Rick Koster: Hey, Ears? Meet God! Neil Finn in New Haven!

The Deity known as Neil Finn brings his Dizzy Heights solo tour to New Haven's Shubert Theatre Thursday.

Do what you need to do – just be there. And, yes, tickets are still available.

The show will feature plenty of material from Dizzy Heights, naturally, which, like his first solo album, Try Whistling This, is a bit experimental but very rewarding once you marinate in the Master's Muse.

The set list will also include a rich sampling from the obvious Crowded House and Split Enz biggies: "Don't Dream It's Over," "Distant Sun," "Fall at Your Feet," "I Got You," "One Step Ahead," "History Never Repeats," "Better Be Home Soon." Even the casual fan will recognize these.

But that's the thing about Finn's work over 35-plus years. There are dozens and dozens of songs the casual fan's never heard – and they're stunning. Much better than the offal we hear every day on radio.

The accompanying soundtrack herein features "obscurities" that you're likely to hear at the Shubert on Thursday as well as a few gems from Dizzy Heights.

As a pop songwriter and performer, Finn is about the best there is. If the geneticists out there are mapping the threads of his sonic DNA, they'll find many similarities to Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson and Cole Porter – which is to say Finn's approach to structure is rarely predictable and always melodic.

For example, the first song on today's soundtack, "Into the Sunset," is a hauntingly lovely song presumably about losing someone special. The verse/chorus blueprint stands on its own as gorgeous perfection – and then, out of nowhere, at 2:57, Finn veers off in a new direction so beautiful and uplifting it will break your heart. Who thinks of this stuff? Neil Freakin' Finn, that's who.

I'm not sure why Finn has never reached an American audience the way he resonates with the rest of the world. I suspect it's our fault as a culture -- after all, those LMFAO cretins are homegrown and Finn's from New Zealand and this should scare all of us here in the U.S.

Anyway, in any of his projects – Split Enz, Crowded House, solo, The Finn Brothers (with sibling Tim), Pajama Club (with wife Sharon), the 7 Worlds Collide collective (Johnny Marr, Wilco, Eddie Vedder, KT Tunstall, Lisa Germano, Radiohead's Ed O'Brien, etc) — Finn just effortlessly seems to produce wonderful and timeless material.

I'm always amazed, when Finn comes up in conversation – as he seems to a lot whenever I open my mouth and words come out – how many folks will hear song titles or snatches of melody, and say, "Oh, THAT guy! Yeah, he's tremendous!"

I'm pretty sure we'll never see Split Enz again, and maybe not even Crowded House. It's a great thing, then, that Finn's coming to our area NOW – and if you've never seen him in any of his personae, this is your chance. 800-745-3000 or www.shubert.com.



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