[Review] Split Enz: Anniversary (1994)

A wonderful concert disc that proves you can go back home again.

Kronomyth 13.0: A happy enzing.

And a fond farewell to all such punz hereafter. It’s a small miracle they didn’t call this Enziversary. Recorded in the spring of 1993, this New Zealand 20th anniversary tour was mostly a favor to fans. How do you thank people for sticking by you through all the strange haircuts, lineup changes and offshoot projects? You give ‘em what they want: “What’s the Matter with You,” “Message to My Girl,” “Shark Attack.”

And you make the evening a relaxed and intimate affair of thumbing through the old musical scrapbook. You don’t forget your humble beginnings, you celebrate them in songs like “Charley” and “Split Ends.” Maybe even toss in a new treat, like “Best Friend,” or work in one moby dick of a spoon solo. But most of all, you enjoy the moment. You don’t worry about falling because the audience is filled with people who’ll catch you if you do.

That sums up the spirit of Anniversary. The sound quality isn’t perfect (among other things, I read in AMG that the audience feedback was artificially created after the fact to compensate for poor miking), but little in Split Enz’s too-short life worked out to be perfect. Still, you maintained in the face of resistance (and, yes, even ridicule) that underneath those strange outfits beat the heart of The Beatles. And you were right. So take a bow. And sing along while the Enz take theirs.

The Songs

A1. Shark Attack (Tim Finn)
A2. Poor Boy (Tim Finn)
A3. Hermit McDermitt (Tim Finn)
A4. Years Go By (Neil Finn/Eddie Rayner)
A5. Split Ends (Tim Finn/Phil Judd)
A6. Message to My Girl (Neil Finn)
A7. Best Friend (Tim Finn/Neil Finn)
A8. Six Months in a Leaky Boat (Split Enz)*
A9. What’s the Matter with You (Neil Finn)
A10. Dirty Creature (Tim Finn/Nigel Griggs/Neil Finn)*
A11. I See Red (Tim Finn)
A12. Time for a Change (Phil Judd)
A13. Strait Old Line (Neil Finn)
A14. Charley (Tim Finn)
A15. History Never Repeats (Neil Finn)
A16. (hidden track) Hard Act to Follow*

The Players

Noel Crombie (percussion), Neil Finn (vocals, lead guitar), Tim Finn (vocals, piano), Nigel Griggs (bass guitar), Paul Hester (drums), Eddie Rayner (keyboards). Produced by Eddie Rayner and Nigel Griggs; recording engineered by Angus Davidson.

The Plastic

Released on compact disc in 1994 in Australia and the UK (Mushroom, D98010) without (*) tracks.

  1. Re-released on expanded compact disc in 1996 in the US (Beacon/Fuel 2000, BEA 51567).
  2. Re-issued on expanded compact disc in 1997 in the US (Fuel 2000, FLD-1005).

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