable composers, reveals an increasing level nuance with each track. Kelly and Finn's vocal harmonies soar on "Before Too Long," and the addition of a female voice in harmony from bassist Zoe Hauptmann during "She Will Have Her Way" is perfectly sublime. And both men for their part evince a justifiable pride in their respective bodies of work dating back to Finn's membership in Split Enz and Crowded House and Kelly's leadership of The Messengers.
Such subtleties might sound precious if it weren't for the muscular acoustic and electric rhythm guitars of the frontmen (plus keyboard and harmonica flourishes) or guitarist Dan Kelly's incisive lead solos, (the corrosive likes of which such as the one on "Won't Give In," balances the delicacy of "New Found Year"). The nephew of Paul takes an approach to his instrument similar to that which Neil's son Elroy applies to his drum kit, the sum of which unpretentious approach is an extension of the down-to-earth attitude (es) of Kelly and Finn, as expressed in such a variety of ways in their original songs as well as in their repartee with the Sydney Opera House audience, as on "For the Ages."
Given the fact this final show of the tour was streamed internationally when it took place in March of 2015, it only stands to reason Kelly and Finn would engage master engineer Bob Clearmountain to preserve the clarity of sound in the arrangements the quintet fashioned. But that virtue can't be taken for granted as the instrumental parts on tunes such as "Deeper Water" reflect the care of conception in the marriages of words and music. Paul Kelly tunes such as that in turn mesh with Finn's own numbers, including '"Don't Dream It's Over" and "Message to My Girl," in such a way the songs, as alternated in the twenty-nine item setlist, sound like the work of true alter egos. That sensation is only slightly less so, if at all, in the closing couplet, Buddy Holly's "Words of Love" and the certifiable standard "Moon River."
It's a shame and a sin that Goin' Your Way was released fairly far under the radar late in 2015. And that the practicalities of bringing this band to the United States precluded a tour: Neil Finn and Paul Kelly are folk heroes of a sort in their native country based on the (deserved) reverence accorded their body of work. But this is a set of songs, as stylishly played as originally composed, that is worth the effort for a musiclover to search out and own. It will make an ever-so-treasured entry to the collection.
CD 1: Don't Stand So Close to the Window; Four Seasons in One Day; Before Too Long; She Will Have Her Way; Not the Girl You Think You Are; For the Ages; Sinner; Won't Give In; Careless; Leaps and Bounds; Only Talking Sense; New Found Year; Into Temptation; You Can Put Your Shoes Under My Bed; Private Universe. CD 2: Dumb Things;One Step Ahead; Deeper Water; Better Be Home Soon; How to Make Gravy; Distant Sun; Winter Coat; Fall at Your Feet; To Her Door; Don't Dream It's Over;
Message to My Girl; Love is the Law; Words of Love; Moon River.
Neil Finn: vocals, piano, acoustic guitar; Paul Kelly:vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica; Dan Kelly: guitar; Zoe Hauptmann: bass guitar, double bass; backing vocals; Elroy Finn: drums.
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