INXS Live Baby Live | Facts, Moments & FAQs
INXS Live Baby Live. For me, it’s the one that got away. Many music fans have the one gig they’d go to if they could turn back time. If only I could travel back to 13th July 1991. If only the much loved and revered Michael Hutchence was still with us. As I write, fellow fans and I have just marked the 25th anniversary of his passing.
So I’ve tried to make up for missing the INXS live concert ever since. Mostly by listening to the Live Baby Live CD and playing my Live Baby Live blu ray at every available opportunity. Back in the day, I owned Love Baby Live on DVD and vinyl, but have since upgraded – and updated. (A little; I still prefer CDs to downloads.)
On 13th July 1991 I was 17, and studying for my A-Levels. As I mentioned in my piece on missing the INXS frontman, I got into the band purely by chance. It was all down to a teenage crush, and I checked out INXS because he mentioned liking them. A shallow motive, perhaps, but I’ll be eternally grateful to my classmate for introducing me to the best band ever.
Anyway, at 17 I was still a year from heading off to university and experiencing heady independence. No one I knew really liked INXS. So I was, sadly, too young for a solo trip to London. Due to family finances and other circumstances, anyone accompanying me was out of the question. And so I missed the one gig that still means the world to me.
Now, I know the INXS Live Baby Live CD so well that I can sing and even talk along with Michael. ‘We’d like to play some songs from X. This one’s called The Stairs‘… etcetera. ‘Looks like England’s out there, f***ing hell!’ And so on.
Anyway, to pay homage to this outstanding live performance, this post lists ten of the finest moments from the INXS Live Baby Live full concert. But first, here’s some facts you may not have known about the iconic gig.
INXS Live Baby Live: 7 fun facts
1. The Live Aid anniversary
The INXS live concert at Wembley took place on the 6th anniversary of Live Aid at the same venue. Live Aid took place on Saturday 13th July 1985, and Live Baby Live was on 13th July 1991. Also a Saturday.
2. The third Wembley gig
INXS had actually played Wembley before the 1991 gig. They supported Queen there twice in 1986, also in July. Queen fans reportedly gave them a mixed reception, with some throwing tomatoes and bread at the sextet.
3. It’s Live Baby Live
Does anyone know how to pronounce it properly? Apparently it’s Live as in ‘live’, followed by Live as in ‘alive’. So it’s time to live, baby – they’re live at Wembley!
4. The UK location
It’s ironic that INXS’s most famous live concert took place in the UK, as the UK was the last major music market to warm to INXS. Australia and the US were way ahead of us in recognising the brilliance of this band.
5. Kylie and Helena
Both Kylie Minogue and Helena Christensen were backstage before the gig. At the time, Michael Hutchence had recently split from Kylie, and taken up with Helena. According to Michael: My Brother, Lost Boy of INXS by the frontman’s sister, there may have been something of a crossover between the two famous girlfriends.
6. Drugs and rock ‘n’ roll
Rock ‘n’ roll was a given. Sex, given those backstage, looked likely. And also there were drugs, taken during The Stairs. Michael partook, along with various other members of the band. Beforehand, The Stairs was agreed to be the signal for popping a pill apiece.
7. Keith Urban
The Live Baby Live album featured one brand new song, Shining Star. Keith Urban sang backing vocals on this track, after Kirk Pengilly spontaneously invited him to the Sydney studio for the recording.
INXS Live Baby Live: 7 memorable moments
1. Guns in the Sky
How could the opening song not make this list? What I love is the way it all begins with a seated Jon Farriss banging his drums, after giving the peace sign to the waiting crowd. The rest of the band run onstage one by one. According to Tina Hutchence, they weren’t in fact quite ready, but as Jon made a start they hurried out there to join him. How history is made!
The fact that they open with this tune is interesting. For me, it tells us that music can pass on political messages. To paraphrase Mr Hutchence, lyrics might not quite have the power to change the world, but they can at least make people think.
In some ways, Disappear is almost the track that never was. Yet it was one of the highlights of the Wembley gig: a shining star in an entire galaxy of flawlessly performed tracks.
Jon Farriss co-wrote Disappear with Michael Hutchence, and reportedly there was some resistance to it being included on the X album. In fact it was the LP’s biggest hit, and a real crowd pleaser wherever it was played.
As the Mystify documentary tells us, the ‘do do’ or ‘de de’ that the track opens with was also accidental. Jon and Michael hadn’t yet written the lyrics to those parts, but as that sounded good, that ended up being how the track was recorded.
3. By My Side
This is one of my favourite INXS songs ever, and the emotion Michael showed when singing it at Wembley elevates it even further. Who’s it for, every adoring fan wonders, wishing it was written for them. Or is that just me?
During the performance of By My Side at Wembley, it seems that Michael Hutchence bares his very soul. And that’s one of the reasons why he was such an engaging and charismatic frontman.
Kirk Pengilly, take a bow. For once, this wasn’t all about the frontman. The sax solo opening Lately is incredible. I just don’t want it to end, every single time I hear it. Even though when it does, it’s replaced by the velvety vocals of my all-time number one crush.
Another of my favourite INXS tracks. I always think of the sax section as ‘the saxophone’s lament’, and in my mind it’s dedicated to the memory of Michael.
5. What You Need
What You Need shows us Michael at his most playful. He doesn’t actually talk to the audience that much during the Wembley gig – and when he does he sometimes seems rather shy, to me. (Maybe he was wearing contact lenses for once.)
But not so during What You Need. He gives it his all and he shows us exactly what we need. And don’t we just love him for it? Definitely one of the most fun parts of this concert. Plus we get to hear those very versatile vocal chords of his in action.
6. Never Tear Us Apart
The comeback song for the encore could barely have been anything else. Now, hearing it is bittersweet, as it feels like the foreshadowing of his fate and his funeral. But it’s an incredible love song, and was of course written about Michele Bennett, the last person he ever called.
As throughout the entire gig, the whole band of course do more than justice to this iconic love song. It’s an utterly spellbinding performance.
7. Devil Inside
For me, the closing track and The Loved One showcase Michael’s vocal talent to its best advantage during this concert. I mean, his performance throughout is stellar, but I don’t know how he managed to sing the way he does towards the end of the track. It’s the twenty-second song!
Maybe it’s becasue of that. He can give it his all, as he doesn’t need to sing again after this one draws to a close. ‘The Devil in-si-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-ide’… ‘the Devil, de de de do…’
INXS Live Baby Live: FAQs
Where can I watch INXS Live Baby Live?
What was INXS’s biggest concert?
On Saturday 13th July 1991, INXS played live at Wembley Stadium in London. Around 72,000 fans attended. The concert was filmed and later released as Live Baby Live on video and audio formats.
Who supported INXS at Wembley 1991?
At the INXS Wembley concert on Saturday 13th July 1991, INXS were supported by Jellyfish, The Hothouse Flowers, Roachford, Jesus Jones and Deborah Harry.
Did INXS open for Queen?
In July 1986, INXS were one of the supporting acts for two of Queen’s concerts at Wembley stadium. Five years later, they returned for their own sell-out gig.
Did you attend INXS Live Baby Live?
If you were at that iconic INXS Wembley concert, then I’m so, so jealous. But I don’t even need to ask if you had a good time.
For my part, I just listen to the entire gig at least once a week. Usually while I’m preparing dinner and trying to match Michael’s incomparable vocals. What a treat for the neighbours that must be 😉
- A poem for Michael Hutchence
- A discography of INXS
- Top 10 INXS album covers
- The best INXS lyrics
- Finest covers by INXS
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