The Finn Brothers Royal Albert Hall March 2005I AM going to start from the beginning, I promise and have told myself.  But this one just came to me today and it will always be alive and well in my memory as it was such a sad time.

Look, we worked with plenty of big names during our time as roadies but I was so excited to hear that I was going to be working with the Finn Brothers at the Royal Albert Hall in London, with Bic Runga as Support Act.  There is nothing quite like fellow kiwis when you are abroad.  It just feels like family.

The Finns were scheduled to do shows at the RAH on 28, 29, 30 March followed by one in Portsmouth on 1 April, all as a prelude to further European dates.  But on 26 March fellow Split Enz and Crowded House band member, Paul Hester, committed suicide.

“On 26 March 2005, aged 46, Hester committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree in a park near his home. He had split from the mother of his two daughters Olive and Sunday (aged 4 and 10 at the time). It was known to family and close friends that he had been suffering from depression for a number of years, and he was known for his extreme mood swings.[3] Hester was buried at Blackwood in the high-country region of Victoria. His life was commemorated at the 2005 Aria Awards, with Neil Finn singing the staple Crowded House anthem solo “Better Be Home Soon” along with a mini-biography and footage from his life and achievements.”

With the travel to the UK, time differences, etc, we didn’t really hear about it until Sunday 27 March, the day before we were due to do the London shows.

Turning up at the Royal Albert Hall on the Monday morning was an incredibly somber experience.  There was such a sadness in the air and with one of our chefs having worked with the Finns and co for so many years, he too was feeling the grief and another chef was called in to assist.

That night, there was a real chill in the air and I am sure that everyone in the Royal Albert Hall, including me, had goosebumps as the crowd grieved openly with the Finn Brothers.  It was a remarkable concert, dedicated to Paul as the boys fought their way through the evening.

The London dates were fulfilled but as the musicians all wanted to be back in Australia for the funeral, the remainder of the dates were postponed.

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