If you were one of the lucky ones to witness Darren Hayes live gig at Shepherds Bush Empire in West London last night, you'll surely agree that this stop on "The Secret Tour" most certainly was a night to remember as fans from as far and wide as America, Canada and contiental Europe descended upon the venue to witness this one stop on the UK Tour.
In a way, I really felt like this concert was a re-introduction of Darren Hayes back into the music mainstream as the set-list was sprinkled with many familiar Savage Garden hits like "To The Moon And Back", "Affirmation" and "I Don't Know You Anymore" which sounded as fresh and lush played live today as when they were first worldwide smashes.
One of the funnier anecdotes of the evening was Darren's diva-ish declaration of "I shant play my hits, but then I said fuck it…" when he burst out with "The Animal Song" – a Savage Garden track he hasn't played in over a decade because he thought "the lyrics were are bit silly". However, this song got a roaring reception from the packed out house as we were instantly transported back in time to Savage Garden's hayday.
The task at hand though was ultimately to give the audience a taster of the brilliant new album "Secret Codes and Battleships" in which we got to hear many of the new tracks such as "Don't Give Up", "Black Out The Sun" and big hit "Talk Talk Talk" which had the entire venue joyously singing along. The show's opening and closing numbers also mirror the new album in which "Taken By The Sea" opened the show and an emotional "The Siren's Call" closed out the encore.
My personal favorite moments of the evening were pretty clear cut. "Bloodstained Heart" sounded jaw-droppingly stunning when played out live. I like to call this song Darren Hayes' "Coldplay" moment in which you definitely felt uplifted off your feet during the song's throbing crescendo. You also couldn't help but notice the bouncers even singing along to the pop epic that is "Truly, Madly, Deeply" in which Darren described the song as being the one that truly changed his life and now that now belongs to US – the fans.
Darren wasn't afraid to push the envelope a bit either too in which I can only describe as his "Gaga/Madonna" moment of the show set to "Popular" against a mashed-up "When Will I Be Famous" by Bros complete with disco stick and blue laser effect sunglasses. Darren even got a bit cabaret-esqe on the We Are Smug track "Hot Tub Blues" – if you aren't a hardcore fan of Darren Hayes, you may wonder where this track came from as it truly was a surprise on the evening.
All-in-all, the London stopover of "The Secret Tour" couldn't have been anymore amazing. We had a chance to catch up with Darren and the band before the show in which we'll be sharing some interesting stories from their perspective a little later on. Although "Secret Codes And Battleships" is a break-up record in the end, the live tour certainly is not – it's a celebration of amazing epic pop from an amazing performer.
If you're going to be attending any of the "Secret Tour" leg in Australia, you're in for quite a treat. Darren Hayes is no longer regarded as an obscure electronic artist any more, he's back and stronger than ever and I get the feeling that "The Secret Tour" is just a small taster for what's to come from one of music's most influential male pop artists.