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Men At Work Get the Job Done and Then Some at the Ryman in Nashville

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Colin Hay and his revamped version of Men At Work lived up to all of the high praise and complimentary advance billing when the superb 6-piece group landed at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee for a night of hits and deep cuts on Monday, August 8, 2022 that earned them multiple standing ovations throughout the evening's nearly two-hour long set of powerful pop and rock music.


Colin Hay was all smiles in Nashville.

Men At Work excelled in the early 80's and shined extremely bright on their first two albums but as sometimes happens they burned out quickly and were essentially done when their final effort failed to find the charts. Their frontman Hay soon got to work honing a solo career and a show that relied heavily on his personable storytelling, wit and humor. In 2019, he re-fashioned his solo band into the all-new Men At Work to play a set's worth of mostly Men At Work music with all the elements of his solo experience and his more famous group's musicality fully intact and thriving.

Colin Hay moved to Australia when he was fourteen years old arriving with his family from Scotland. He described how it was a fun and interesting place to grow up in and it was where he found his first partners in Men At Work. From the stage during the introductions he described his current mates as a band of immigrants with his guitarist and rhythm section all hailing from the island nation of Cuba. In addition to the men, there where also two fabulous ladies in the lineup including Hay's talented wife Cecilia Noel on background vocals and percussion.


More scenes from the amazing Men At Work concert in Nashville.

So, it was this group that got to work on Monday night and there was a lot going on. First, there was a multi camera shoot underway filming the concert for a promised later airing somewhere down the road. Next, near the end of the long 19-song showcase Colin remembered to sing a stirring version of "Happy Birthday" to the Mother Church in honor of her 130 years of service to the Music City community. During his engagements with the audience Hay described his move to America over 30 years ago during what was supposed to be a six-week vacation. He said he loves it here even if it has gotten a bit "dodgy" as of late.

As for the show, it was amazing and this configuration that was celebrating the 40th anniversary of the seminal Business As Usual should have no problem moving into the larger halls with its big sound and abundant ability. Hay was like watching and hearing a time machine with his voice and tone unchanged since the 80's. The unit's secret weapon and MVP had to be the versatile Scheila Gonzales who thrilled on sax, flute and keys recreating the iconic parts from Men At Work songs flawlessly while sometimes playing two instruments at the same time.


Colin Hay - a talented and funny man at work in Nashville.

The evening featured a mix of a few Colin Hay songs and classics - but it was the monster final four Men At Work tracks played at the end of the main set that reminded the packed Ryman faithful just how influential this group was back in the day as they concluded with "Overkill", "It's a Mistake", "Who Can It Be Now?" and "Down Under" that saw the crowd on their feet dancing and singing along. Hay relayed a moment about the time when someone asked him if he would recommend songwriting as a vocation. His answer was an enthusiastic "yeah" seeing that his quirky ode and anthem to Australia has sustained him for over 40 years. Apparently, after the crowd pleasing show in Nashville it has done that and then some.

SETLIST: Touching the Untouchables | No Restrictions | Come Tumblin' Down | Can't Take This Town | Down by the Sea Blue for You | I Can See It in Your Eyes | Dr. Heckyll & Mr. Jive | No Sign of Yesterday | Underground | Upstairs in My House | Children on Parade | Catch a Star | Overkill | It's a Mistake | Who Can It Be Now? | Down Under | Waiting for My Real Life to Begin | Be Good Johnny


Four men and two women hard at work and having fun in Nashville.

Related Links: For more information on MEN AT WORK and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Men At Work | Ryman Auditorium


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