• john carlow

On this date in 2004 from a Land down Under.

Not sure how many people remember Central Bar and Grill. Little place on View by Douglas. I think its a sushi place now. In the scheme of things it didn't seem like it hung out long, but it hosted live music. I remember doing some early live music shooting there. An AC DC Cover band. Loud fun band. Not sure if we went to anything else there music wise , until tickets came on sale for Colin Hay. I think at the time we thought " this must be a mistake" . Men at Work was world wide famous. Colin wouldn't be playing such a small space." Regardless it was the one and only Colin Hay doing a solo tour. We grabbed some tickets and lined up early to nab the table right in front of Colin for the night. Men at Work had enjoyed an extraordinary ride with fame from 1980 to around 84 when the band fractured , paving the long way for different touring lineups under the band name , brief reunions and ultimately Colin striking out on his own.


We weren't sure what to expect. It was an odd feeling when he came out to play. You know that feeling when you look at someone in person who has achieved an extraordinary amount of fame, and its hard to fathom they are standing right in front of you.? The illusion ( or confusion ) of celebrity. In any case, that familiar voice was definitely there, and that almost Cheshire Cat grin. He rolled though some acoustic versions of the songs that made him famous, and was the grandest story teller you've ever experienced. There was a lot of shared stories and much laughter amidst the music that night. Being so close , we locked eyes a few times. He seemed to go out of his way to connect to people that night. I didn't have my camera and we were thankfully nowhere near the days when multiple phones would have lit up the venue.


After a longer and highly entertaining set , he mentioned that now would typically be the time for an encore. He looked at the curtain behind him , and said now was when he would leave an come back , but " there's nothing back there " so stayed where he was for a few more tunes. I do regret not bringing a Men at Work LP to be signed. I didn't know he was hanging out after , but there he was taking more time to connect with people.


Two years prior to this show , an acoustic version of " Overkill " had been used on Scrubs, and Colin was once again headline famous. I remember always liking the band version of that track. It was in his set list that night. When asked about the lyrics in an interview Colin stated "It was a song about what was happening at the time, the experience we were going through of stepping into the unknown. It's about having a fear about that, but also knowing that what was going to happen was inevitable. Leaving behind where you are and stepping into something which is out of your control to some degree. That's what it felt like at the time."


I'm sure everyone has experienced this feeling in their lives. I think Colin must have many times. Much like the crowd, he seemed very content and happy that night. We felt fortunate to have been part of that intimate crowd on that occasion, and that Victoria was chosen as a tour stop. Not sure he ever came back to the island. I know that he continued to tour and will certainly leave a legacy when he packs it up. I appreciate the time he spent with us that night. Here I am writing about it 17 years later.