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Colin Hay from ‘Down Under’ to the Music Pier

Colin Hay from ‘Down Under’ to the Music Pier

first_imgThe tone was by that point already set for both him and us.Colin Hay is pretty cool………And so are all of us here to see him tonight in OC.So now let’s all have a good time from here on in.Deal? Deal.Hay of course broke out all the classics in his catalog you might expect: Who Can It Be Now, Overkill, I Can See It In Your Eyes, It’s A Mistake (accompanied by a story about how his old Men At Work companion guitarist’s girlfriend was always convinced Hay was actually singing ‘Mid Summer’s Day’), Be Good Johnny and of course Land Down Under. *dramatic pause* For any of the huddled, dampened masses that rushed for cover sometime shortly after 7:30 PM at Ocean City’s Music Pier, that thunder had long since been heard while lightning had on several occasions been seen. Nevertheless, they weren’t all international interlopers, as Colin conceded keys/organist/Jimmy-Kimmel-live-veteran/Andy-Dick-doppelganger Jeff Babko (providing some mind-blowing runs on his Hammond B-3 organ that had the rest of the band including Hay stopping to watch) was the tour guide who had helped lead them to a good lunch at The White House in Atlantic City for some South Jersey sandwiches that we presume were filled with something considerably tastier than vegemite.As the crowd rolled out, the buzz in the building began seeping onto the boards while the testimonials started rolling in:Tara Berman, who travelled down from over an hour north as a resident of Haddonfield NJ said simply and definitively that the evening’s proceedings had been “Great performances, music to the core, forget all your worries, just enjoy”. After the remarkably passionate and vocal response he received from the Ocean City crowd that followed when the sound of the opener dissipated, Hay began working in a level of stage patter more akin to a Vegas or Borsch Belt comic and on this particular night in New Jersey, all his punchlines seemed to work. Immediately, the crowd was happily swimming along in the same stream as the veteran singer. Said Hay with a bit of ‘are-you-serious’ incredulity at the inquiry and Scottish sincerity in his eyes and vocal tone: “Scotland”.Welcome Home, Mr. Hay. However, his band (assembled primarily from the streets of Philadelphia) who hail from seemingly all parts of the globe (Cuba, Scotland, America, Brazil and Australia) repeatedly amazed and astounded like its leading man did. His band, while not including any reed/woodwind instrumentation, a permutation which only seems unorthodox due to Hay’s former group’s reliance on saxophone for signature components on some of his biggest hits (you can probably at least hear the hum of the sax lines on “Who Can It Be Now” or “Overkill” for example). By Matt Koelling Despite the fact that he is known best for a song in which he’s handed a Vegemite sandwich with a smile that’s called “Land Down Under”, let the record reflect that Colin Hay is actually a Scotsman. We Had Fun, Didn’t We?Come Back to See Us Again Soon.Love,OCNJ Dailycenter_img Noel says of her vocally-impressionistic/Celia-Cruz-channeling/flutophone-funkiness created by her own voice but mimed onstage with a delivery that would make Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull look restrained by comparison that to her “it started out as kind of something we had messed around on as a joke and now it’s become a part of the show that we just have to do…..but I like it”. Ventnor native Paul D’Amico proclaimed “the sound was wonderful and the venue was beautiful’ while his companion (at the show as well as in life) wife Marianne D’Amico enthusiastically stated about backup-singer/salsa-dancer/beat-boxer/jazz-vocalist/horn-impersonator Cecilia Noel that “you wanted to be her up onstage, she looked like a 10-year-old girl up there with all of that enthusiasm except also happening to be incredibly talented”.Cecila’s efforts were not lost on any of the rest of the crowd as she performed a mambo-like makeover while singing lead vocals on a cover of AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long” and became even more pronounced while performing a type of what she described post-show as ‘Cuban scatting’ vocally while doing a variation of all the flute parts on what became the band’s instrumental tour-de-force 20-plus-minute-version of “Down Under” near the conclusion of the show.Cecilia, while being warmly receptive to all the new fans she had made out front, also made sure to direct some deserved adulation towards fellow Cuban musician (in this case, guitarist) San Miguel Perez who worked with her on her 2015 Grammy-winning solo album “Havana Rocks” and also took a loudly well-received solo turn on guitar and vocals on this particular evening. But once we all had entered the seaside gem of the Music Pier venue, we had figuratively and quite literally found our way to the other end of the rainbow.Following a stellar opening set by veteran singer/songwriter/guitarist Jeffrey Gaines, it was time for this Scotsman Mr. Hay to do his best in front of an enthusiastic crowd who came out in the somewhat challenging conditions. The combination of pouring rain and treacherous roadblocks were not lost on our show headliner who seemed quite aware of that fact. Cecilia is not alone in liking it while we are not alone in liking her, she has been a part of Hay’s band for over a decade in addition to doing her own solo projects while also now in her off-hours happening to double as Colin Hay’s wife.As for what her hubby (whose name the Ocean City Music Pier’s featured on the marquee on this beautifully messy Monday evening on boardwalk), who OCNJ Daily caught up with shortly after he got done signing every last autograph and also accommodating every last photo request in the post-show merch-line afterward? “Oh I’m having a *great time* here. Reminds me a lot of back home, you know?” Hay began, appropriately enough, with his first album’s closer: a sweeping epic from Men at Work’s 1982 Best-New-Artist-Grammy-winning-debut ‘Business As Usual’ album with “Down By The Sea”. I say it for the simple fact that Colin Hay’s Scottish roots, once you realize his origins (Hay was born and grew up there before moving to Australia at 14 where he met the rest of his then-band Men At Work), do indeed rise up from the sea to manifest itself in a myriad of ways all across his work. All the while doing so in a fashion that you or I might not recognize immediately if we didn’t know.Can’t You Hear, Can’t You Hear That Thunder? In between there about two-thirds of the way through the show came a brand new unrecorded song called “Tumbling Down” about which Hay humbly remarked (to the crowd’s nodding and vocalized approval) ‘not bad for a new song, eh?’.Speaking to the crowd at one point about his dearly recently departed mother, who while ill Hay made promise to see his then-upcoming 60th Birthday (which coincided with her own 90th) before she passed, his mother replied to him (imitated by Hay from center stage) “OK. I promise I’m gonna make it my 90th so that I can watch you make it to your 60th but after that I’m just gonna……..fade away”. Colin’s mum, holding up her end of the bargain, then began to do just that but before doing so had left him with the following beautiful rhetorical question on her death bed “we had a lot of fun, didn’t we, son?”This touching vignette led us into the heart of the show’s homestretch, starting with the Men At Work classic “Overkill” (ghosts appear and faaaaaaade away) before then going into a couple of his own more recent classics released under his own name as a solo artist: “Beautiful World” (ripe with lyrics that echo deeply in today’s current tumultuous cultural/political environment) and then a penultimate song of the evening, a notable fan favorite solo cut from 1994 that almost drives it in too deep called “Waiting For My Real Life To Begin” which begins with one of the more overtly at-the-cusp-of-the-sea’s-shore of references:‘Any minute now, my ship is coming in’.By this point it was clear to see Colin Hay had filled the gorgeous venue with a gathering throng of true believers, now all beginning to rise from their chairs and filter out from their seats to the perimeter aisles so they could let this music move them.And even with this concert taking place on (no pun intended) the polar opposite of a clear day, when looking for a group of satisfied smiles, all that was needed to do was look around in order to say to yourself “I could see for a long way”. Tara’s friend Jenn Gregga, also from Haddonfield, co-signed her road-dawg’s statement enthusiastically by exclaiming “Rocking show, the energy onstage and in the crowd tonight was amazing”. As Colin Hay told us as he made his way out from the shelter of the shed and out into the tie-dyed-twisted/misty-shoreline-sky to perhaps grab a Kohr Brother’s Frozen Custard across the boards as a well-earned post-show dessert, we asked him for his thoughts on Ocean City, NJ as a place to stay and play.last_img read more