I had high hopes for this DVD when I rented it. INXS was one of my favorite bands in the 1980’s, from the first moment that I caught a glimpse of their late lead singer Michael Hutchence. He had a sensual quality to his performance matched only by Doors lead singer Jim Morrison. What I expected, from looking at the dates, was a heck of a lot more than what I got.
The DVD consists of 10 videos, but is missing some of their best or well-known songs. Looking for the Bob Dylan homage in the Need You Tonight/Mediate video? You won’t find it here. Missing is also the darkness seen in Devil Inside. I could go on about what’s missing from great videos INXS made during those years, because what’s missing is actually more than what’s here.
A treat is one of their earliest videos, Just Keep Walking. The entire band, including Hutchence, looks very young in this. I was also glad to see The One Thing once again as it was a video I hadn’t seen in quite a few years. This is the video that taught me at 14 about sexuality oozing from the screen. Mike Hutchence is probably the most sensual man I have ever seen perform and this video is a fantastic example why. Food and sex are definitely synonymous. He seems to get even hotter in New Sensation, a video I had forgotten about and was happy to see again as well.
Their big breakout on MTV is here, What You Need. The animation effects are nice and I give credit to the band at this point for staying with performance videos. INXS stayed away from stories with hooks set to the music and let the music and lyrics pretty much speak for itself. It wasn’t until 1987 with the release of the album Kick that they started getting into the concept videos. Many of the songs from that album are the videos I listed that are missing, but they have one of them here in Never Tear Us Apart. Mike Hutchence also let his hair grow out about this time
A really positive note for fans of the band is the inclusion of the video for Taste It. This one was very sexual, and extremely suggestive. It was decided to be too risque for MTV and never shown on the channel. Also included on the discs are the videos for Original Sin, Suicide Blonde, The Gift, and Elegantly Wasted.
If you are wondering at this point if anyone besides Michael Hutchence was in the band, yes they were. INXS was talented all around which was one of the great things about them. The rest of the lineup during this time was:
Jon Farriss – Drummer
Kirk Pengilly – Sax, Guitar
Tim Farriss – Guitar
Andrew Farriss – Keyboards
Garry Beers – Bass
I really liked them because of how well-rounded a band they were, besides the ultra-sexy lead singer. They used a saxophone in the music which was a novelty in a lot of the alternative music of the early and mid-1980’s when everyone was so into synthesizers. Even now, I do like just watching them perform in the videos. Watching Jon Farriss on drums is a lot of fun; he’s so into the song and often singing along. Kirk Pengilly, Tim Farriss and Garry Beers give as much energy as the lead singer. Watching the performance-based videos shows they were truly a “band” despite all the attention Hutchence got, especially in the early videos.
I had my doubts after Hutchence’s death about whether they could continue as a band and thought they sold out when they participated in the Rock Star: INXS television show. However, after hearing their work subsequent to that show and seeing these videos, I realize that the rest of the band was strong enough to move on with the right person up front, although they could never fill his shoes.
The DVD was formatted for television, not widescreen. This means I get the lovely bars at either side of the screen. It’s just the way many items made for television during this era were.
While I did enjoy watching INXS: The Years 1979-1997, I’m glad I rented it and I didn’t purchase it. I would have been real upset to have spent money only to have found so many of their videos missing, especially ones that were huge hits for them. If you have no other way of getting your hands on some of the early videos and want to see them, you’ll find them here, but I’d try to find another collection that really is complete.