By the time 1980 rolled around, Split Enz, who had pioneered the art of wonderful music mixed with a bizarre stage presence, were letting the music speak for itself on stage. And the outlandish dress the band employed was well on its way to becoming a thing of the past.
And that was probably a good thing, as Split Enz were riding high in the New Wave arena, and the quirky Pop tunes they were so well known for since the early 70s were giving way to more sophisticated and well-crafted songs.
That’s not to say they lost a portion of their audience, who came with the express purpose of seeing what odd presentation they were going to get into – they actually gained a substantial audience who had finally discovered Split Enz and were embracing them. But many of the changes in the band’s direction had to do with the departure of songwriter/guitarist Phil Judd and the entrance of Neil Finn. Coupled with the influence of MTV and the release of their fifth album True Colors, the band became almost overnight sensations.
This concert, from the Pinkpop Festival in The Netherlands in 1980, comes around the time of the release of True Colors and the distinct change in direction the band were taking. Split Enz would eventually split up in 1984 – regrouping and reuniting at various times between 1986, 1989, 1990-1992 and on through 2009 when the last reunion occurred.
A great band with a tremendous amount of talent who took audiences by surprise at first. Seeing them during their formative period in the early 70s, I can attest to seeing their first appearance in Los Angeles at the Roxy, the audience wasn’t expecting what they got and what they got, they were surprised and delighted with.
But as a reminder of how the band sounded during their pivotal change, here is that Pinkpop appearance in 1980.
Play loud – I do.