Neil Finn’s tribute to Audioride
Posted on Audioride's site Oct 5th 2001
"A few weeks back I went to Neil Finn’s show at the Forum. I'd anticipated the gig for some time and had the ambitious idea of somehow getting an Audioride demo to Neil himself. I figured at the concert I’d put a demo at his feet, with mind, and hope, he’d take it away and listen to it.
I knew the CD cover had to be eye catching, so in the weeks prior I photoshopped a picture of Neil and I having a beer and titled it ‘Neil n Dave’.
The big night came. I stood in the 3000-strong crowd, debating my level of lunacy. Neil and band came on and they were simply on fire.
Timidly, I placed the CD on the far side of the stage, but Ali, unsatisfied, frisbeed it towards Neil in the center. I was horrified as I watched it fly through the air, but it landed, miraculously, plum in front of him. The band was playing “Weather with You” but Neil’s attention went straight to the flying object now between his feet.
As soon as the song stopped, he bent down and picked it up. My heart rate skyrocketed. “Look what this bloke has done?!” he said into the booming mic, the large crowd curiously attentive “he’s put my head on the cover! Ya know, 90% of demos I get I never listen to, but this will make me listen to it!” I was well chuffed, thinking that maybe, just maybe, this little stunt might create the musical inroad that Audioride desperately needed. But Neil wasn’t finished, “Maybe we should listen to it now!”
My knees started shaking like a newborn giraffe, assuming he was going to invite me up on stage. But instead, he asked the crowd to pass the CD along to the sound desk. The crowd was silent in anticipation and I wet in perspiration as the CD passed almost directly over me and my shaking knees.
To Neil’s plan, our scratchy little demo started belting through the theatre-sized PA. I remember the look of happy perplexment on the faces of the crowd. Neil started semi-sarcastically bopping his head as he listened. He could have crushed me in a comment, but he didn’t. "It's quite poppy!” he said. Ali kissed me on the cheek. My dumb grin couldn’t have been removed with a crowbar.
With the song still playing, I noticed Neil tweaking his guitar, discreetly figuring out the chords in real time, and then to mine, the crowd’s, and even his band’s surprise, he instructed the sound guy to fade out the CD after which he counted in the band and they started playing a semi-piss take version of the song! My disbelief could have been sold in a 4-gallon drum. It sounded, simply, enormous! The song, Guest Ascenders, had the highest vocal note in the Audioride catalogue, and I watched Neil hit it with such ease I decided, then and there, I’d go home and burn my guitars. The song finished a couple of minutes later, but my disbelief has lived since.
One of the greatest feelings was knowing that my best mate, Matty Ryan (drummer of Audioride) was in the crowd. I knew his knees would've caved in as well, and this was proven when after the gig we met in the foyer and he grabbed me by the shoulders. “You bastard!!!!”
So let it be told, the first person to cover Audioride was Neil Finn."