Live shows from long ago… Split Enz

Split Enz, Town Hall, Wellington, New Zealand.

Evening Post, 20/2/80

In one of his first live reviewing assignments, in 1980 GARY STEEL was sent to check out the triumphant return of “the Enz”.

Split Enz played to an ecstatic, frenzied mob of fans in last night’s Town Hall concert. The packed audience showed their adulation by filling the aisles before show time in readiness for the steamy, sweaty dance-bath of bodies soon to eventuate.

A taped intro, dry ice swirled the stage, and on entrance of the Enz the crowd rose as one to worship their heroes – local boys come home.


Would you like to support our mission to bring intelligence, insight and great writing to entertainment journalism? Help to pay for the coffee that keeps our brains working and fingers typing just for you. Witchdoctor, entertainment for grownups. Your one-off (or monthly) $5 or $10 donation will support and help us keep producing quality content. It’s really easy to donate, just click the ‘Become a supporter’ button below.


Split Enz, on this their “trooping of the colours” tour, stick almost exclusively to recent material. No looking back for these chaps. ‘Double Happy’, ‘How Can I Resist here?’, ‘What’s The Matter With You’, ‘Nobody Takes Me Seriously’ (which leader Tim Finn dedicates to “all those who’ve got a job they don’t like doing… like making sausages”), ‘I Wouldn’t Dream Of It’, ‘I Hope I Never’, ‘I Got You’ and ‘Shark Attack’ all reside on the new True Colours album.

But only the ballad ‘I Hope I Never’ benefits from the live treatment, gaining a faster tempo with “cocktail drumming, for all those who are trying to forget.”

Abysmal sound quality massacres most of these new songs, which are largely dependent on subtle nuances unheard in the circumstances, and an energy which the rhythm section – Malcolm Green (drums) and Nigel Griggs (bass) fail to emit.

The remaining music came from the previous two albums, last year’s Frenzy (‘Marooned’, ‘I See Red’, ‘Body & Soul’, ‘Give It A Whirl’, ‘Hermit McDermit’ and ‘Frenzy’) and Dyzrhythmia (‘Charley’ and ‘My Mistake’).

All fine, rousing stuff, but ‘tis a pity that songs with more depth – ‘Poor Boy’, for example – were not aired.

Split Enz were only on for an hour and 20 minutes – which for them is peculiarly short – but they still gave their most and, in general, performed magnificently.

The throngs had certainly not come to demand or criticise, they had come to say an overdue “Thanks Enz, for sticking around. We love ya!”

Panasonic air conditioning heatpump ad - Heat Cool and Purify

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.