Concert report: Barry Gibb in Sydney (Feb. 8, 2013)
February at BGD started with a bout of terrible influenza and the kick-off of much, much awaited (and this, of course, is an understatement) of the Barry Gibb Mythology Tour. While we are behind in everything, the first report from the Sydney concert arrived from the administrator of Bee Gees Mailing List Japan. He says the concert was just brilliant!
At 20:58, the house lights went out and the clip of Technicolor Dreams was shown on the screen with images also of Andy, Maurice, and Robin. Then Barry walked onto the stage with son Stephen and his backup band. He was dressed in black, looking slimmer and very fit. You could feel how committed he was to the currrent tour. The audience welcomed him with a standing ovation. Barry opened with Jive Talkin’, followed by Lonely Days and You Should Be Dancing. He sounded great. He was sipping his drink between these first songs.
Then he introduced First of May. A beautifully emotional performance, even if he seemed to have a little trouble coping with the highest notes, it was really great. The audience sang along to the next To Love Somebody. I was moved to tears while everyone sang, "The Way I love you…." Then Maurice’s daughter Samantha was invited upstage. She did a beautiful solo version of The End of the World, and then sang How Can You Mend A Broken Heart with Barry. I grew misty eyed thinking of Maurice. Then a cool, jazzy Fever – Stayin’ Alive followed. Everyone sang along to How Deep Is Your Love. Every time Barry did his falsetto bits, there were delighted squeals from the audience.
Stephen’s version of On Time followed the original by Maurice pretty closely. Yet it sounded quite heavy metal with his distincitive voice. Barry was probably taking a little breather offstage while his son sang.
During Long And Winding Road which was dedicated to Paul McCartney, the screens showed pictures of a journey through an imaginary landscape. This particular song choice seemed to reflect Barry’s feelings about his remarkable journey. The thought brought tears to my eyes. For I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You, Stephen sang Robin’s part. It must have been a bit hard for Robin fans, but the song came to life with renewed vigor under the new arrangements.
Then there came Kilburn Towers. A song I’d never expected to hear live! What a wonderful surprise, and how emotional! I also noticed Barry was tearful after the song was over.
Play Down from their Australian days followed. And then everyone sang along to Spicks & Specks. It was getting really hot. With the Sun In My Eyes was another rare pleasure. It was such an emotional choice for me, too. I’m sure many of the fans there must have felt exactly like me.
In The Morning was light and breezy, closer to the simple original arrangement with an acoustic guitar. For Every Christian Lion Hearted Man, Stephen again sang Robin’s parts. By now I had grown to love that rough-edged voice, and it was a fresh treat to my ears.
I Started A Joke came as a total surprise. It started with Barry singing. When Robin’s voice took over, with his image appearing on the big screen, the applause was thundering. It was not like his image was there constantly, but it sort of came on and off, making us feel almost as though it was a real live shot of Robin singing somewhere in the venue. I am sure there was not a single dry eye in the audience. The moment the song was over, Barry sort of collapsed. It was almost like he made an uncontrollable bow towards the screen where Robin’s image was being shown. For a moment I was scared that Barry might not be able to go on.
Then Beth Cohen sang with Barry on Islands In the Stream and Guilty. She was really powerful. Then Words. A big red heart filled the screen with the phrase "I Love Linda." For once Barry seemed to enjoy singing as he joked back and forth with the audience.
Samantha came back again to do a solo version of If I Can’t Have You. Barry took some time off while she did that. Then songs from Saturday Night Fever followed with the audience singing along to Night Fever and More Than A Woman.
Stephen and Samantha harmonized on Ordinary Lives. I felt it was Barry’s statement that he was looking ahead and moving on. Then the last song came: Immortality. As images of Andy, Maurice, and Robin lit up the screen, Barry spoke about each one of them. Barry’s eyes were red from crying as he sang while the audience also in tears sang along, "We don’t say goodbye…."
The full-house audience stood up and cheered for encore. Barry came back onstage to the tune of Massachusetts playing in the background. He introduced others onstage, and with the mirror ball flashing, sang Stayin’ Alive with the backup band, singers, Stephen and Samantha. Barry’s declaration that he was "stayin’ alive" rang through the hall, and he sounded loud and great. Just wonderful.
So Barry gave us a full two-hour show. Of course, it would have been wonderful if he had been able to do it with Robin while he was still here. But there he was, Barry with his radiant smile. He was all things onstage: gentle, sentimental, wistful, and often misty-eyed when emotion took over him. But he was always positive and trying to give us his best. He spoke to the audience, made them laugh, and made them smile.
As a fan, I hope and wish that he will continue to go on the road and, if at all possible, come to Japan. Dear Barry, we have wonderful food and sake, and beautiful sights in Japan. Please come to Japan again if only for a little relaxation.
by beegeeokada, Administrator of BGML (Bee Gees Mailing List Japan)
Thanks for the wondeful report, beegeeokada. Let’s hope Barry will bring his shows to the world and to Japan.
But the show started at 9:00 p.m.? Sydney in summertime seems quite nocturnal, doesn’t it? When Robin toured Asia in summer 2005, most of his concerts also started really late. The concert in Tokyo was quite exceptional because it started at 7:00 p.m. But Robin was so used to going on stage after eight that he was planning to "have dinner" at seven. I told him, surprised, that the concert would start at around 7:30 and that he would not have time. He then checked his timetable and said, "No, it actually starts at 7!" He sounded quite reproachful, too. But I was not the one who got it so wrong! So it was quite funny, although Robin was sulking a bit.
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