Finn and Kelly to tour together
Paul Kelly (above) and Neil Finn say their 10-date tour together has been a long time coming.
Neil Finn and Paul Kelly will tour together in Australia in February and March, promising concerts that will canvas at least 30 hand-picked songs from across their impressive careers.
But don't just expect Kelly and Finn singing their well-known numbers. There will be re-interpretations, an occasional switch between artist and song and possibly even new material.
"We don't want this to be a token romp through each other's songs, we want it to be a little more expansive. We want to put time and work into creating distinctive versions of the stuff we do, that are distinct to this tour," Finn said.
The pair have been emailing each other to work out a final set list for the performances (it's currently down to a shortlist of 50), which were announced during a press conference at the Sydney Opera House on Thursday.
To announce the tour they performed three songs together including Finn's Into Temptation, with Kelly on vocals and harmonica, which left gathered members of the press mesmerised.
Kelly and Finn say the tour together has been a long time coming, a concept which has been talked about seriously for a few years. It is only now they have found a window in their schedules, as agents like to say, for the 10-date tour.
If it is successful there may be further shows in New Zealand - although Finn says nothing is confirmed yet - and surely an album may also be in the works.
"There's a chance of [writing new material] but you can't really schedule those things," Kelly said. "We're going to probably have a crack, but we don't know. Songwriting is a form of play and it's got to be aimless. We might get something, we might not."
Although it is the first time they will tour together as the headline act, the renowned musos have been mates since the mid-1980s.
"My first tour of America was with Crowded House," said Kelly. "We had a few sing-songs backstage, I think," said Finn.
It's clear they are huge admirers of each other's work. Kelly says he wishes he'd been able to write some of Finn's songs including Four Seasons in One Day and Private Universe ... "There's heaps," he said. "Four Seasons in One Day, it is perfect architecture."
They've been relishing the process of choosing and refining their finest works.
"I sent Neil a list of his songs I wanted us to do, he sent me a list, the same for me. We also went through songs we could do good harmony singing on," Kelly said.
It will be a family affair on stage. "We've got Elroy, Neil's son, on drums and my nephew Dan [Kelly] on guitar," Kelly said. "And we think we might take care of the keyboards between us."
Says Finn: "We'd like to keep it relatively intimate."
The tour will begin in Melbourne in mid-February, take in some vineyard shows in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales (in the northern NSW city of Armidale) and includes three performances at the Sydney Opera House in March.