When you think of a 71-year-old, you definitely don’t see them travelling the world rocking out on stage to adoring fans or self-producing a new album that blends the sound of yesteryear with the modern flavour from the radio. But that is exactly what Leo Sayer is doing. Earlier this year Sayer toured Victoria extensively as part of the celebration tour for his 1974 album ‘Just A Boy’ before covering the UK and Europe. Now he’s back down under to finish what he started.
“It’s continuing the tour that I started earlier this year, but of course, when we did that and playing gigs in Victoria it was called ‘Just A Boy At 70’ so I can’t do that any longer because I became 71 in May so now it’s just ‘Just A Boy 2019’,” Sayer laughs. “It was a pretty quintessential album back in 1974 for me, pretty iconic. It really was the first album where I had worldwide success in 1974 so it’s looking back at that time in some ways but also celebrating that I’m still as energetic and young-feeling as ever so that’s the idea behind it. I’m never going to grow up [laughs]!”
Sayer carries the same energy from his 20’s with him to his live shows where it’s clear the disco era still thunders in his heart and soul, as well as the soles of his feet.
“I don’t know where I get this energy from but as soon as I get into touring the adrenaline kicks over and I’m all over the stage and still performing just the same as I used to, but that’s kind of crazy at this age but it’s keeping me young. It begets a good feeling!”
Sayer won’t just be presenting ‘Just A Boy’ on the tour. It will be a celebration of his four-decade-long career from start to present, including his latest release, ‘Selfie’ which draws inspiration from his extensive catalogue adding modern undertones that don’t compromise on his signature sound.
“You know ‘Selfie’ has to live with ‘Endless Flight’ and ‘Thunder in my Heart’ and ‘Just A Boy’ and ‘Silver Bird’ and ‘World Radio’ and ‘Here’ and all of those. It’s got to be in a way comparable so you will be a perfectionist because you don’t want to make a duff record. It does take time to make records, just in the way it would take time for Hemingway to make a novel,” he says.
“It stands up pretty well alongside the other albums and yet contemporises, in a nice way, the Leo Sayer sound…I think that potpourri of sounds is something that is very contemporary in its way as well, which is where it’s at in songs like ‘Build You A Rainbow’ and ‘Occupy’, there’s a lot of those quotations of old sounds in something that is very new.”
While the ‘Just A Boy’ tour focuses in the sounds of Sayers’s career, the veteran continues to delve into musical projects with no sign of retirement in the near future. As for what the future holds, the legend says, “God knows! But I do feel energised. There’s just too much to do. I’m a person who is living in the now. I don’t live in the past and I never have done. I have this theory- concentrate on 20 minutes in the past and 20 minutes to come and whatever is inside of the sphere because you can’t do anything about the past and you can’t plan the future so let’s get on with the present.”
The music veteran will bring the Just A Boy 2019 tour to Geelong’s Costa Hall Saturday 30 November.
Tickets at geelongartcentre.org.au
Written by Tammy Walters
Photo by Ed Fielding