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Colin Hay: Waiting for My Real Life …


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With any Colin Hay performance, you are virtually enjoying two shows for the price of one.

Firstly there is the hilarious raconteur with the ability to cause serious pain to the rib area as he makes you laugh uncontrollably at his stories, made slightly larger than reality with embellishments that couldn’t possibly be true … could they?

Then there is the hypnotic singer/songwriter, who entrances his audience with the amazingly pure, soaring voice that we first heard through Australia’s iconic Men at Work.

Now in his 61st year, Hay’s voice is even better then it was in his younger days and just as good as the last time I saw him at the 1998 Fringe.  It soars to incredible highs and sends chills up and down your spine, as he runs through the favourites: “Beautiful World”, “Waiting for My Real Life to Begin”, the hauntingly beautiful “Overkill”,  “Who Can it Be Now” and the big one, “Down Under”, still delivered with enormous passion after all these years.

Hay’s approach to performing is very laid-back, as he occasionally reaches for his water bottles and fiddles with the tuning of his guitars, seemingly searching his thoughts for the next story.  The wild hair, the weather-beaten face and the gorgeously tasteful tartan jacket all add to the hypnotic presence.

In the midst of this incredible humour and vocal dexterity, it would be easy to overlook the very tasty guitar playing.  Hay’s fingers dance nimbly over the fretboards of his three Australian-made Maton guitars and mandolin, ringing out the familiar hooks of the many iconic Australian songs he helped create.

The stories and songs are all autobiographical and, as well as the funny anecdotes, they reach into some very sensitive, emotional places, as Hay fondly recalls his now-departed parents and dealing with loss.  Others convey his need to shake himself out of his lethargy as he was cut loose from his record company when the Men at Work legacy faded.  The solution was to go on the road with an acoustic guitar, write songs and sing!  We should all be mighty glad he chose this path.

Colin Hay’s season at the Dunstan Playhouse has now finished. The Adelaide Cabaret Festival continues until June 21.

For more stories and reviews, see InDaily’s 2014 Adelaide Cabaret Festival hub.

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