Fangirl: INXS

When I first arrived in Toronto from Japan when I was six, there wasn't too much here that was familiar to me. It was a total culture shock. The only English I knew was what I learned for Sesame Street.

Then I remember seeing the Original Sin video by INXS. It featured the band at a street festival in Japan. It was like all the street festivals I remember my parents taking me to, and I was an immediate fan.

Fast forward a whole bunch of years when the band lost its original lead singer, Michael Hutchence, to controversial circumstances and then fast forward another bunch of years later to last summer, when the remaining members of the band took part in a Mark Burnett produced reality show to recruit a new lead singer.

JD Fortune, hometown boy, purported ex-Elvis impersonator and living-out-of-his-car pursuing his rockstar dreams, won that competition to become the new lead singer of INXS. The newly intact band rolled into town this week to play two sold-out shows on Monday and Tuesday at Massey Hall.

Being the INXS fangirl that I am, I wasn't sure about the whole idea of replacing Michael Hutchence through a reality show. But I'll readily admit that during the weeks Rock Star: INXS was on, I didn't have much of a social life.

Despite my wavering loyalties throughout the show's run, when it came down to JD and the "mad conductor" Marty Casey during the finals, I was rooting for JD all the way.

Seeing INXS last night was a full circle moment for me. The band was in fine form. And considering that JD was stepping into a band with a long history of albums and hits stretching back to 1980, I guess he held his own.

Their set consisted of mainly songs from their back catalogue (including Never Tear Us Apart, Suicide Blonde and alas, Original Sin) with about three songs from their new album, Switch, including Pretty Vegas, the song which JD made famous on the Rock Star show.

The crowd at Massey Hall, mostly consisting of folks in their mid-30's and up, were all over it. The band mirrored the high energy of the crowd and their performance was tight.

If there is a hint of disappointment from me, I guess there is. It was nostalgic and I had a blast, but it was like I witnessed the world's greatest INXS cover band.

INXS is moving forward as a new band with JD and as good as they are now, I'm finally moving on too.

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