In 1980, Men at Work released a new song that many still consider to this day to be Australia’s other nation anthem: Down Under. Fast-forward 39 years, a Men at Work front-man Colin Hay is still busy making music and touring the world.
Before touring Europe in June and July this year under the Men at Work name, Hay hosted a brief Australian tour, including a stop at the Melbourne Art Centre’s Hamer Hall on April 23.
Supported by Australian duo Vika and Linda Bull, Hay led an entertaining night featuring a set list of 19 songs, including Men at Works and solo songs, as well as covers of other Australian classics.
Hay began the show rather intimately, speaking softly to welcome the crowd and wasting no time before diving into a story, used to lead into Beautiful World, a 2001 release that happened to feature on an episode of the American hospital-comedy Scrubs. His band was quickly introduced, including Hay’s wife Cecilia Noël, before he launched into Men at Work’s two biggest singles: Who Can It Be Now, followed by Down Under. The crowd became one, seamlessly singing every word, as Hay seemed to be enjoying the performance just as much as anyone attending.
“I know what you’re thinking”, he joked. “He’s done his two biggest songs already, what the f–k is he going to do now,” Hay said in his thick Scottish accent. The singer did not disappoint. Through a mamba-inspired cover of AC/DC’s You Shook My All Night Long lead by Noël, rocking Men at Work covers such as Be Good Johnny, and even numbers from his latest release Fierce Mercy (2017), Hay captivated the audience with his animated guitar playing, anecdotal song introductions and frequent jokes.
Hay proved he still has it, leaving his audience at the Hamer Hall satisfied, having laughed, sang and cheered together.