Neil Finn / Paul Kelly

Goin' Your Way

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What if Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young did a tour together? A true co-headlining show where they shared a band, tossed songs from their respective careers back and forth, and chimed in on one another's favorite tunes? In 2013, fans of Australian pop got their own version of that scenario when two of the great songwriters and bandleaders of the Antipodes, Neil Finn (best known in North America as the leader of Crowded House) and Paul Kelly (whose '80s recordings with his group the Messengers made him a cult hero in America and a major star at home), teamed up for a series of concerts where they each cherry-picked hits and rarities from their songbooks and performed with a band featuring Neil's son Elroy Finn on drums and acoustic guitar, Paul's son Dan Kelly on guitar and keyboards, and Zoe Hauptmann from Kelly's touring band on bass. The Sydney date of the tour was recorded for posterity, and Goin' Your Way is a splendid document of two master tunesmiths showing off their best work as well as their estimable skills as performers. While for the most part Finn sings Finn and Kelly sings Kelly, the two wisely know when to add accents to one another's songs (one of the sweetest moments comes when, after Kelly finishes "For the Ages," Finn picks up the chorus and leads the crowd in a singalong), and with five capable vocalists on-stage, the harmonies are great and add to the impact of the performances. The five musicians fill out the tunes with impressive skill, giving these songs arrangements that play to their strengths without excess gingerbread, and the final product favors Finn and Kelly equally, allowing each artist to show off his own style while demonstrating how well they can work together (and their interaction is probably more satisfying than what we would get from that imaginary Springsteen/Young show). Goin' Your Way catches two top-notch artists in grand form, giving their best for their fans and seemingly having a lot of fun doing it, and this is an engaging souvenir of an inspired meeting of the smart pop minds.

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