music video reviews
[Eagle Rock Entertainment]
INXS arrived on these shores from Australia in the early ‘80s and immediately stood apart from the new wave pack. A large part of the allure was singer Michael Hutchence, whose pure, unadulterated sensuality and onstage swagger often recalled Jim Morrison and Mick Jagger.
Although the dance/rock band achieved massive worldwide success with the albums Listen Like Thieves, Kick and X, it was strictly playing to the faithful by the time Elegantly Wasted arrived in 1997. Filmed at a German outdoor summer music festival for long-running European music television show “Rockpalast,” Mystify finds the group supporting that CD five months before Hutchence committed suicide.
The 80-minute performance starts off sluggishly, but the group finally rebounds a quarter way through on poignant ballad “Searching.” Hutchence is in a flippant, playful mood here: he attempts to crowd surf, mugs right into camera crew lenses, climbs atop amplifiers, jokes around, smokes a joint and interacts with both lead guitarist Tim Farriss and the buxom female backing vocalists. Yet the front man turns in a performance that’s passionate (“Disappear,” “Never Tear Us Apart”), sultry (“Need You Tonight,” “Devil Inside”) and party hearty (“Kick,” “What You Need”) as the musicians are solid (sax man Kirk Pengilly seems to have the most fun).
Sound and picture quality are average for a TV shoot. Diehard fans will relish the 25-minute bonus performance from a 1984 “Rockpalast” in studio taping from Hamburg, where a young INXS is ready to make its mark. Hutchence oozes sexuality on “Original Sin”; the driving pace and icy synth lines of “Don’t Change” still induce goosebumps a quarter century later.