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Music DVD Review: INXS – Mystify

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Although it’s no surprise to find this disc named after a track off the band’s biggest-selling album Kick, Mystify actually finds INXS in support of Elegantly Wasted which had come out a couple of months earlier. Kick brought the band to their commercial peak in 1987 and is an outstanding album. They then proceeded to see their status on the charts slowly decline over the years. On June 21, 1997, the band co-headlined the Loreley Festival, with Simple Minds. The performance was recorded for the German television series Rockpalast and is now presented on DVD by Eagle Rock Entertainment.

The 80-minute set features six tracks from the new album and another six from Kick. Amongst that dozen is material going as far back as 1985’s Listen Like Thieves, though they completely skip over 1993’s Full Moon, Dirty Hearts. The Australian sextet, joined by two female back-up singers, sounds loose and laidback as they run through their songs. The DTS Digital Surround track sounds very good, although there’s a technical problem during “Never Tear Us Apart” when the mike doesn’t work on Kirk Pengilly’s sax solo and lead singer Michael Hutchence messes up “New Sensation.”

Tragically, lead singer Michael Hutchence would die the following November 22. It was ruled a suicide but family and fans dispute the coroner’s findings. He seems to be having a wonderful time while on stage. He chats up the audience, who even during a light rain remain on their feet and enthusiastic throughout. He occasionally runs up to the barricade to join them. In fact, he feels so comfortable that before breaking into “Searching” he gets a joint from drummer John Farriss and after taking a hit, passes it into the crowd.

After a little over an hour, the main set concludes with their first top five hit “What You Need”. They return for three songs, the first of which Hutch rambles a bit talking about how “Don’t Lose Your Head” is going to be in John Woo’s Face/Off.

Longtime fans will surely enjoy the bonus material: a 24-minute, six-song set from May 8, 1984, that is their Rockpalast debut. Playing something from each of their first four albums, the band’s sound is more new wave than alternative rock due to the prominence of the keyboards over guitars in the arrangements. They contrast with their older selves in the main feature by playing as if they have something to prove.

Mystify makes for a very good collection of INXS hits played live. Fans should definitely check it out.

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About Gordon S. Miller

Gordon S. Miller is the artist formerly known as El Bicho, the nom de plume he used when he first began reviewing movies online for The Masked Movie Snobs in 2003. Before the year was out, he became that site's publisher. Over the years, he has also contributed to a number of other sites as a writer and editor, such as FilmRadar, Film School Rejects, High Def Digest, and Blogcritics. He is the Publisher of Cinema Sentries. Some of his random thoughts can be found at twitter.com/ElBicho_CS