In 1993, INXS were caught in a bit of a bind. In the late 80s, with a succession of high selling albums that culminated in 1987’s KICK (which I wrote about here), they were one of the biggest bands in the world with a great live reputation to enhance their studio sound. After taking a long break (they toured KICK for 18 months), they released X in 1990 and sold out Wembley Stadium with Summer XS in support of it (a gig I’m happy to say I attended and wrote about here), then followed that up with Welcome To Wherever You Are in 1992. For me, that’s one of my favourite albums of theirs but as edgy and experimental as it might have been, they didn’t support it. Mark Opitz, the producer, has said in interview “they didn’t tour on it, which they should have done because they could have had amazing sets…U2 released Achtung Baby and toured the fuck out of that. At that stage U2 and INXS were pretty much neck and neck, but when X came out it was like a dive. They didn’t tour on Welcome to Wherever You Are, which is sad, but it did go number one in England and [many] different European countries. We were all quite happy about that.”
By the time Full Moon Dirty Hearts came around, in 1993, it was clear that something was wrong. The music still sounded great, the musicianship was still excellent but there were a lot of disconnects and reading the biography of the band, there were a lot of issues with Hutchence at the time. Worse - to me (and being charitable, it’s not their worst album but it’s certainly down in the deeps) - they suddenly seemed to be swayed by public opinion, going for a terrible grunge-like cover (the lot of them, sat in the back of a transit) and apparently forgetting that INXS were good because they were INXS and not trying to be anyone else.
Opitz again: “Nirvana had hit big of course, and a couple members of the band said, “Let’s put all the rock songs up front. We’ve got to be more like Nirvana.” And I’m saying, “No, you’ve got to be more like INXS.” But management decided to go against my wishes with the running order and turned it into this quasi-album where songs didn’t fit with each other. Which I thought was quite sad.”
Caught up in a decline - but still a great live act - they made the decision for a worldwide tour in 1993 and it surprised a lot of people. From massive stadia (not least the 74,000 sell-out audience at Wembley in 1991), they decided to go small. Very small. The Get Out Of The House tour was a back-to-basics affair, stripping everything down and benefitting greatly from a marketing campaign that played on it being a return to the ‘pub tours’ of old. The idea was for INXS to take their music to the fans, playing gigs in towns they’d never played before and in venues that were much smaller than they were used to.
To generate more interest, ads and radio announcements were made stating only the city and date of each gig, with no mention of the venue. Two weeks before the tour, tickets were put on sale at the local HMV (in whichever city) with the shop opening at 8.30am and selling tickets on a first-come-first-served basis (with a maximum of two per customer and absolutely no phone booking). The venue would then be announced on local radio the day before the show.
I was very excited - having loved Summer XS and Welcome to Wherever You Are I was really keen to see them again, especially since my new girlfriend Alison (now my wife) was also a big INXS fan. This was all long before the Internet, so you had to rely on the music press and when I discovered they were playing in Leicester on July 13th, I knew I had to go. Since Alison (or our friends Matt and Steve, who also wanted to come) couldn’t get time off work, another friend - Steve, who wasn’t a fan - offered to come with me and we left Kettering at 4am.
We were in Leicester for 4.30am and the city seemed alive with people as we walked from the Haymarket to HMV - street cleaners, old ladies with shopping bags and people our age. There was a real buzz in the air and I was part of it and it felt great. When we got to HMV we were the 72nd/73rd people in the queue - some had even camped out for the night - and there was a great atmosphere, as we chatted with the people around us. The doors opened at 8am and we got our tickets, then went into McDonalds for breakfast as the enterprising manager had promised everyone from the queue a free hot drink if they did so.
To stoke excitement (though there was really no need - the tour sold out 40,000 tickets in a matter of hours), the band auditioned local groups to be their support act by launching a competition with Radio 1. For the life of me, I can’t remember who supported them at Leicester but what an opportunity it must have been for a band at the time - I wonder if any of them went on and made their way in the world?
I followed progress of the tour in Q magazine and Select as it wound its way through Europe, reading reports of great gigs (with a grungey new sound), stage diving and the close proximity of band to audience.
The tour hit England on July 7th at the Leed Town & Country club and finished 19 gigs later at the Feile Festival in Dublin on July 31st (and apart from the festival, the venues averaged a capacity of 2,000 people). The set list was liberally spliced with songs that nobody knew - “Days Of Rust”, “The Gift”, “Full Moon, Dirty Hearts”, “Please (You Got That…)” “The Messenger” and “Time” were all from Full Moon Dirty Hearts - but plenty of good stuff from the back catalogue, including stand-out tracks from Welcome To Wherever You Are.
At the time, I subscribed to an INXS fanzine run out of Scotland by Fraser Ingram and he published my first ever gig review. I haven’t written one since and, if you’ll excuse the fanboy witterings of an excited 24 year old, here’s the meat of mine.
“After making a more soulful album with Welcome To Wherever You Are, INXS have returned to their roots with a tour that takes in not 50,000 seater arenas but 1,500 seater ‘town halls’ which might seem a come down - but not on the evidence presented here.
INXS are famed for the power of their live sets and this gig certainly didn’t disappoint. The DeMontfort is a small venue but their act didn’t seem to have been toned down much from when I saw them at Wembley two years ago. Michael Hutchence clambered over every speaker he could and even climbed onto the balcony during “What You Need” to conduct an audience sing-a-long whilst taking photos of the crowd with a girls camera.
The set opened tentatively with “Communication” and two brand new songs, before “The Loved One” raised the roof and from that point on, the audience was eating out of their hands. “Don’t Change” finished the set and as the band filed off and the crowd held up victory salutes to the departing Aussies, all you could hear were joyous comments from assembled fans who’d been near enough to their idols to smell them.
The band seemed to enjoy themselves immensely - slipping on water, laughing and joking, throwing drum sticks at each other - and Hutchence kept the gig alive between songs with his banter (though a crack about the Oz cricket team being the best got a murmur of disapproval) and the band really gave their fans the best show.”
Not all of the band were as enthusiastic, thinking the tour was too small, but Tim Farriss said in interview; “The shows were enjoyable, inspirational, and motivating, but at the same time I don't feel INXS belonged on the small stage. The tour…actually worked best in the UK where we played theatres and universities - the UK just got the idea a little better.”
The tour won INXS some rave reviews and that goodwill carried over to the album. "The Gift" was released as the first single in October 1993 and debuted at number 11, whilst the album hit the UK chart at the start of November and gave the band their second UK album Number One in a row.
But the Get Out Of House tour was special, a glimpse into what they must have been like in the early days before mammoth PA systems and video screens became an everyday part of their touring life. The show was intense, full of verve and energy and sweat and I’m chuffed that I was able to be a part of it.
The Mark Opitz interview can be found here - http://www.messandnoise.com/icons/4367877
Thank you for writing this. I was lucky enough to see the Chicao date of this tour at the Metro; It was indeed amazing after being in stadium nosebleeds for the X tour. It was the last time we waited excitedly in a ticket line for a lottery chance to get one of the prized 800 or so tickets. Now it's all computers and internet boringness. I remember exactly what date it was, April 29th because some friends parents wouldn't allow them to go into Chicago that morning for feer of riots from the Rodney King verdict being announced. I have my t-shirt and will scan before it becomes too threadbarn. Again, thank you so much for posting memories of this fantastic tour.ReplyDelete
You're welcome, thank you for taking the time to comment - this tour clearly meant a lot to plenty of people!Delete
I saw them at Brixton Academy in London, still have my ticket stub and T'shirt (I don't think I have even worn it) I met Michael as I was in the recovery room, that will teach me to stand at the front of a concert :) He came in to see if we were ok, he shook my hand. I had my camera with me, but being caught up in the moment of seeing a rock idol, I didn't take a picture :)ReplyDelete
Excellent (well, not that you ended up in the recovery room) and how nice of Michael to go in and see if you were okay. Thanks for commenting!Delete
Thanks inxs, def better than oasisDelete
Octagon sheffield went straight from a nightshift to hmv queued for hours only 600 tickets if memory serves me well wifes 40th birthday treat great performance just like wembly but condensed to a back yard gig second only to simply red men and women g mex r.i.p.hutchReplyDelete
Thanks for commenting, I hope your wife enjoyed her birthday present!Delete
I saw this show in San Francisco. I went to every show they did from Sacramento to San Jose California. I don"t know how many times. This was one of the Best of the Best, The tickets were only $10.00. Years later I was In Mexico a man came up and ask if I had onto the "Out of the house Tour" ( I was wearing a tee shirt from the show) I replied Yes and he got so excited and told me it was the best concert he had ever attended. We both had a good laugh and said good-by. Great Memories.ReplyDelete
Thanks for commenting mate! Great shows and you're right, great memories!Delete
I saw INXS 3 times. Aston Villa Leisure Centre in 93 was by far the best. Hearing never before heard songs from a forth coming album was exciting. The audience were wild and I remember having to jump with people in order to see. The band were close enough to touch. Don't Change was a perfect song to end on. Awesome band, RichardReplyDelete
Sounds great! Thanks for commenting!Delete
Hi Mark, thanks for your work here. It’s a great memory trip!ReplyDelete
I wonder if you can help. I remember seeing the boys play in a pub in the Brisbane south eastern suburbs very likely 1993, and they were supported by Tumbleweed. It sounds a lot like ‘get out of your house’ tour but I can’t find any mention of it. From memory they may have also played in Mackay on that tour as I think GGB was originally from there. Does any of this sound correct?
Thanks for your comment Simon. Not sure if this is a help but this was the site I used for the tour dates and it does appear they played Brisbane so you're probably right! :)Delete
I saw INXS in Hanley,Stoke-on-Trent on this tour.I remember the venue being absolutely packed,with people being dragged out of the crowd before they had even started !They opened with 'Communication'and it is the only time that I have ever feared for my safety at a gig,The whole place just erupted !The show was phenomenal and Michael was just incredible;it was an absolute privilege to be there,one of the best shows I have ever attended.Just superb.ReplyDelete
Thanks for commenting, I wish now I could have got to more gigs on this tour!Delete
I'll second that!Delete
Very interesting - my wife (then girlfriend) attended the Paris gig and what a night! Blew my mind. It was her 21st birthday present from parents, so I went along as a disinterested observer, just to sample Paris. Wow! A night we'll never forget - still got the tickets on the kitchen wall - best liveband ever.ReplyDelete
Excellent, I kind of went along as a disinterested observer to their Summer XS show in 1991 and had the same reaction! Thanks for commenting!Delete
Saw them in Dallas, TX at a warehouse in Deep Ellum for this tour. Also caught the disastrous Calling All Nations tour at Texas Stadium in Irving, TX. A couple of years later I managed to see them one last time in Fort Worth, TX. All excellent performances and very memorable.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the comment - how big was the warehouse? Also, what was the disaster?Delete
I was working that night at De Montfort Hall as a steward. I had seen lots of gigs at De Montfort and elsewhere, but nothing like this. The heat generated from the crowd was intense and the two sections either side of the stalls were filled with bodies lying side by side, because of the sheer hysteria. We had to continuously carry young women out because they had fainted or were overcome. Hutchence really whipped the crowd up and because it was a smaller venue, there was no release. I also remember the drummer wearing a Leicester City hat and that getting a big cheer, though I was told they did the same in every City they visited. The most extraordinary gig I've seen in many ways, their sound and energy was too much for the venue I think, but it must have left an indelible memory of everyone. I remember being out the back to manage crowds when the band left and saying hello to them, but Hutchence was taken out separately so I never saw him.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much for commenting, it's lovely to hear the story from the non-punter side!Delete
Hi - if you see this, can you get in touch with me please? Cheers.Delete
Thanks for writing this Mark - it was my camera that Michael Hutchence used when he climbed up onto the balcony during 'What You Need'! My friend and I managed to get ourselves to the front and he then started talking to us over the microphone so we handed him my camera. I still have copies of the pictures of the crowd that he took from the balcony somewhere in my loft! One of the best live performances I have ever seen!ReplyDelete
Oh excellent, what a terrific memory! Alison, at the time, was really annoyed with me that he climbed onto the balcony because she thought we might have been there! Thank you so much for commenting!Delete
I was at the Glasgow Barrowlands gig. Simply amazing finishing with Dont Change. Remember Kirk Pengilly wearing his sarong. One of the best intimate gigs I have ever been at. Atmosphere was electric and I remember reading in the papers after the gig that they said that that night reminded them why they became a band. Thanks!ReplyDelete
Thank you for commenting, so pleased the post connected with you!Delete
I was lucky enough to see them at Sheffield Octagon after my mate had queued up for me and bagged two of the last few tickets (sadly I missed out on my local venue - Nottingham Rock City).ReplyDelete
The best gig I have ever seen without a doubt.
I even managed a full-on hand slap from Michael when I was ‘pogo-ing’ up and down and I’ll never forget the comical bemused expression that Michael gave me, a lanky, bespectacled student going nuts at the front (those days have left me!).
A great blog and to read other people’s experiences...cheers!
You're welcome and thanks so much for commenting - as you say, it's wonderful to read other people's experiences of these great gigs!Delete
I googled this to jog my memory! Remember going up to oxford street hmv with my friend and his sister and getting the tickets. I was only 16! Brixton academy was a brilliant gig. Only saw them once but what a show.ReplyDelete
Thanks for commenting, glad it jogged a good memory!Delete
Found your page looking for the date of the Nottingham Rock City gig (21st July 1993). It was a great evening for me as I was not only a fan but my band had managed to get the support slot. The whole thing went in a flash but epic memories.ReplyDelete
That's excellent, thank you so much for commenting! How's the band going (please say it's still going!)Delete
Not anymore unfortunatly. We had a bit of lable interest around the time of the INXS gig but never came to anything apart from a headline at a local festival ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FA67wVtZyLM&t) and we split a few years later some of us reformed into another band but that faded as well.ReplyDelete
I play in an indie covers band these days indiegeneration.co.uk
Glad to hear you're still playing, but you need some INXS in your set! Nice to see the Killers in there though! :)Delete
I was at the Leicester gig also. I didn't mean to be there.. it was in fact the one and only time in my life (to this day) when I bought tickets for a show specifically to sell. I had four altogether. I couldn't find a soul who was interested in them and I ended up giving away two of them and going to the gig myself with a friend. Disaster. Never again. The thing I remember about the show itself was the way Michael talked to the crowd at the front between songs. The choices of language weren't too savory, let's say...ReplyDelete
I saw INXS at the Music Hall in Aberdeen, 11 July 1993. 1300 very happy fans, Michael Hutchence was immense and I will always remember him climbing up to the balcony. Must beone of the best concerts ever seen in Aberdeen.ReplyDelete
Thanks so much for the comment, sounds like you had a great gig too!Delete
Great thread and great memories. I set off from Fraserburgh to Aberdeen to get tickets at 4 am, it's an hours drive. My mate as whinging "Why are we leaving so early there will be nobody there" Turned into Union Street and was glad we had. An amazing gig, almost surreal seeing a band with that draw in such a small venue. A lot of Aberdeen gigs are a bit subdued, almost a reserved crowd but not this time. One memory was when Hutch did his walkabout into the crowd and took a sip of water from a girls bottle, oh my did she hug that bottle like her life depended on it. Seeing her reaction and smile made up for me missing an opportunity to shake his hand.ReplyDelete
Thanks for leaving your comment and you're right, there's some great memories on here, thanks for adding yours!Delete
The support band was called the Desperate Dan Cow Pie Blues Band. I know this, because they were my local band and I got into the gig as road crew helping them out. My mate Mark was the bass player. He now runs a large bass company called bass direct in Leamington spa.ReplyDelete
At one point in the gig, Michael Hutchence climbed up and sat right in front of where I sat in the VIP section. I was inundated with screaming girls Passing me their cameras to get a closer photo of him. I wonder if anybody kept any of the photos I took??
Excellent, thanks for letting me know Adrian!Delete
An amaing night at Rock City, best chum queued to get us tickets, so grateful she did. An incredible gig, so much energy. An INXS plectrum landed in my eye, an unexpected gift from Michael or Tim, instinct told me to put it in my pocket, only when I got outside did I realise what it was! Fun times. Great to read all the other memories and your write up!ReplyDelete
Thanks for the comment Kate and the great memories (not so much where it hit you but well done with the plectrum!)Delete
I remember getting up at 5 in the morning and being in the cue at 6 in the morning, chatting with a lad and his sister in front of me. And then the gig at the international in Manchester with a mate, possibly the best concert I've ever been to.ReplyDelete
Thanks for posting and bringing back some amazing memories!
Thanks for commenting and really pleased it brought back memories!Delete
Went to the Sheffield Octogon to see them for the 3rd time after X tour at Wembley Arena and SummerXS. Amazing gig but remember thinking that Michael was far edgier than I had seen him before. The was an air of anger/desperation/confusion/devil-may-care about him. Obviously we now know that he was suffering from brain damage caused by the assault in Copenhagen a few months earlier. He launched himself in to the crowd several times and got a face full of his armpit at one point. Also remember Gary getting pissed off at the crowd for singing "Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport" and saying something along the lines of "How would we like it if they started taking the piss out of us playing the bagpipes??" which was met a lot of laughter as he was clearly confused as to where in the world he was (Hazard of doing too many world tours I suppose). Very happy that they played my favourite track, Don't Change, at the end. On reflection, it felt very different to the two previous gigs and almost like they had reached the pinnacle at SummerXS, and they knew that, and they were desperately trying to hold on to something that was trickling away through their fingers. I miss them lots and still play their music at least once a week. And "Don't Change" will be the exit music at my funeral :-)ReplyDelete
Thanks for the comment and yes, I know what you mean - reading, much later, of the strain recording "Full Moon" and then watching the doc, it must have been tough on them. And "Don't Change" is a great idea for the exit music!Delete
Hi there, loved reading this. I was at the Leicester de montfort hall gig in 93. I remember waiting outside hmv and having to talk parents into letting me que so early. I was reminded of it today with Shane Warne passing. Do you remember the Australian cricket team were at the gig?ReplyDelete
Thank you! I didn't realise the Aussie team was there, no! How cool is that?Delete
Hi, i seen INXS at Glasgow Barrowlands in June 1997. Was opening night of the UK tour. Went in early to get a spot in the front row but ended up meeting the guys when they arrived for their soundcheck a few hours early. All 6 members signed and posed for photos and chatted which i thought was absolutely brilliant. Had a quick chat with Hutch and spoke to Timmy for ages. The gig itself was the best I've ever been to. Michael hit me on the head with a bottle of spring water, I'm sure it was an accident :-) Got a drumstick from Jon and a few plectrums. Signed stuff is stored away safe away in a box. Best gig ever! Seen Inxs a few times since then and was always great but obviously Hutch was missed. A night i will never forget. Best gig ever, photos with band, autographs and ears ringing for days....brilliant !Delete
That's fantastic, I'm envious!Delete