Down Under at The Wellmont

5

There was a party last night in Montclair, and if you didn’t go, you missed a rocking good time. The hosts were a bunch of lads from Down Under, who were dressed in skinny black suits and ties and sunglasses. Throw in a Canadian, and an American Country singer, and a crowd that never sat down — and were told what good singers they were — and you’d get a taste of what it was like at the Wellmont Theatre last night when INXS held court.

Like all good parties, it started with a bang — literally — when the Farriss Brothers got the crowd into the mood with their Drum Opera. That got us ready for a string of well known hits, with touring front man JD Fortune, who started with Suicide Blonde and channeled the late Michael Hutchence with Listen Like Thieves and Kiss The Dirt.

The crowd was made up of fans young and old – a lot of Brits and a couple of Aussies. We saw the Aussie Flag hanging in the front, and it later wound up around the neck of one of the Farriss brothers.

The band warmed the crowd with their most recent hit, Pretty Vegas, before settling into a steady – but not explosive set of numbers. Don’t Change, with Andrew Farriss on keyboards, was memorable, as was a re-imagined country-influenced version of New Sensation. The tempo got back into its rock groove, when the stage darkened and a thumping vocal track of Mediate — which I think featured the vocals of Hutchence — played as the lyrics filled the black screen.

The party hosts returned from offstage without their suits, in gear which signaled they were really ready to rock. From that point, the show built steam, with each song getting more and more reaction from the crowd. JD was in a talkative mood, first saying how great it was to be back in the States, then focusing on the fact he was in Jersey. We learned bass player Garry Gary that day had became the father if twins – congrats Gaz! Need You Tonight followed, with Not Enough Time, Disappear and Taste It.

Next came a powerful version of one of their biggest hits, Original Sin, which is also the title of their new album. The crowd went bonkers for What You Need and Never Tear Us Apart.

As the boys said their goodnights, everyone was rolling… but like all good party hosts, there were a few songs for the road – New Sensation , By My Side and Don’t Change were stunning.

The core of this band has been touring since the late 1970s. JD has been around since 2006, but his transition into the band and his treatment of the material makes it feel like he’s been around a lot longer. Two Back up singers round out the band and seem to have a good time hamming it up with the lads. Long time INXS fans (like me) walked away with a grin, feeling more than satisfied. Judging from the comments we heard from the crowd – of both young and old fans – we weren’t alone. If you missed the show, and still want to see them, they play a gig at the Beacon Theatre in New York, tonight.

Did we see you there?

5 COMMENTS

  1. I wasn’t particularly interested in seeing INXS without Michael Hutchence, but I’m glad to hear it was still a great show. Now, seeing Berlin would have been amazing.

  2. I saw INXS @ The Meadowbrook in Cedar Grove back in the early 80’s. Meadowbrook was great place to see a show.
    I remember trying to get up that driveway hill in my car with a clutch and it kept stalling with about 100 cars waiting in line.

    Seeing INXS without Michael Hutchenece is like watching Queen w/out Freddie Mercury.

  3. The crowd was made up of fans young and old…

    Assuming, from the byline, that Anthony is the progeny of Annette, I will assume too that “old” means, like, over 21.

  4. Just a little FYI on the INXS article. The “country” singer is actually back up singer, Kelly Wolfgramm. But she is Australian, not American. Also, the vocals you hear on “Mediate” before JD comes in are from another artist named Tricky, who is featured on the Original Sin release. Overall, though, it sounds like INXS had another successful performance and that it was well-worth attending!

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