Matchbox Twenty's Rob Thomas. Picture: Ben Crabtree/The West Australian

CONCERT
Matchbox Twenty, INXS, Evermore
Perth Arena
Sunday, November 11
REVIEW: COURTNEY PEARSON

Punters got more than they bargained for on Sunday night, witnessing the apparent retirement of an Australian icon and the rebirth of an early Noughties pop-rock supergroup.

Evermore served as a perfect appetiser, warming the crowd up with easy-to-digest tunes but they were quickly blown out of the water by INXS who opened with Suicide Blonde. To fans, no one will ever be as good as original singer Michael Hutchence. However, newcomer vocalist Ciaran Gribbin, aka Northern Irish singer/ songwriter Joe Echo, did the band's back catalogue justice.

Drummer Jon Farriss made the startling announcement that this was to be INXS' last show ever - the shows supporting American rockers Matchbox Twenty becoming an unofficial farewell tour. To celebrate the 25th anniversary re-release of Kick, fans were treated to a number of songs from the album, dishing up the greatest hits show everyone wanted. Beautiful Girl, New Sensation and Never Tear Us Apart showcased the vocal capability of Gribbin, who managed to have his own style while sounding remarkably like Hutchence, and the sheer versatility of guitarist and saxophonist Kirk Pengilly.

After inviting Matchbox Twenty vocalist Rob Thomas on stage for Don't Change they bid farewell, everyone knowing they'll likely never see INXS' live brilliance ever again.

The last time Matchbox Twenty were here in 2008 they played at Burswood Dome. Needless to say, the Perth Arena is a colossal step up. Black curtains were drawn to reveal the band in all of its glory; they then opened with Parades and proved any sceptics wrong.

Despite including tracks from new album North, classics like Bent, Disease, Long Day and Unwell allowed the band to shake off their exhaustion and remind everyone why they're still so successful.

Pop tune She's So Mean pulled people from their seats as if possessed, punters dancing well after How Far We've Come.

They came back for an encore with synth-driven Put Your Hands Up and 1997 hit Push, Thomas' voice so arresting you had to stand still and watch.

To top off an impressive evening, the members of INXS were invited back to cover the Easybeats' Good Times, a hit for INXS and Jimmy Barnes in 1987. Taking a well- deserved bow, the two bands called it a night; one probably forever, and one just for now.

The West Australian

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