INXS, in concert with the Soup Dragons; at the Salt Palace Acord Arena; March 31; one show only.
When Australia's most famous rock music export comes in concert, the band really does it INXS.The six-member rock band really is talented and puts on a great live show, but you might not notice that if you pay too much attention to all the glitz, pageantry and pomp that surround not only the group's public appearances but their personal lives as well.
As for their most recent public appearance (Easter evening at the Salt Palace's Acord Arena), some of it was a little overwhelming - especially the bright lights, most of which were synchronized by computer, and the gaudy stage backdrop, which would have seemed more at home with a heavy metal act.
Unfortunately, a lot of that distracted from the band's momentum, which carries a wallop. Contrary to popular belief, the band's fortunes do not rise and fall with the wiggling of lead singer Michael Hutchence's heinie - instead, Hutchence's catchy choruses and Tim Farriss' sharp guitar attacks have worked their way insidiously into the buying public's subconscious.
However, fortunately for this reviewer - who would probably be lynched for giving the band a negative review - those catchy choruses and guitar attacks eventually began working their wonders and I, too, was one of the dancing masses.
Heavily concentrating on material from their latest three albums, "Listen Like Thieves," "Kick" and 1990's "X," INXS showed Salt Lake City that maybe some media reports are true - these guys just might be ready to move alongside rock greats like the Rolling Stones and the Who, both of whom, frankly, could use a long rest.
Most numbers had a funky groove, especially the smash "I Need You Tonight," which revolves hypnotically around Tim Farriss' sterling staccato guitar bursts and Andrew Farriss' eerie synth swells. Other standouts included the misleadingly titled "The Devil Inside," "Mystify Me," "Never Tear Us Apart" and the surprisingly sweet "Don't Change."
Brightest of all, though, was "What You Need," which might have devolved into standard rock fodder in other hands but instead was enlivened by Kirk Pengilly's smoldering sax solo.
Also, the show may have shattered any illusions this reviewer had about Hutchence's Jim Morrison aspirations. As soon as the show started with Tom Jones' "What's New Pussycat?" in the background, I started noticing some of Jones' soulful stylings in Hutchence's vocals. Don't take that as an insult, though, I think.
As for the opening act, Scotland's psychedelic revivalists the Soup Dragons, I have to admit I missed them. However, judging from some reactions after the show, it appears as if the band put in another in its series of low-energy, low-impact and mercifully brief song sets.
Maybe the Soup Dragons should have opened the recent Neil Young show, so the crybabies there could have seen a terrible live act - I would gladly have taken the much-maligned (and unfairly so) Sonic Youth in their place, and perhaps the fans at Sunday night's show would have been a little more tolerant.