I’ll be honest… while I was certainly looking forward to this concert, I was not entirely sure what to expect from Barry Gibb. I have long been a big fan of The Bee Gees and Barry’s solo work as well. Vocally, there is no one who can compare. The brothers were known for their unique and identifiable voices. And, of course, their extensive repertoire of hits is one of the most famous and most popular collections of songs in musical history so I guess I knew that the show would be good. And, of course, for obvious reasons, I knew it would be emotional… However, none of those expectations prepared me for what I experienced on Friday night at the Sydney Entertainment Centre. From the moment Barry made his entrance, the crowd was on its feet, applauding; a standing ovation just for being there. The singer appeared genuinely overwhelmed by the warm reception. It takes a lot to live up to something like that but I have to say, this is one artist who accomplished it from start to finish. I’ve been to a lot of concerts and I’ve seen some very enthusiastic crowds lose interest as the night goes on and the atmosphere fades but not this time. No. That same level of enthusiasm was sustained throughout the night.
Local Sydney act, Audio Vixen opened the show. The trio of siblings was hand-picked by Gibb, after he listened to a demo tape they had sent their idol. The song that grabbed the singer’s attention was a version of a Bee Gees’ song that Barry himself had written ‘Morning of My Life’, which the band has just released as a single. Audio Vixen’s beautifully blended harmonies made them an ideal choice for support act on the Mythology Tour and their rendition of Barry’s song definitely showcased those harmonies to perfection.
Gibb opened his set with the 70s Bee Gees hit, ‘Jive Talking’ and proved from the outset that his amazing falsetto voice is still as good as it ever was. The set included many Bee Gees classics from the early years, like their first big hit, ‘Spicks and Specks’, and their famous foray into the disco craze with those much-loved songs from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack which saw the trio zoom to the top of the charts once again in the 70s… There were numerous familiar songs, of course, throughout the show but there were also the not so familiar ones; some rarities that most Bee Gees fans thought would never find their way into a live show, most notably ‘Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You’, which opened with a Gregorian Chant from Stephen Gibb. And the hits… well… you could easily lose count. I have included a set list with this review so you can see for yourself. There were just too many great songs to mention here. The visuals, including many old film clips, family movies and other footage played continuously on the screen behind the singer all through the show, adding to the atmosphere of the night.
For ‘How Can You Mend a Broken Heart’, the singer introduced his niece, Sami (Maurice’s daughter). Sami shared vocals on this song and showed us that the gift of music most definitely continues to flow through those Gibb veins in the next generation. As did Barry’s son, Stephen who played guitar alongside his father and lent his vocals to a song that his uncle Robin used to sing, ‘Got To Get a Message to You’. The tattooed guitarist plays in a heavy metal band and this genre was probably not his usual cup of tea but it was clearly an honour for him to be there and his father was obviously proud to have his son by his side, especially as he paid tribute to his brothers.
There were so many special moments throughout the night but one in particular stood out, I think, for everyone. When Barry began to sing the first line to ‘I Started a Joke’, you could feel the emotion in the room. This was his brother Robin’s song; perhaps the one for which he is most famous. And, as Barry finished the first verse, Robin’s larger than life-size image appeared on the screen behind him and the stage was his for the remainder of the song. The crowd rose to their feet in reverence and I defy anyone there that night to tell me that they did not shed a tear during the performance. It was truly as if the late Bee Gee was present in the room and I believe we all felt it.
Changing the pace a bit, Gibb then brought one of his backing singers, Beth Cohen, to centre stage to join him in a medley of duets featuring ‘Islands in the Sun’ and ‘Guilty’, the latter which he had recorded with Barbara Streisand.
The emotions were stirred yet again during a rendition of ‘Immortality’. Written by Barry, this track was recorded by Celine Dion. As Barry paid a touching tribute to the three brothers he has lost, the deep emotion he felt was clearly evident on his face and we were all caught up in the moment as we watched old black and white footage of Maurice, Robin and Andy in family movies and generally mucking around, having fun.
Barry Gibb has said that he still considers himself an Australian and he still thinks of this country as home and his many references to childhood memories in both Sydney and Brisbane would substantiate that claim. He seemed genuinely happy to be back where it all started for him and his brothers and humbly honoured by the respect and adulation shown him by his hometown crowd. As for me, I left the Entertainment Centre feeling privileged that I had the opportunity to be a part of something so special and I think that pretty much everyone else there felt the same. The Barry Gibb Mythology Tour has just started so you still have a chance to see for yourself. Take my advice – don’t miss out! You won’t regret it.
by Sharyn Hamey
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The Australian leg of the Barry Gibb Mythology Tour winds up with a second and final Sydney show at the Sydney Entertainment Centre on Wednesday, 27th February. Tickets for the show are still available but be quick. His first Sydney show sold out. For full details of the Barry Gibb Mythology Tour dates and venues and information on buying tickets, please go to our Touring Page.
You Should Be Dancing
First of May
To Love Somebody
How Can You Mend a Broken Heart (with Sami Gibb)
How Deep Is Your Love
The Long and Winding Road
I've Gotta Get a Message to You (with Stephen Gibb)
Spicks and Specks
With the Sun in My Eyes
Morning of My Life
Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You
I Started a Joke (with Robin Gibb)
Islands in the Stream (with Beth Cohen)
Guilty (with Beth Cohen)
If I Can't Have You (with Sami Gibb)
Night Fever/More Than a Woman (with Sami Gibb)