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Very Best Deluxe Misses And Hits
on 26 February 2015
A review of the 2cd + dvd edition...
Unbelievably 2014 was a big year for INXS in Australia despite having officially disbanded in November 2012. A major tv network broadcast a two part biographical mini series (with Aussie soap stars portraying the band) entitled "Never Tear Us Apart" in February 2014. Such was the impact it sparked renewed interest in the band resulting in this album "The Very Best" climbing to the top of the album chart and spending a total of seven weeks there. A phenomenal effort considering there have been countless INXS compilation albums in the past, none of which made it to number one in Australia. And it wasn't just this VBO, most of the band's back catalogue also started selling again, no doubt helped by the tv show.
There was a very extensive 41 track 2cd Inxs compilation released in Australia a while back called "The Years 1979-1997" which was eventually released in the UK as a 2cd + dvd combo with 10 music videos on the dvd (out of print now and very expensive The Years 1979-1997 (Sound & Vision Series). The audio discs were a fantastic set as they included the majority of the band's Australian single releases (using original album mixes) in chronological order. The EU equivalent was called "Definitive INXS" and was initially a single disc with a very different track listing. It was also reissued as a 2cd limited edition with a bonus enhanced disc of previously unreleased live audio tracks and remixes plus three cd-rom videos.
Ten years later, now that the bands catalogue is distributed worldwide via Universal Music we have "The Very Best" available in three different formats. Single disc, two CD set and the edition I'm writing about here the 2cd/dvd set. With such an extensive catalogue of hits it's very hard to condense them all down to a single disc and with only 20 tracks on the first disc there was always going to be someone's favourite (one or two) songs missing. It kind of serves its purpose as an international compilation but is very light on their pre Kick albums. Only five tracks are featured from the five albums they released before Kick. The previous 2 disc compilation devoted the entire first disc's 21 tracks to the albums up to and including Kick with the second disc covering the albums X to Elegantly Wasted. If you're only interested in a brief look at this band's catalogue the single disc version will do.
If you want to delve a little deeper I'm afraid the 20 track second disc in the 2cd set set only offers a few more cuts from the pre Kick era as well as three tracks from that album (if you own Kick you already have 8 out of the 35 songs here). Track 16 is a Inxs/Gwen Stefani mashup which, in my opinion, doesn't belong here. I guess it's been included for younger fans. Tracks 17-20 are four previously unreleased live recordings with three from Edinburgh and one from Brixton. There's no info included on when they were recorded but I believe the Brixton performance of "Disappear" is from 1994.
Disc three is a dvd and is probably why most fans would be interested in purchasing this set. It includes a 38 minute retrospective documentary with the three Farriss Brothers interviewed separately in 2011 and some very short archival footage of Michael Hutchence (there's no sign of Kirk Pengilly or Gary Garry Beers). It's not bad for what it is but feels very cobbled together with the three brothers only briefly talking about stuff before and after the Kick album. If you have the Kick 25 [Super Deluxe Edition], it seems to be extra footage from the same interviews that were used for its documentary. That's followed by three previously unreleased BBC live performances, two with full band from Top of the Pops and one from Later with Jools Holland which only features Hutch with Andrew on piano. It's one of the most beautiful performances of "Never Tear Us Apart" that I've ever heard. Finally there's five promo videos. Why there was no visual equivalent of this new compilation remains a mystery and as the previously released INXS: I'm Only Looking - The Best Of [DVD]  remains out of print anyone chasing some of the band's ground breaking promo videos will be very disappointed.
There isn't much here for long term fans, even the previously unreleased dvd content while quite good, is like an afterthought. I think new fans would be better served by the previously released compilations I mentioned above and if you can find the two disc dvd of "I'm Only Looking" at a good price I'd pick it up. The mini series is also worth a look - INXS Never Tear Us Apart - (2014) TV Mini Series Blu-Ray (Region B).
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