31st March 2017
The Limelight 2, Belfast

Best known as the lead singer/writer in an Aussie supergroup of the 80s, Colin Hay played to a packed Limelight 2 crowd on a wet Friday night and left them laughing just as much as whistling his tunes on their way home. Were he not such a talented and in-demand figure on tour, a career in stand-up would surely await.

Colin Hay in storytelling mode at The Limelight, Belfast

From his opening comments “thanks for coming to see me as opposed to some other f*cker” – a clear reference to Stormzy playing in the larger half of the venue, he worked the crowd like fellow Glaswegian Billy Connolly would on a good night.

But it was the music people had ostensibly come to hear and he did not disappoint.

Beginning with ‘Tumblin’ Down’ from the new album ‘Fierce Mercies’, he displayed his trademark raspy voice which seems to have lost little of its power since he began his career back in 1979.

A fine guitar player in his own right, he accompanied himself through his solo back catalogue as well as playing the hits from his Men At Work career.

Colin Hay performs hits from his Men At Work career

Colin introduced each song with a little history of how it came to be or a titbit of life on the road. Some introductions took longer than the songs. Indeed after the first half hour, he had completed just four songs. Truth be told, no one seemed to care such was the entertainment quality and downright belly laughs.

He informed the crowd one of his songs had been on the soundtrack to the Zach Braff film ‘Garden State’ which had gone platinum. His next solo album, he added in his broad scotch accent, had gone mahogany.

Thirteen albums in, he has a large repertoire of solo material to draw from and some of it is quite lovely. ‘I’ll Never Get Over You’ and ‘A Hundred Thousand Reasons’ being among the highlights.

In answer to some shouted requests from the audience, Colin shouts back “I cannae hear you”. Lucky him. The gig had the usual smattering of talkers by the bar. Give the artist some courtesy and listen to the man.

Colin Hay is not a tribute act, but an artist who continues to put out excellent albums and his solo material was well represented on the night.

But it is fair to say that the majority of people in the Limelight had come because of his music with Men At Work. He was never going to leave this part of his career to the side.

“Oh play ‘Down Under’, I never thought of that”.

Three songs, ‘Who Can It Be Now’, ‘Overkill’, and the aforementioned ‘Down Under’ drew the loudest applause of the night.

Playing ‘Waiting For My Real Life To Begin’ and ‘Next Year People’ to finish, he donned his trenchcoat and headed out a side door into the night.

It was a nice touch to a great night’s entertainment. As I headed home myself, I smiled to myself and thought, I’m glad I went to see that f*cker.