Jon Stevens – The Noiseworks & INXS Collection
Freo Social, April 11th 2021
Words and Photos by Sheldon Ang Photography,
Contributor: Haylee Robins Music
The mellifluous rock resonance from the stage and the cacophony of the revellers dissolved into obscurity upon her whisper, Let’s slow dance to this… it has been a while for me.
Two worlds collide, manifesting into a visceral sensation as yearning blooms, summer lips slipping and sliding– perhaps for the first timeSHELDON ANG
He beams at the touch of her proposal. Their gaze momentarily locked, sharing the sparkles from the glittering stare before shying away. She emanates an eliciting smile, syphoning from the wonderment of possibilities, shaping her structure into perfection.
Let his sorrow sip, pain and worries go. Their noses greet, as proximity eclipses the kaleidoscopic rays on her beautiful face. Don’t ask me, What you know is true.
With that, he knows he need not say more. Don’t say it, don’t ruin it, is not like she doesn’t already know. Two worlds collide, manifesting into a visceral sensation as yearning blooms, summer lips slipping and sliding– perhaps for the first time. At that moment, he knew that he could live for a thousand years if nothing is to tear them apart…
Such was the beautiful memory for some fans during the performance of the spiritually haunting ballad. Written in a tempo of a Viennese waltz, Never Tear Us Apart remains as one of the great songs, a mood catalyst that often enshrouds several milestones of a life cycle, from the dawn of courtship to the finale of funerals; no wonder the moment had expelled the honesty out of a few. And the sax was great tonight, almost a chorus in its own right.
The nostalgic torch was sparked by Touch, the ‘88 anthem that transported revellers to the golden era of Aussie rock, celebrating the discographies of Noiseworks and INXS with Jon Stevens.
The rocker led Noiseworks since its inception in 1986 before filling the shoes of the late Michael Hutchence between 2000 and 2003 for INXS, which included a forty-city tour of the United States.
Stevens takes centre stage at Freo Social for the fourth and final chapter of the WA tour. Hits such as Take Me Back, released in 1987, became the karaoke fanfare of the night. Hot Chilli Woman was in the list of the rock fest, which also peaked within the Top 10 Australian singles back in its heyday. And it was unsurprising that it took an almighty effort by the capacity crowd to match the vocals of Jon Stevens, who at almost sixty years young, remains as one of Australia’s top vocalist, hitting the mark time after time. With No Lies, the Aussie anthems by Noiseworks were in full display under the nostalgic rain of the iconic Fremantle venue
This writer has interviewed Andrew Farriss and bass guitarist Garry Beers – so he was probably here for the songs of INXS. After all, for most, tonight was probably the closest to being with INXS with a powerhouse vocalist, who soars with rock rawness and brutal sincerity. From What You Need Tonight, New Sensation to Original Sin, Stevens graced the stage without the need to glace over the legacy of Hutchence.
Dressed in a black t-shirt and jeans, the rocker had the stage presence of a rockstar (well, arguably he is a rockstar). Under the brilliant lights of Freo Social, Stevens was animated throughout, engaging the fans with genuine eye contact, with a dash of sex appeal before a brilliant musicianship by the world class band.
The night ended with the encore In My Youth from the album Touch by Noiseworks, and Kick from INXS’ sixth album – which was fitting given that it was this album that propelled them into legendary status.
To some, tonight’s performance transcended the songs of Noiseworks and INXS. It was also a celebration of the life of Jon Stevens who has been a performer for over 40 years, even flirting in the early 90’s as Judas Iscariot in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar alongside the likes of Farnham and Kate Ceberano. This writer has become an avid fan of Noiseworks – perhaps three decades too late.
It must have been a difficult task for Stevens to select the best of the best for a finite setlist. There were some obvious omissions from INXS’ catalogue, such as Disappear, Beautiful Girl, Mystify and Suicide Blonde. With Andrew Farriss touring the country in May/June, who knows – the two mates could cross paths for a mini-reunion, perhaps?