Tuesday, April 26, 2011

INXS: October 17, 1987

This is one of those shows I feel really lucky to have seen. INXS had been kicking around for years by this point. Although they were stars in their native Australia, in America their career momentum built steadily but slowly. By this time they had a number of minor hits under their belts -- among them "Don't Change, " "Original Sin," and "What You Need." Tracks from their last album, Listen Like Thieves, got lots of airplay, but it wasn't until Kick was released -- in the very month of this show -- that they had a true blockbuster.

I don't think Kick had dropped yet (and I'm pretty sure I bought it the week of its release), but if so it was brand new and this was the first taste the audience got of the new material -- songs that were to become ubiquitous over the next year: "Need You Tonight," "Devil Inside," "Never Tear Us Apart," "New Sensation." The next time the band played in Michigan, it was at an arena in Detroit. This was the last taste of intimacy before they hit the big time.

They interspersed the new songs with those older singles, which this crowd knew by heart. They were always so solid live, and Michael Hutchence was really underrated as a frontman. He had it all: charisma, a powerful voice, and a sexy strut. One funny memory of him stands out: A bunch of kids sort of mobbed the tour bus after the show. The crowd didn't disperse even after the band boarded the bus, so the driver finally started to pull out slowly. Hutchence was visible in the window and he had such a frightened look on his face, as if he thought the kids might be run over. Of course, we all quickly got out of the way! For him, maybe it was a taste of American stardom to come.

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