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The Rock-itt : March 2010
Being the scoop Rock-itt reporter that I am, I'm often hunting down stories wherever they may be and recently I got a hot, tip off from a reliable source that something big was going down at the Fish. I arrived at the venue and all seemed quiet from the outside. I went into the main bar where I met up with some friends including Brad Carr (Choirboys) and Nige (Nige's Nuthouse) and we had a couple of drinks and the big buzz was that INXS will be giving a special show for a few family and friends. The excitement was building and before I could suss out if this was all fairdinkum or not, on his way to the bar, a tall dude diverted and came straight up to me, shook my hand and said "Hi I'm Jason, how are you doing?" Totally speechless, I'm not sure, but I think I managed to say my name right. This was my first encounter with JD. He was cool and casual and so easy to talk to. Anyway, a little later we all grabbed some drinks and were ushered into a room where the band apparently had been secretly rehearsing for their upcoming world tour for nearly 3 weeks. We carefully found a place to sit and around the roadcases (which I noticed had the INXS name covered), and there they were... just one metre away; Jon, Tim and Andrew Farriss, Garry Beers, Kirk Pengilly and JD Fortune upfront, each with their own guitar and drum techs and stagehands to assist with the well timed instrument changes and there were plenty of those. They had set up using the whole length of the room and It was like watching a stadium gig from the front of the stage, larger than life, intimate and so close you could touch these legendary figures. I was google eyed and gobsmacked the whole time. There was a huge fancy mixer and some strange directional shotgun mics which I later found out were actually devices to control feedback. They went through their concert show playing all their hits to perfection and also explaining the stage changes as they came to them so we could visualise the whole thing. I could clearly see why these guys are legends. They sounded so perfect, just like the recordings that we were all used to, but it was live and there was just so much to take in that I didn't know where to look. INXS's sound is very layered with Tim's little, choppy guitar bits, sax and keys snippets and big drums, percussion and multi layered riffs coming from every direction, it was fascinating to see it all up so close. As a very privileged audience who although few in numbers, we were loud and appreciative as we were treated to classics like Original Sin, Mystify, Suicide Blonde (with Andrew on harmonica), By My Side, Devil inside, Afterglow, What you Need, Kick, Pretty Vegas, Never tear us Apart, New Sensation, Perfect Strangers, Don't Change and others. I was wondering why they had ear pieces as well as floor monitors' however' JD explained later to us that in between songs he is continuously taking directions from the rest of the band members so it is fairly difficult to talk to the audience and listen to the other members at the same time. If there was any seriousness, it was broken by Jon's delightful 1 ½ year old daughter' Avani 'who was fashionably sporting headphones to limit the volume and still a bit wobbly on her feet but nevertheless bopping away to the music and unaware that she was stealing the show. She was right at home, unsteadily but calmly walking around onstage over the audio cables with her dolly in one arm and pulling a toy luggage case in the other, Tim joked "all departures to gate 14" and she had no idea how much delight she brought to everyone in the room. All this just added to this wonderful, once in a lifetime experience. The line up also featured a backup singer from Argentina who did a solo with a great version of New Sensation. There were also some great Farriss moments with all 3 brothers on drums and percussion and a meaningful, acoustic version of 'Don't Change' sung by Andrew, Kirk and Jon which was so moving that Michael's presence was definitely felt in the room. No one