Darren Hayes was the frontman of duo pop supergroup Savage Garden in the late nineties. With a string of hits such as “Truly Madly Deeply”, “To the Moon and Back” and “I Want You” the world was at their feet. After a successful foray into New York, the band decided to take a hiatus, from which they never recovered. Hayes went on to forge a solo career.
After divorcing his wife of several years, he wrote the album Affirmation. He then found love with his current partner before releasing another series of albums. However, as he described in a recent interview with The AU Review, once again he felt the need to take a break from recording and he spent some ten years doing improv. The movie “Call Me By Your Name” inspired him to start recording again and last year released Homosexual as a celebration of life.
Thus we get to the “Do You Remember?” tour, here at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne. The atmosphere was electric as the crowd of mainly long-term fans waited for their idol. Bachelor Girl, a local Melbourne artist, did a great job of warming up the crowd. Her songs are likeable and pleasant, which was the perfect way to get the crowd in the mood.
After a short changeover, a shadow darting over billowing sheets to the sounds of “Homosapien” mixed with “Chained to You” heralded the arrival of Hayes. The curtains are drawn back and suddenly a smiling persona, resplendent in black tails is the master of the show. He wastes no time and launches straight into some Savage Garden hits, “Affirmation” and “The Animal Song” dancing with his backup singers. By this stage, the audience have stood up from their seats and and are dancing in the aisles.
Hayes is sultry, sexy and charming all at once, tempting the audience as he slowly peels off layers. Whilst the outfit is all black, the boots are tall leather, the belt is sequinned and the shirt is dark lace. He is the ringmaster and has the crowd in the palm of his hand.
For this tour he has assembled original Savage Garden members Lee Novak on bass and Karl Lewis on drums. His backup singers, Maddie Coghlan, Sharon Muscat and Virna Sanzone are the perfect complement to Hayes voice, which is strong and enduring. It’s partly cabaret, partly circus, but totally entertaining.
“All You Pretty Things” is the first song from Homosexual and is performed in a robotic style dance as an ode to the Pulse nightclub victims. After some more Savage Garden hits and “Poison Blood”, a packed suitcase on stage signals “I Knew I Loved You”. Hayes takes time out to tell the background story behind his unhappy childhood and the pain of separating from his wife. It’s an important part of the journey.
However the sadness doesn’t last too long and soon the dancing begins again as he introduced more songs from his new album. Several costume changes and set changes later, the time has come for the show to end, before one last encore, this time in a sparkling white suit. As the house lights come on and the crowd filter out, the mood was ecstatic. With such a large backlog of albums, there were songs that people would have loved to hear, but the range of songs played gave everyone a taste of what they wanted.
There was certainly love in the air that evening.
FIVE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
For more details of the tour check the website here