Colin Hay @ Bears Den (Inside the Seneca Niagara Casino), Niagara Falls, New York
Saturday, May 12, 2012
By: Thom Jennings
Men at Work was one of the standout bands from the height of MTV in the 1980s when the "M" still stood for music. The band's quirky and creative videos added to what was some pretty creative music, a blend of rock and jazz, Aussie style. Even years removed from the height of their success, Men at Work's music still sounds fresh and exciting. At the front of the band was its creative force with that inimitable voice, Colin Hay.
On Saturday Hay, whose time and output as a solo artist far outweighs his tenure in Men at Work, played an intimate one-man show in Niagara Falls, NY. It was part comedy, part reflection, part nostalgia and a full-fledged splendid time for those in attendance.
Hay's voice, stripped of complex instrumentation, is hauntingly powerful. On numbers like "Beautiful World" and "Gathering Mercury" he filled the venue and had the audience mesmerized. Early in the evening Hay noted his set would be "peppered" with Men at Work hits. "Some people come for the hits and they think I am remotely interested in playing them," he quipped before launching into the second song of the night, "Who Can it be Now."
While he promised a peppering of "hits," the meat of the set was from Hay's underrated and oft unappreciated solo catalogue. Songs like "Family Man," "Far From Home," and "Send Somebody," are just as good as anything Hay performed with Men at Work.
Hay shared many funny stories about Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, and did some hilarious impressions of them. He also had some moving tributes to his late father and recently deceased bandmate Greg Ham. For Ham, Hay played "Blue For You," saying simply, "this is one he liked."
Colin Hay proved that he is a versatile performer, and he is one of the best solo acoustic performers this writer has ever seen. His voice still sounds great and his guitar playing was a great complement to his singing.
Who Can It Be Now? (Men at Work)
Into the Cornfields
Blue For You (Men at Work
Far From Home
I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You
Overkill (Men at Work)
Waiting For My Real Life to Begin
All Photos by Gus Griesinger
We would like to thank Tony Astran from the Seneca Niagara Casino for allowing BackstageAxxess.com to review the show.