I grew up listening to the music of INXS. They remind me of my years in Wollongong, when I first heard the haunting sounds of “To Look At You” as I was driving up to Corrimal Beach in the early 80’s. I followed them right through their extraordinary career, through the ups and downs and became a fully fledged INXS fan.
Highlights of that time for me include DJ-ing at the Dapto League’s Club before INXS came on stage and played their single, “Original Sin”, to a screaming packed audience. I also remember seeing them play live at Heathcote in the mid 80’s when they had as string of hits including “Burn For You”.
So you now get the picture, I was obsessed by this band and when I heard they were making a mini-series last year I was over the moon with anticipation.
In recent weeks all those ads we’ve been seeing about ‘the TV event of 2014’ have raised my excitement levels even higher, but the icing on the cake was when I received a much sought after preview copy of the shows first episode.
I slid the disk into the player and waited.
The opening scenes dazzle with that iconic INXS performance at Wembley stadium – its stunningly shot and leaves you feeling like you are there in the crowd! But the story of INXS couldn’t have started more differently; withing minutes we’re transported back to the late 70s when the band was called ‘the Farriss Brothers’ and they play covers to unappreciative fans in country towns.
Despite being pelted with beer cans, their musical brilliance shone through, and the cast led by the stellar Luke Arnold as Michael Hutchence had me believing I was watching the real thing. This was something special!
Luke Arnold almost channels Michael’s charisma as he grabs the ‘sex drugs and rock n roll’ lifestyle by the horns delivering a stunning performance.
The rest of the cast are equally good too, with special mention going to Andrew Ryan who plays Andrew Farriss, the band’s tortured but brilliant songwriter and keyboard player. Ryan never seemed happy with the fame and fortune and we watch his torment on the screen.
I was excited to see Samantha Jade make her long awaited appearance as Kylie Minogue, Hutchence’ one-time lover. She certainly didn’t disappoint and within seconds had me believing she was Kylie, as she took on the pop icon’s mannerisms and voice.
Damon Herriman also deserves singling out for his portrayal as the band’s manager Chris Murphy who was responsible for getting them out of the pub scene and to the top of the charts around the world.
Episode 1 can best be described as the story of INXS’s rise from a bunch of kids playing in their parents garage, to becoming the biggest rock band in the world. The story of how they got to the top is compelling; it’s a window to the world of rock and roll decadence, but we also get to see a vulnerable side.
The first episode of this two part series is a triumph and I’m giving it 5 stars.
It’s probably one of the best pieces of Australian drama I have ever seen and although I know the final instalment will end sadly, I can’t wait to get my hands on the preview copy.
Australia, you will not be disappointed, and as far as I’m concerned, it is ‘the TV event of the year’!