The cold walls of the jail cells on entrance to the Ulumbarra Theatre helped to alleviate the oppressive heat of the day that Bendigo had delivered. While the cells previous tenants were never lucky enough to have air conditioning we enjoyed its comfort as we took our seats. The demographic was that of the grey nomad which made me feel quite sprightly as one of the younger fans in the audience.
As Colin Hay took to the stage you couldn’t help but feel that you were in the presence of Australian rock royalty, his ever familiar voice ringing out through the theatre. Opening with Touching the Untouchables and Dr Heckyll and Mr Jive it was apparent from the onset that he had lost none of his vocal skills sounding better than ever. Come Tumblin’ Down saw a front row fan have a sing-a-long, and she did an amazing job scoring applause from all. The set list was long covering hits from Men At Work as well as Colin’s solo career and his latest album Fierce Mercy, but music aside, Colin is one of the most hilarious story tellers I have been lucky enough to see. His banter flowed so easily and he was more that happy to poke fun at himself, chuckling as he did. This made for an extremely entertaining night of music and frivolity.
A few that I enjoyed from Colin’s solo career were Catch A Star and Thousand Million Reasons, together with Men At Work classics It’s A Mistake and Who Can It Be Now which were weaved in perfectly. Colin’s Latin infused band performed splendidly all night with some brilliant solo’s from all involved. Cecilia Noel accompanied on vocals and had an extremely enthusiastic presence on stage even taking the lead and singing the AC/DC classic You Shock Me All Night Long with some Cuban flare. I must give credit to Colin’s guitar tech, Colin had more guitar changes than I have had hot dinners and his tech was there waiting every time to make the smooth transition.
As the night was coming to a finish it was time for the winning trifecta of Men At Work hits with Overkill, Down Under and Be Good Johnny. All three sounded just as perfect as they had in my younger years and I felt fortunate to be there to witness the joy it brought to the spellbound audience. Waiting For My Real Life To Begin played to cheers from the devoted fans and saw the band depart the stage. Colin finished the two hour hit packed show with Next Year People, just him and his guitar which made you appreciate just how talented a musician he is. The band returned to help finish out the song accompanying on the vocals, and taking a bow with Colin to massive applause.
As I sit now reflecting on the night I am listening to Fierce Mercy on vinyl and feeling extremely fortunate that we still have these amazing musicians touring and playing for us. We really are lucky to live in the land Down Under!
Review Contributed by Cassandra Hale