DVD Review: Neil Finn, The Sun Came Out

Five minutes into this amazing behind-the-scenes look at the 7 Worlds Collide project, the cameraman, while out on the golf course with producer Jim Scott, asks what he knew about Neil Finn prior to embarking on this epic endeavor. He answers that he knew exactly what everyone else did: that Crowded House should have been the most popular band in the entire world. While I agree with this sentiment, it did nothing to lessen my ability to be awestruck by the amazing group of musicians Finn assembled and brought together in his gorgeous west coast Piha studio to write and record a double album of new songs to benefit Oxfam.

With a lineup this impressive (Johnny Marr, Jeff Tweedy, KT Tunstall, Finn, etc.), you might think that the only thing colliding would be colossal egos and conflicting musical ideas, but you would be dead wrong. These are men and women who have played in some of the world's most popular and influential bands (The Smiths, Radiohead, Wilco, Crowded House, Split Enz, etc.) and yet everything is shed at the door as they write, record, and play these amazing songs with not a hint of haughty one-upmanship. Jesus, it's enough to make a woman almost hopeful.

The beautiful west coast of Auckland is the warm and wild backdrop for what turns out to be a three-week, full-on family experience. Neil invites not only the musicians but their entire extended broods. He then proceeds to find homes and creature comforts for each and every one of these people, their wives and children, all while offering them the kind of warm welcoming hospitality that nearly has me racing for the nearest airport after dropping him a note on Twitter to let him know where to pick me up. I honestly believe he'd at LEAST send a driver for me.

This intimate behind-the-scenes look puts the viewer in the rarefied position of feeling like you are there while some of the world's best come together to make beautiful music in one of the most breathtaking locations on the face of the earth. The newer concert footage is cut into the movie throughout the creative process and compliments the bonus 7 Worlds Collide concert video from 2001 which is also included (fans of Eddie Vedder and Neil's brother Tim Finn will be happy to see both in fine form).

This is one of those must haves for anyone in love with the idea that collaborative juices make for better musical stew. In this case it just so happenes that the main ingredients and the seasoning came together in the best damn slow-cooked goodness you can imagine. Yum.

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