Dunstan Playhouse, Fri Jun 13
Colin Hay’s Waiting For My Real Life… is not so much autobiography as a series of punch-lines glued together by songs and anecdotes. Don’t expect to hear in-depth monologues or detailed memoir. But you might expect to tear up and you can definitely expect to laugh, howl, cackle, chortle, giggle and snort. Hay is a funny bugger; he’s lived a pretty full life over his sixty years on the planet and has plenty of amusing stories to tell as he builds up lively personal anecdotes around iconic moments in song and music history.
Hay’s voice – his distinctive raspy, nasal timbre – is holding up exceptionally well. There is nothing like his tone and it’s captivating to hear him hit those big notes; he easily fills the Dunstan Playhouse without the aid of a backing band, and I get the feeling he could fill it without a mic too.
As would be the hope of this skilled songwriter’s audience, Hay plays his most recognisable tunes – Down Under, Who Can It Be Now? and Overkill – yet the lesser-known songs are pleasantly surprising; highlights being Beautiful World and the stunningly poignant There’s Water Over You. Songs such as these are given ballast by the back-story Hay tells his listeners.
A theme throughout the show is Hay’s desire to recreate the feeling he had as a young man; when Down Under was the biggest song in the world; when he was accepting a Grammy Award; when he returned to his hometown in Scotland feeling like he was the ‘king of the world’. That kind of high is addictive, and perhaps Hay has spent a lot of time seeking rather than living, but his songs reveal a deep thinker who knows there’s more to life than all of those things; his songs explore the small moments and the tough moments more than the glory of superstardom and untouchable accolades. And through it all, humour is the key and the binding.
Waiting For My Real Life… is the real deal. A show you will walk out of feeling as though you’ve got to know the man behind the myth, and knowing you’ve glimpsed into the world of a gifted musician and storyteller.
by Lynette Washington
Colin Hay performs Waiting For My Real Life… at Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre, until Sun Jun 15.