Colin Hay brings inspired performance to the Cedar

I used to work with a girl who was a mega fan of Colin Hay, former lead singer of the Australian band Men at Work. We thought this was a bit out there. I mean, who has even heard Colin Hay's solo material, let alone enough of it to claim that it was better than the stuff he did with his famous one-hit wonder band? But she never the less stayed loyal and insisted we sit through each of his eventual outings as they landed their way into the cut-out bin of our record shop.

In any case, she is not alone. To a sold out house at the Cedar Cultural Center last night the "man from down under" (who was actually born in Scotland) delivered a simple and satisfying evening of stories, friendly chatter, comedy, and at some points a "sprinkling" of his most famous and lesser known songs. With a brilliantly self deprecating sense of humor, Mr. Hay delightfully weaves the stories only an '80s fixture who's worked their way from the very top of the platinum pile to the sleeping-in-the-back-of-a-van road troubadour who's long outlasted their 15 minutes of fame -- and is ok with that -- can.

Keenly self-aware, tales of the famous people he's met along the way in various musical, television and cinematic pursuits coupled with the personal adventure of life as a sort of well known popstar, of being a former alcoholic, and the relationship with his biggest fan, his father (whom he lost last year) dominated the evening, connecting the music and songs that make up his constantly expanding body of work. His 10th and latest solo release, American Sunshine, which is an ode to life in California, his home of 20 years now, provided much of the fresher moments of his performance, including the lovely "I Came into your Store." The '80s hits he could probably sing in his sleep, like "Who Can it Be Now?," "Overkill," and "Down Under" were performed with the respect and vigor that make them stand up almost 30 years, making for a wonderful and surprisingly inspired night of music and cheer.

Known for sticking around and spending time with the fans he appreciates above all else, tonight's performance should be a different spin on Friday more than just "business as usual" as Mr. Hay winds up his current tour before returning back to the closest thing he knows as a normal life.

Attendees are encouraged to show up early as tickets are going fast -- and the encouraging voice and talent of local singer-songwriter, Brianna Lane, who warmed up the crowd with her own personal sound and style of storytelling is not to be missed.

COLIN HAY returns to the CEDAR CULTURAL CENTER tonight. $25. 8 p.m.

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