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November 4th, 2010
Today marks 25 years since Michael Hutchence with INXS made their memorable 'Rocking The Royals' performance in the presence of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.
After heading to South America to promote the recently released 'Listen Like Thieves' album, the band were due to hit North America. The band were in hot demand as their 'Live Aid (Oz for Africa)' performance had screened just a few months prior, and American fans were keen to hear the new tracks. Instead of putting their touring commitments first, the band decided to return to Australia for the "Rocking The Royals" charity concert for Victoria's 150th anniversary celebrations.
The concert took place at the Melbourne Concert Hall, with INXS headlining while other acts included Models, Kids in the Kitchen, I'm Talking and comedian Richard Stubbs. As well as selling tickets for inside the Concert Hall, for the fans who couldn't get in big screens were put up outside in the Alexandra Ave Underpass, and people could pay $2.50 for "Underpass Dancing" outside.
During the concert Michael said "I'd like to say hello to everybody out on the highway". At the end of the night the band and "the Royals" appeared outside on the balcony over the underpass so the fans outside could catch a glimpse of them. It was estimated 15,000 people partied outside the venue during the show.
INXS were on their best behaviour during their performance, however as usual they put on a great show even though they spent a lot of the night looking up to the Royal box to see if Charles and Di were enjoying the show! "I'd like to thank you all for coming here tonight…especially two of you" Michael stated during 'Don't Change'. The band members parents also got to sit in the Royal box that night, as guitarist Tim Farriss once stated "Our parents were happy with our choice of profession as musicians at last".
The band performed eleven songs, six from 'Listen Like Thieves' ('Kiss the Dirt', 'This Time', 'Shine Like It Does', 'What You Need', 'One X One' and the title track), three from 'The Swing' ('Original Sin', 'Burn For You' and 'Dancing on the Jetty') and 'The One Thing' and 'Don't Change' from the 'Shabooh Shoobah' album. Just about all of these live songs have been released on various INXS releases over the years.
'Burn for You', 'The One Thing', 'This Time' and 'One X One' were included on 1991's 'Live Baby Live' album.
'This Time', 'Original Sin', 'Burn For You' and 'Dancing on the Jetty' appeared on the 12" single for 'This Time' in the UK
'Listen Like Thieves' appears on the 12" of 'Listen Like Thieves', while 'What You Need' and 'The One Thing' appear on the 'What You Need' UK 12". 'What You Need' is also available on the free promo cassette that originally came with the 7" of 'What You Need' in the UK. 'Shine Like It Does' was included on the special UK 10" edition of 'Devil Inside'.
That only leaves 2 songs which haven't been released on commercial singles. 'Kiss the Dirt' from the concert was pressed on a 12" Atlantic Records promo (PR866) in America though. So that leaves 'Don't Change' as the only song not on any INXS release or promo release.
A special Australian-only promo 12" entitled "Musical Excerpts from Living INXS" was given to radio stations and featured 2 tracks from the concert – 'One X One' and 'Listen Like Thieves'. It comes in a picture sleeve similar to the video cover and is valued at $120 (Aust) in the Australian Record Collectors Magazine.
This concert was one of many INXS highlights in their career with Michael Hutchence, and luckily they were able to film it with seven cameras capturing the night. The video was directed and produced by Karl Steinberg.
"I hadn't seen the band live before the night", said Steinberg, "but I was immediately impressed by the high standard of the band's sound and performance. With six individuals giving so much in the performance, it was a challenge to capture it all as it happened".
The video was entitled "Living INXS" and includes all 11 tracks and was released by WEA Music Video in 1986, unfortunately the video has since been deleted from stores around the world, so the only way to get a copy is to buy one second hand. Hopefully one day this will be re-released on DVD and Blu-Ray.
A special 'Rocking The Royals' 16 page programme was available on the night for this one-off concert.
All memorabilia from Matthew Marsland's personal collection.
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