IF ALL HAD gone according to the grand plan, tomorrow's INXS show at the Capital Centre would have been the hottest ticket in town.
In fact, when the band's seventh album "X" was being prepared for release last fall, many music industry folks were predicting that the group would be entrenched in stadiums by the spring.
But instead of causing a groundswell of publicity and tour fervor from the beginning -- like U2's "The Joshua Tree" did four years ago -- "X" has basically maintained INXS' already-strong arena following, producing just one major hit with "Suicide Blonde" and a pair of minor hits in "Disappear" and "Bitter Tears."
But for a band teetering on the edge of worldwide superstardom, most reports indicate that INXS has remained very much the same as they were six years ago when they played smaller halls like University of Maryland's Ritchie Coliseum or a decade ago when the band was playing pubs in Sydney, Australia.
Onstage last weekend in Philadelphia, the band ripped through a two-hour, 24-song set with authority. Flamboyant frontman Michael Hutchence was more affable than he's ever been, talking with the crowd and poking fun at his bandmates.
At one point, Hutchence broke from one of his many between-song anecdotes to walk over to guitarist Tim Farriss and point out his new haircut. "How do you like it?," Hutchence screamed to the crowd. "Well, he likes it, but I think it sucks."
The good-natured ribbing doesn't come as a big surprise when you consider the history of the band.
After 13 years together the six-man band has yet to encounter a personnel change. Though before recording "X," they all took a year off from each other and worked on different projects. Hutchence fronted a band called Max Q, which released one album. The album was a critical success but a commercial flop.
INXS started with Hutchence, Farriss brothers Tim and Andrew (keyboards) and Jon (drums), Kirk Pengilly (saxophone) and Garry Gary Beers (bass), and it has remained that way. Hutchence has often described the band as "the Six Musketeers" in interviews.
One look at the inset in the band's 1983 album "Shabooh Shoobah" -- a photo of the so-called Musketeers lying naked in a huge bed with one large sheet covering their bottoms -- and its easy to surmise that this is one band that sticks together.
At any rate, tomorrow's show at the Cap Centre should please any INXS fan.
If you liked the band's overwhelmingly popular 1987 album, "Kick," you'll love the show. In fact, last week in Philadelphia, the band spent more time emphasizing the music of their 4-million seller than it did promoting "X." Hutchence seemed content to get the new songs out of the way quickly to make room for showstoppers like "Need You Tonight" and "What You Need."
And while "X" the album seems to have been purposely patterned in one mid-tempo bluesy form -- their previous albums bumped dance songs next to rockers next to ballads -- "X" the tour is not at all unlike previous INXS shows.
It is very minimal on effects, instead emphasizing the members and the music.
The Soup Dragons will open the 8 p.m. show. Tickets are $22.50. C Some seats still remain and can be charged by calling 481-6000. There is a $4 service fee for tickets purchased with credit cards.