I say gotdaaaaayuumm. I know, I have Bowie On The Brain (it’s a real affliction, I understand, so no mocking.)
AnyAWESOMECOVERSONG…seems Justin Timberlake has covered the sacred INXS hit, Need You Tonight. One word: UNF. See? This is the kind of hot, sexy, sweaty song I want to hear instead of that blaaaaand Suit and Tie. Honk-Shooooo.
Dang, that’s amazing. Who else loves this?
Oh, yeah–JT’s new album, The 20/20 Experiencedropped today.
Some bands can carry on without their front man. Wait. Very few bands can carry on without their front man. No, not that either. Bands who carry on without their charismatic, slithering, sex-on-a-stick front man will never come close to the red-hot sweaty success they experienced before the loss of their beloved front man.
Such is the case for INXS. The band announced the split while in Perth over the weekend.
“We understand that this must come as a blow to everybody, but all things must eventually come to an end,” founding members Tim, Andrew and Jon Farriss, Kirk Pengilly and Garry Beers said in a statement. “We have been performing as a band for 35 years, it’s time to step away from the touring arena. Our music will of course live on and we will always be a part of that. We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to all the friends and family that have supported us throughout our extensive career. Our lives have been enriched by having you all as a part of the journey.”
INXS actually made the news public on Sunday in Perth, as it played the final show of a tour with matchbox twenty — during which that group’s Rob Thomas joined INXS for its closing song, “Don’t Change.” Drummer Jon Farriss told the crowd that it was the group’s last show and admitted he was “getting teary” at the prospect. INXS recently released a 25th anniversary edition of its top-selling album “Kick,” as well as a 20th anniversary edition of the DVD “Live Baby Live.
In the statement, Jon Farriss noted that INXS took pride in continuing after the tragic loss of frontman Michael Hutchence in 1997: “It’s been 35 years for INXS as a live touring band and unbelievably it’s been 15 years ago since we lost Michael. We lived for each other in the trenches and we loved each other. It was the six of us against the world and then suddenly and inexplicably we were but five. We were lost right at the moment we were on top.”
But, Andrew Farriss added, “We never took a soft option, it was the adversity, the challenge and the struggle that forged us into the live working band we became. And this was as big as it could possibly get when it came to a challenge, and in the end we decided for a whole bunch of reasons to march forward. To us there was no other option, families always move forward.”
INXS manager Chris Murphy added that, “They believed unconditionally in each other and they also believed unconditionally in the music. People fade, sometimes way too early — that is life whether we like it or not. To live to 80 plus is a life well lived. To lose Michael so young was a tragedy for all of us. But with this band, their legacy, their music was just so damn good, it was always destined to live beyond all of us.”
INXS has worked with several singers since Hutchence’s death, including Canadian J.D. Fortune, who was chosen during the 2005 TV reality show “Rock Star: INXS.” The group was most recently fronted by Ireland native Ciaran Gribbin, and Andrew Farriss had declared that “this particular lineup of INXS is really — we’re on a winner, I think, with this one. It’s looking really, really positive.”
I know that sounds completely disrespectful to the remaining bandmates; and I truly don’t mean it that way. Perhaps they could’ve moved on to other projects, but let’s be honest here. Would you want to see some reality show contest winner front The Foo Fighters? The Rolling Stones?No Doubt? Radiohead? Depeche Mode? Aerosmith?Pearl Jam?Incubus?U2?Garbage?Mumford & Sons? Am I coming in clear yet? (And stop right THERE if you’re going to wag a finger at me and say “Man.INXS shouldn’t be included on that list.”Don’t even try.) I’ve never been happy with the fact that INXS just picked up and carried on without Michael barely one year after he died. That’s. Just. Me.
In just a few days, it will be 15 years since the horrible death of INXS’s lead singer and songwriter, Michael Hutchence in a hotel room at the Ritz-Carlton in Sidney, Australia. I remember hearing the news on the car radio with my dear friend Holly one freezing November night here in Seattle. We were both completely gutted. She had the good fortune to see INXS in their prime in Hawaii, while I never did see Michael Hutchence live, in concert.
Cut to last summer when my husband saw INXS featuring the troubledJD Fortune in Seattle. I stayed home due to illness. (Read into that what you may, but I was sick.) He enjoyed seeing the remaining members enjoying themselves with JD, who was seemingly always trying to be Michael on one hand, while attempting to be his own “rock star” at the same time. In hindsight, I’m relieved I didn’t attend the concert.
At this point in my post, I feel like I’m rambling. Bottom line–it’s about time INXS just stopped.
First, let me say I’m not a writer. I’ve had allusions of being one, but that’s never manifested itself…until now. So…here’s my chance…I’m getting to write my first review for my wife (!) DivaJulia’s great Dipped in Cream blog. (As Seen on CNN–-she made me say that.)
We had tickets to see INXS on Sunday, July 17th at the lovely Chateau Ste. Michelle winery in Woodinville, WA. We scheduled our vacation around being back in time to go. We watched the extended forecast for the weather and it looked promising (it’s been March here in Seattle for the last 3 1/2 months!!!). In a word…we were READY!! That is until my sweet wife took ill on Saturday and was nowhere near well enough to go by Sunday evening.
Best friend Patrick to the rescue. At Julia’s insistence I called him with 2 hours to go and he was ready when we met an hour later.. The concert started at 7:00pm and we were parking the car at 7:08…not bad.
Julia had found out earlier that week that Berlin, the 80’s New Wave/Synth Pop band would be opening for INXS…what a bonus!!!
We walked in to hear Terri Nunn belting out “No More Words“. Her voice was “on point”…and she looked tremendous…signature 2-tone hair flying! The band was sharp and tight, playing classics like “The Metro“, “Sex” and “Dancing in Berlin“. In between she dedicated “Take My Breath Away” to her father, who is from the Seattle area, and she strolled through the crowd shaking hands, caressing faces and endearing herself to all she passed. It was a touching moment.
They finished their set and Terri closed with a very heartfelt thank you to INXS for letting Berlin be the opening act.
BREAK TIME…GETTING A 2ND BOTTLE OF WINE. A nice Cabernet after the White blend that was vaguely reminiscent of the Chablis I used to drink in my college days decades ago…not my favorite!!
And then it began. Jon, Andrew and Tim Farris, dressed impeccably like Reservoir Dogs in jet black suits, crisp white shirts and skinny black ties started off the set doing a drum opera intro that got the crowd standing and bopping/nodding heads ready for what was to come. It was truly electric!!
Enter J.D. Fortune, Garry Gary Beers, and Kirk Pengilly to round off the group and slide right into “Suicide Blonde”.
Before I go further, let me say that I personally was never a big devotee of live music until my beautiful DivaJulia entered my life. I’ve been to more concerts over the last 8 years since I married her than I have in the previous 50!! That being said, she was really at odds about the addition of J.D, to replace Michael Hutchence when did their talent search (Rockstar INXS) in 2005 for a new lead singer. She had never seen INXS live when Michael was alive and just couldn’t buy into someone replacing him.
Me…not as big a deal!! But…since Julia, I’ve seen almost every video INXS made, watched the dvd, “Live Baby Live” countless times, downloaded practically every song they’ve recorded, and read three biographies. I.LOVE.THIS.BAND…I WAS STOKED!!!
Oh man…!!! “Devil Inside“. Ah, ah, ah!! J.D. is trying his best and I have to give him credit. He’s not Michael–he doesn’t have his powerful voice, but he’s in tune, he sounds good, and I don’t care–I’m seeing INXS live!!!
The five original members are spot on…Tim and Kirk swapping lead and rhythm, Garry on bass, Andrew on keyboards and Jon on drums are blowing my mind. I feel as though I’m seeing “Live Baby Live” in front of me and it’s GREAT!!
The band moves smoothly into “The Stairs“, “Listen Like Thieves” and, one of my favorites from the early days, “Kiss the Dirt“. Throughout the progression of the concert, the guys progressively loosen their ties, open their shirt collars and eventually toss the jackets getting comfortably into the meat of the set. The audience seems to be in revery, singing along with every song, standing the whole time, clapping and swaying to the timeless music.
“Pretty Vegas” was next, the song that J.D. supposedly wrote as an original for INXS to perform during the “Rock Star INXS” competition six years ago. Word has it Andrew collaborated heavily on it with him and, of course, J.D. won and joined the group. That’s all I’m sayin’….
Then followed “Bitter Tears“, “Mystify” and “Don’t Change“. J.D. made a valiant attempt to include the audience in the chorus by stating, “Sing it!!” on “Mystify” just as Michael had done at the famous 1991 concert at the old Wembley Stadium, but the crowd wasn’t 70,000+ strong. Plus, I’m sure many of them have not watched the “Live Baby Live” dvd a “bazillion” times like yours truly and Julia, and didn’t recognize the cue.
Strangely, “Don’t Change” generally was reserved for the last song of their encore in most of their live concerts when Michael was alive, so I wondered why it’s placement mid-set. As it turned out, this wasn’t the only number that seemed out of sequence.
J.D. then stepped off stage and one of the backup singers came up and did a beautiful ballad rendition of “New Sensation“. I haven’t been able to find her name, but she was lovely and had a great voice. Another surprise was Train front-man, Pat Monahan coming on to sing “Beautiful Girl“. While he did a decent job, either he wasn’t miked properly or he isn’t blessed with a very powerful voice…it was really hard to hear him.
J.D. returned to center-stage while the back-lighting flashed, “Mediate“. Again, it seemed out of sequence to me…I’m just used to hearing “Need You Tonight” first which segues smoothly through the drums into “Mediate“….this was backwards! Granted, either way it’s always lovely to hear Kirk’s haunting sax solo at the end of “Mediate“, and he didn’t disappoint.
The band finished out the set in great form with, “Not Enough Time“, (Patrick’s favorite) “Disappear“, “Taste It“, “Original Sin“, “What You Need“, and “Never Tear Us Apart“. Every song touched me in way I didn’t expect, but I think I can attribute it to listening, watching and reading all that wasINXS for these many years and feeling like I knew the five original members personally, and I was developing an admiration and acceptance of J.D. Fortune.
The evening had been exceptional, but it wasn’t over yet!! Refreshed, re-shirted and reinvigorated, the boys took the stage once more for the encore and made our collective night. They went right into “By My Side“, then the original version of “New Sensation” and finally, yes, the finale, “Don’t Change“. At that point it did sound like Wembley, with everyone singing along. Perfection!!!
They took a group bow, Jon threw his sticks, Kirk and Tim their picks and they exited to very extended, sincere and grateful applause. I walked back to the car with Patrick, a grin on my face that wouldn’t fade for hours. I’d seen INXS live!!!!