Amid crashing chords, Hutchence arrives on stage clad as a strange amalgam of dramatic personae. Worrying pallor, black frock coat, dyed raven locks, inky gloves and shades, a composite of something from an Anne Rice novel, a deranged Heathcliff, Hamlet and Jeff Goldblum's disintegrating Fly. His purpose here tonight is ringmaster; thus, as his competent band provide back-up, he strips, gyrates, seduces the speakers and hurtles from the drumstack like a bat. The crowd swoon and shudder and frug about, despite the fact that the show's first half-hour is uninspired, over-amped, pedestrian rock no one with sensibilities could get anything out of. You'd wait good- naturedly for something worthwhile if Mike wasn't so obnoxious, particularly in his crowd-pleasing schmooze. "Glasgow!" he roars. "We had to play here as the first night of the tour because this is the shit, innit? You guys are fuckin' mad. Right?" Well, thanks.
The set improves with a track - "I'm Just a Man" - from the new album. Could be self-pitying autobiography, but in fact it's spare, melodic, expressive, very bluesy, and Hutch delivers it with admirable restraint. This might have been a respectable new direction, but right after it we're back to strobes and desperate hysterics. Announcing "Show Me (Cherry Baby)", Michael's into overdrive. Having irritatingly thrown whole bottles of Evian at us, he now empties the contents of a bucket of water over the lucky front ranks - hey, rock 'n' roll. Bludgeoned though it is, you can't fail to enjoy the Kick round-up held together by Kirk Pengilly's soprano sax and the drumbeat that's their hallmark. For the most part, though, Mr Hutchence is simply wearing. Tonight was adolescent pub-rock, but if you want to move on up, you and your sound have to grow up. "Sometimes you kick, sometimes you get kicked," Hutch is growling. And just now, boy, is he ever right.Reuse content