This is a detailed description of my personal recollections of the two Men At Work
concerts that I saw in 1999.
My husband and I live near Richmond, Va. so we decided to make the first show
a little mini-vacation. We got a room atThe Seagull Motel
on Atlantic Ave. in
Virginia Beach. The Seagull is 5 blocks from Peabody's where the concert was held.
It was great not to have to worry about where to park.
The doors opened at 7pm and the show was to start at 9. We arrived at the club at 8:30.
I had never been to Peabody's and I was pleasantly suprised. Unlike The Floodzone in Richmond,
Peabody's was air conditioned (hurray!) and had a very nice atmosphere. There was a tiny dance floor
with a large screen behind it. There were TVs on all of the walls and the only lighting was black lights.
The waitresses carried orange trays that glowed under the black lights. The TVs had no sound and they,
as well as the screen behind the dance floor, showed very odd things. Clips from movies, videos, tv shows,
as well as dance contests and people on fire. No one was dancing. At 9:30 it began to get more crowded.
So some of us moved up onto the dance floor to stand. The DJ was playing mostly 80's music.
We asked a member of the staff where the band was going to be and he told us that the large screen
would lift and they would be behind there. By 10:15 I was getting angry. I kept telling myself to
just be patient because once they came out it would be worth the wait. They finally came on at
10:30. I believe this was the fault of Peabody's and not Men At Work. (Hold the show off....sell more drinks.)
The band was on the same level as us and we were behind a waist high fence. There was only about maybe
4 feet between me and Colin Hay!!!
Here are some things that I remember:
The sound was so bad that I couldn't hear the words, but, hey, I was 4 feet away from Colin so who cares!!!
There was a man with a video camera whom Colin told to "Fuck Off". I don't know if he knew that the man worked for Peabody's.
The band did not mind people taking photos. They come from the 80s...back when artists weren't anal about
Colin said, "It's been a long time since we played somewhere where I can sing and watch TV at the same time".
Later on he said, "I thought I had just seen a UFO, but it was just her tray".
Colin had on a cool black and white shirt with pineapples, footballs, beers, and guitars on it.
Speaking of beer, The bassist and Greg Ham swilled alot of Coronas, but the others drank bottled water.
Greg said "Someone stopped me and asked me to dedicate a song to them because it is their anniversary, but I can't remember their
fucking names. So this one is for you, happy anniversary, go home and have sex." Then Colin said,"Yeah, go down under." Then they played Down Under.
When Colin introduced the drummer, Tony Floyd, he said,"during
the day we call Tony, Tigger, because he's so nice, but at night he becomes Curious George". At that the drummer
got up and stood on his drum set.
The bassist was extremely tall and literally he kept hitting his head on the rafters.
Admittedly, Peabody's does have a low roof.
I'm not into guitar playing, but I must say their guitarist, Simon Hosford, was spectacular!! I have never heard anyone play better and
I have been to alot of concerts!
At One point Tony made eye contact with me and pointed his drumstick at me and threw it, but someone lunged in front of me and got it.
Greg introduced one song by telling a story about Ted Nugent. He said, "Ted Nugent will only eat red meat that he's killed himself, but he has a unique way of doing it.
He stands in the woods and hits a G chord and deer drop like flies. That's called Overkill". Guess what song they played next.
He introduced It's A Mistake by saying, "I recently met the keyboardist from Duran Duran and let him play my keyboards. Man, he fucked 'em up bad. Then he said I
could play his. After what he had done to mine I said, 'Are you sure you want to let me? I think It's A Mistake.'"
When they played Be Good Johnny he said, "this is for all of the Juan's out there." One good thing about a small venue is that when the audience
sings along you can really hear it! It was particularly brilliant on this song. Colin was really smiling!
At one point Greg was talking about being in Chile and he asked if there were any Chileans in the audience.
A bunch of people screamed and he said, "I'm not calling you liars, but if you're really from Chile come up here". No one did.
After the show as we were walking back to the hotel we passed the bassist walking down the street. My husband said, "great show tonight" and he turned around and said, "thank you".
The second show was the next night back in Richmond. It was an outdoor concert and much larger than Peabody's.
It was suppose to start at 5pm, but the opening act (a VERY good local band, Carbon Leaf) didn't come on until 5:30.
Men At Work came on at 6:30. We had gotten there at 5 so I parked myself right up front again! This time we were even closer
than the night before. I was resting my arms on the stage. It was a raised stage though so we stared at their knees all night.
The acoustics were much better at Innsbrook than at Peabodys.
Colin told the same story about "Tigger/Curious George".
Before the show started Simon was standing on stage so my husband waved and he nodded his head and smiled.
When they first came on Colin said that it was Men At Work's 20th anniversary because even though it was September 25th in the US it
was September 26th in Australia so it was 20 years ago that they had formed.
Then he said, "If you are here with someone tonight...go home and have sex. If you are here alone and are
going home by yourself....stop and buy yourself some flowers...treat yourself nice.... and please don't be easy".
After one song he said, "I like it when I sing the wrong words and you all sing them right along with me. It proves we're really on the
same wave length. I also like it when you move your arms when you sing along. It shows you're really getting into it!"
Greg told the same Ted Nugent story for Overkill, but for It's A Mistake he didn't tell the Duran Duran story.
He was smoking and drinking at the same time and said, "I just saw the latest Dennis Leary film. I love to be totally
politically incorrect on stage (puff puff...drink drink), but don't worry...It's A Mistake".
HERE"S THE COOL PART!!!!
During Greg's "Nugent" story Colin put down his guitar and walked up to me and bent down and put out his hand. I was totally starstruck and
just stood there for a second before responding. Then he walked over to my husband and shook his hand too. Everyone else was then putting their hands
up for him to shake, but he turned and walked away. He then picked up his water bottle and squirted me and my husband with it! I honestly believe
that he recognized us from the night before!
My husband used to work in the music industry and has met many people (including Sting), but he said this was the
highlight of his Rock-N-Roll life because everytime he had met someone at a meet-and-greet he was taken and introduced to them, but in this case
Colin recognized us. He made the effort to come to us and shake our hands!
I have noticed in the past how when you go to a concert you build a sort of intimacy with the people seated or standing near you. Even
if you never speak, by the end of the evening you feel as if you know them. I've got to believe that maybe that's how Colin felt.
He was standing in front of hundreds of strangers, but there in front were two faces he recognized. Two people he knew appreciated his music and
two people he knew weren't going to freak out on him.
After this, 3 drunk guys muscled their way up front and were basically being obnoxious. Dancing wildly, screaming, and stepping on my feet.
One threw the lyric sheet to the first album on stage and Colin said "Thanks, this will come in handy if I forget the words". The drunk yelled, "sign it!", but
Colin just layed it down so the guy threw a blank piece of paper up there. Colin reached over and kind of slapped the guy's hand (like a high 5). Colin then looked at me and
raised his eyebrows like he was asking a question. I just kind of sighed and rolled my eyes and Colin looked over at security and nodded and
they came and took the guy away! It was as if Colin cared about the fact that I was uncomfortable standing next to the guy.
(Which I was). Another one of the drunks held up the cover of Cargo and shouted "Jack Nicholson". Colin said, "pardon?" And again the guy shouted "Jack
Nicholson!" Colin said, "This guy is yelling 'Jack Nicholson' and I have no idea why. Oh, wait, I see, Jack Nicholson is responsible for the fall of mankind. I understand." He then
turned to the bassist and away from his mic said, "makes sense to me."
1979 - Colin Hay and Ron Strykert meet while performing in the musical
Heroes and decide to form a band. Later that year they are joined by John Rees and then Greg Ham and
1980 - Men At Work are the house band for the Cricketer's Arms and are noted by
by a CBS Records employee who gets them a contract.
1982 - Who Can It Be Now is first single release, it is from the album
Business as Usual.
- Tour the US as opening act for Fleetwood Mac.
- Who Can It Be Now goes to #1 on US Billboard charts.
- Business As Usual tops the US album charts for 15 weeks.
- Who Can It Be Now only goes to #45 in the UK.
1983 - Down Under goes to #1 in US for four weeks.
- Business As Usual tops the UK album charts for 6 weeks. At one point
it was #1 in both the US and the UK at the same time.
- In February Men At Work win Grammy for best new artist.
- Cargo is released going to #3 in US and #8 in UK on album charts.
- The single Overkill goes to #3 in US and #21 in UK.
- The single It's A Mistake goes to #6 in US (this is their fourth US top 10 hit) and #33 in UK.
- The single Dr. Heckyll and Mr. Jive goes to #28 in US and #31 in UK.
They will not chart again in the UK.
- On May 28th they appear at the "US festival" in California.
1984 - John Rees and Jerry Speiser leave the band.
1985 - Colin Hay releases solo projects some of which use the talents of
Greg Ham and Ron Strykert.
- Greg Ham and Ron Strykert leave the band.
- Colin Hay as Men At Work performs 3 concerts in China. His backing group of
musicians are James Black, Colin Bayley, Jeremy Alsop, and Chad Whackerman.
- Men At Work officially break up.
1987 - Hay releases more solo material.
1993 - More solo Hay released
1994 - In October Business As Usual is certified multi-platinum.
- In November Cargo is certified multi-platinum.
1996 - Hay acts in film Cosi, among others.
- Colin Hay and Greg Ham reunite and tour Brazil as Men At Work.
1998 - Hay sets up his own label Lazy Eye.
- Sony releases Contraband a best of collection
- Men At Work begin a month long tour of US.
1999 - Men At Work tour US and parts of the world. The band at this time are
Colin Hay, Greg Ham, Simon Hosford, Tony Floyd and Stephen Hadley