December 20, 2019 INXS: Live Baby Live at Wembley Stadium (Live Concert Movie Review)
Picture the year 1991. It is July 13th, on the six-year anniversary of the original Live Aid at the same venue – Wembley Stadium in London England. This picture painted, bringing it all together, INXS is in their prime headlining their Summer XS Tour to max crowd of over 73,000 fans who did not have the capability to record cell phone videos/photos of an event yet. Now, imagine the show professionally documented with multiple cameras, but available in 2019 re-mastered for a special one night only theater release packaged as INXS: Live Baby Live at Wembley Stadium. Sounds amazing, right? Well, on December 9th, it was presented in glorious cinematic widescreen at a list of theaters thanks to Fathom Events.
For those around during the heyday of Australia’s INXS, attending the Summer XS Tour was nothing less than epic. As far as the Wembley Stadium concert, it would spawn the band’s first ever live album, Live Baby Live which was released in November of the same year. The video footage of the event was then re-released as a DVD in 2003 – digitally remixed and mastered in 5.1 surround sound. Which leads us to present day where the film has been restored from the original 35mm negative where it was gone through shot by shot, repositioning every single one to get the best out of the frame.
The newly restored edition made a world premiere at the Byron Bay International Film Festival in late October 2019. Prior to this, special screenings in July had also taken place, including one held in New York city, before it was released in Australia and New Zealand on November 14th via Fathom Events and in Europe areas such U.K., Ireland, Greece, and the Netherlands by Cinevents. Which leads us to the most recent theatrical release on December 9th in theaters across the USA.
As far as the film itself, it starts off in a sea of eager onlookers, as INXS gives their all without hesitation for this Wembley Stadium performance. For this remastered addition they also uncovered the tune “Lately” from 1990’s X album in the setlist – a track which somehow had been edited out previously. Wonderful to watch, as Michael Hutchence breezed through the upbeat tracks wearing his half black on white star, and half black on white striped fitted pants, his bandmates pulled off the rest of the magic; the core group consisted of Tim Farriss (lead guitar), Kirk Pengilly (rhythm guitar/saxophone), Garry Gary Beers (bass guitar), Andrew Farriss (keyboards), and Jon Farriss (drums).
With the band feeding off the positive energy of almost 74,000 people, the only proper way to end an already over the top encore was with “Devil Inside.” After this glorious moment Hutchence grabs an available guitar and storms over to the amplifier to create some end of show noise feedback of his own accord – stepping out of his comfort zone and connected on an even deeper level with the audience.
Naturally a concert of this magnitude from INXS also featured classics such “Mystify Me,” “Suicide Blonde,” “New Sensation,” and there was nothing but pure joy felt by the crowd in attendance. Music aside, the videography of the film really captures the anticipation of being in the crowd along with the essence of the band’s on stage personality. In fact, witnessing the saxophone breakdowns and instrumental change-ups can really set the at-home viewer into the virtual inter-working of the live performance.
To summarize, the charismatic persona of long-time heartthrob Michael Hutchence directs the audience at a memorable pace. For any and all fans of the late ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s Rock scene, INXS takes it full blast in the special event that should not be missed. As the live theater dates have already passed, the current suggested option remains to check out the vinyl and CD sets of the recording which was released back on November 15th before a DVD/Blu-ray/Digital release of the film is announced. Until then, Cryptic Rock gives the newly remastered edition of INXS: Live Baby Live at Wembley Stadium 4.5 out of 5 stars.