A little background:
In 1994, I saw INXS at the Portland Memorial Coliseum. It was their “Dirty Honeymoon” Tour. They were supporting their album “Full Moon, Dirty Hearts.” Material Issue opened and thanks to The Chindo and The Mad Fishicist, I’d heard of them. At one point in the show, Michael Hutchence tempts the crowd to abandon their strict “Portland Style” chairs and rush the stage. I ended up about 6 or 7 feet from the front of the stage. At one point Kirk Pengilly was playing a solo (on guitar) and Michael ran up behind him and bumped him into the crowd. I caught his head. His sweaty long haired head. A little bit in shock, a little bit starstruck, the only thing I could think to say to him as I helped hoist him back onto stage was, “YOU RULE!”
(Pictured: Kirk Pengilly, c. 1994)
I spent a very interesting afternoon Monday. I registered as a member of KFOG, a local radio station for the bay area. Just a few days into being a registered “Foghead,” I received an email from the promotions department that I won tickets to a private concert by INXS. What a great opportunity! I’d go see one of these private concerts of anyone. Anyone, seriously. The gig was in Berkeley at a little studio. I walked in and about a dozen people were hanging out waiting for the show. Lots of pictures and albums were on the walls. This studio has hosted some amazing musicians including U2, Santana, Aerosmith, Lucinda Williams, B.B. King, Grateful Dead, and INXS to name a few (I’m not even mentioning Journey, Mr. Big, Nightranger or Tesla). At a certain point a guy said, “It’s time, you can go on in.” When I walked into the studio there were about 30 chairs set up in rows and three stools in front of them. 3 members of INXS were going be right there. Mere feet away.
So in walk Andrew Farriss, Kirk Pengilly and newly crowned frontman JD Fortune. A couple of roadies hand a few guitars to Kirk and Andrew (A Martin and a Epiphone for those of you keeping score at home) and off we go. There is nothing like a stripped down set to really display instrumental talent. They played 4 songs. “Need You Tonight”, “Never Tear Us Apart”, “Mystify” and “Pretty Vegas” (written by Andrew Farriss and JD Fortune during Rockstar INXS). There was a lot of chatter back and forth between people in the room and the guys. Most of it was about the TV show. Pretty fascinating, actually. I watched a few episodes when Riche got sucked into the show. The finale was the night I left for Austin in September so I was busy packing but managed to see JD win.
Funny sidenote was that they filmed the episodes early in the morning (well, when I say early, 10am). When they filmed the finale, they started at 5:30am and filmed the show, played a mini concert for the audience, and felt like they’d put in a whole days work, but Kirk said, “All this by mid-day.” It was just past noon when they finished.
Questions got asked, but I didn’t say a word. I had questions. I wanted to ask about the years between November 22, 1997 and now. Kirk, Andrew and Tim Farriss have always been the musical genius INXS and they were pretty much silent for 8 years.
Anyway, to make a short story long, I shook hands with them, mentioned catching Kirk’s head, to which he replied, “I do remember a period where Michael got in a habit of pushing me into the crowd, some nights they caught me other’s they didn’t.” Andrew Farriss was extremely friendly looking us all straight in the eyes and introducing himself, “Hi, I’m Andrew.” JD is tall, much taller than I made him out to be on TV. Our picture was taken (no cameras allowed) by the KFOG staff and they promised to post on their website at some point. I will definately post the link once up. As I walked away, Kirk yelled, “Thanks for saving my life.” And I grabbed my autographed poster and left the building.