If you think you don’t know who the hell Colin Hay is … don’t worry. You do.
Remember that classic Aussie anthem ‘Land Down Under’? Or ‘Who Can It Be Now’? Yep, that’s right that’s Colin Hay. He was part of ‘Men at Work’ the 80s group who took Australia by storm and certainly their songs travelled well across the world. And that’s putting it mildly.
But after the band broke up Hay found himself in a career that traversed film, television and, yes, comedy too. Born in Scotland, bred in ‘Straya’, this mostly America-based singer-comedian offers his audience at Sky city a delightful two hours chock full of some of his best songs, witticisms and confessions that are as heartfelt as if they would be if shared across a dinner table.
Since 1991 Hay has been playing to crowds (anywhere from a mere handful to a stadium’s worth) and although this is not a full house it doesn’t really matter because as Hay himself points out, “All the really important people are here.”
Mixing comedy with music is a tricky genre though it seems to becoming more popular these days. But while it works for some it can utterly fail for others, but every now and then there are those who don’t have to do much because not only are they natural comics but they’re brilliant singers too.
Hay is one of those singers and ‘Waiting for My Real Life to Begin’ is a great set. No joke seems forced; memories of parents, past record labels, encounters at the market all roll off Hay’s tongue with ease and he knows his audience. From the comments on the locals at the South Melbourne market who remarked on his uncanny likeness to the singer Colin Hay (!) to the benefits of touring with Ringo and experiencing the life of high-flyers, he takes us from the wee town in Scotland where he was brought up and the perils of loving a nine-year-old to writing platinum songs for Scrubs.
He might not have done it all but he’s certainly made a fair fist of it.
The show is supposed to be only 75 minutes but to the delight of the audience it continues to extend with Hay responding to the crowd’s enthusiasm by playing song after song. Alone on stage with his three guitars (none of them appears to have been pre-tuned, clearly the repercussions of falling from superstardom) Hay takes over SkyCity theatre with a coolness that reminds his audiences that this is a musical icon who can still bring the crowd to its feet.
Tonight is your last chance to see him in Auckland so make sure you do get down.
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