INXS: The Switched On Tour
Gig Review written by PuSSyCaT
If you followed the popular TV show, Rockstar: INXS, then you probably were dead excited to hear that the band was coming here to perform in Singapore. With new frontman, JD Fortune replacing the late Michael Hutchence, the line up includes Kirk Pengilly (Guitar, Sax & Vocals), Andrew Farriss (Keyboard & Guitar), Garry Beers (Bass), Jon Farriss (Drums) and Tim Farriss (Guitar).
Upon their arrival on Wednesday 16th August, INXS held their press conference at the Arrival/ Departure Terminal Halls of Changi Airport, where they were each presented with Motorola handphones from the concert’s sponsor and were also joined by delighted children onstage.
As I was escorting their Programmer, Mutley, to the venue that very night, I managed to get an inside scoop on things from another person’s point of view for a change, rather than from the actual band members themselves.
PR: So how do you find your first time in Singapore so far?
Mutley: It’s very clean and modern and looks a lot like Canada – sort of like a port city. I mean, it’s not a port.
PR: Well, we do have ports here.
Mutley: Yeah. I mean, it like, has wide open spaces and the buildings are very tall and just have a modern feel to it. But yeah, it’s really nice. I wish we had more time to spend here, but we have an early morning flight the day after the concert. We had a few days in the Philippines before we came here and I’d rather we had those extra days here…
PR: So is INXS from Perth itself?
Mutley: Well actually, they’re sort of based in Perth, I mean, like, at that time Jon (Farrriss - Drums) was still a teenager living in Perth and his parents wouldn’t let him leave Perth yet. But he was such a good drummer, so the band decided to move to Perth and be with him there and wait for him to be old enough to move out.
PR: Wow, they must have really wanted him in the band.
Mutley: (Laughs) Yeah… (Pause) It’s Tim’s (Farriss – Guitar) birthday today. I remember because I remember when he turned 40… and it’s also INXS’ anniversary! (Pause) I’m really too tired to do the lighting now, but you can’t do lights in the daytime tomorrow, so… (shrugs)
The next day at the concert, the crowds snaked outside Fort Canning Park’s Gothic Gates, waiting for doors to open at 6.30pm. 2 hours later, the food and drink stalls were busy attending to the fans, with INXS still nowhere in sight. Approaching the Merchandise Booth, a guy stared at a poster and asked, “So which one is JD?”. To which I replied, “The youngest one”. He then remarked, “They’re all young!”. It was then that I realized that the guy was older than my dad. Majority of the crowd that turned up were foreigners (mostly Caucasian) and probably were Day One INXS followers during their youth. As most of them continued to buy time by drinking themselves into a stupor, their children played and danced around the grass fields.
Finally at 9pm, the crowd cheered wildly as they spotted a few figures slowly trooping onstage in the dark. Already half-drunk, the fans squeezed together, each trying to catch a glimpse of their favourite band member, JD Fortune clearly being the crowd favourite.
During the 1½ hours performance, JD clearly captured the crowd’s attention, but not to be outdone, Kirk Pengilly (Guitar, Sax & Vocals) at one point clambered up on top of a tall amp and played a short saxophone solo. Although with the hype of their recent TV show hit, there were mixed reactions about JD Fortune from several audience members.
“JD is hot! No wonder he won! He’s really good!” (Carmen, 18)
“Screw JD Fortune. I want Michael Hutchence back!” (Muhammad, 19)
“JD’s hot, but honestly, if my dad didn’t buy the tickets, I wouldn’t spend that kind of money to watch them” (Vannessa, 25)
“This ain’t Black Sabbath. This ain’t rock at all” (Unnamed, 58)
Looking more like an excuse to gather in large groups and get drunk, at times the crowd seemed more interested in catching up with their friends and drinking some more rather than concentrating on the actual show. But when obvious favourite songs came on, they would take a break from hassling the beer sellers, turn their attention to the energetic band onstage and sing along. Some, too drunk too even stand, would attempt to dance wildly, which caused collisions, followed by uncontrollable giggling.
With 2 encores, the crowd was treated to JD’s eccentric scatting, to which some replied by throwing off their shirts and even bras (!!) and tossing it onstage. 1/3 of the crowd left before the show even ended, but the ones who remained were still enough to fill up the venue and encourage the band to put up a good show.
INXS has a new album out, SWITCH, which is now sold at all major record stores.