February 12, 2004
Performing Arts Center - Gwinnett, GA

Lori Jordan
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Brian Collins

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Pat Dinizio
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Following local acts Lori Jordan and Brian Collins, Smithereens front man Pat DiNizio casually sauntered out alone, accompanied only by his Strat. This was the opening night of what is appropriately called “The Intimate Evening Concert Series” and the four-hour event left everyone satisfied. DiNizio gave an engaging hour long performance, not only dipping into his band’s catalog for “Behind The Wall Of Sleep,” “Blood And Roses” and “Blues Before And After,” but also regaling the enraptured audience with personal anecdotes. He even made a valiant effort to demystify and deconstruct the songwriting process altogether with a demonstration on how to use one chord properly (“A Horse With No Name”), then up the chord chain with more and more hilarious covers. Perhaps the highlight of his set came when demonstrating the inherent sadness of the E minor key. DiNizio re-imagined Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” as a folk song and made an effective argument that a good song’s just a good song.

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Colin Hay
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  Men At Work main mouth Colin Hay was a completely different beast. Early in the show he offered, “If you’ve got any requests…please feel free to keep them to yourself.” He then laughed, acting as if it were a joke. It was clear, however, that he was serious about establishing himself outside of the Men At Work lexicon. It’s really too bad that the fickle pop market’s not willing to listen in. Songs like “Beautiful World” and “Waiting For My Real Life To Begin” are prime examples of how the songwriter’s work has steadily improved even if public recognition is nearly non-existent at this time. Before “It’s A Mistake,” one of a few Men songs performed, he tried to describe what it’s like dragging his past around, saying to the crowd, “Look, I loved the ‘80s, too, but they’ve got to end sometime.” It was poignant and nearly heartbreaking. And yes, he did wind up giving “Who Can It Be Now,” “Overkill” and (of course) the show ending “Down Under” to the appreciative crowd. After Hay finished, he came out into the audience and just hung out with his fans, mingling and spending some time. It’s that kind of connection that’s so uncommon these days. I hope that future installments of the “Intimate Evening Concert Series” are this enlightening and entertaining.

 (Chris McKay /

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