Barry Gibb Mission Estate Concert Review – “The Two” Go On Tour

The Two went on tour this past weekend and despite inept road-signs, several u-turns, a missing map-book and an embarrassing absence of modern phone / internet technology, we made it to Napier and back to Auckland in one piece. In the process Pam Corkery and I also had the most welcoming, humbling, human and enthralling backstage experience imaginable, all thanks to the Gibb family.

Yes, the Gibb family. The Gibb family who once numbered four brothers but now, only one. 66 is an unusually advanced age to be launching your first ever solo tour. Indeed, has their ever been another tour quite like the Barry Gibb Mythology tour? One where a singer / songwriter who has always been defined as a member of a group, the Bee Gees, sets out on his own in a triumphant and yet still sad celebration of his deceased younger band-members / brothers?

It’s unlikely and while the notoriously “just play the hits” Mission Estate Concert crowd may have appreciated a little less With The Sun In My Eyes (a beautiful but largely unknown album track from 1967) and a fraction more Don’t Forget To Remember (or Emotion, Heartbreaker, You Win Again, Too Much Heaven etc etc etc), they were still clearly enthralled by what was a poignant pop masterclass.

The reality is, when you are recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the second most successful songwriter in music history, you’d have to be onstage for at least six hours before you’d exhausted your list of top 10 hits. As it stands, in a two-hour show before a crowd of close to 20,000, Barry and his crack 12-piece band still managed to rollick through mammoth hits like show opener Jive Talkin’, You Should Be Dancing, How Can You Mend A Broken Heart, Words, How Deep Is Your Love, Stayin’ Alive, To Love SomebodyNight Fever and more.

Against both the odds and logic, Barry’s voice, particularly his falsetto, sounds better than it did on the One Night Only tour of the late 90s. Reportedly the result of his quitting of smoking, his remarkable vocals plus the compliments of a soulful trio of backing singers (not to mention the lovely country-tinged vocals of niece Samantha Gibb and the Joe-Cocker-like stylings of son and lead guitarist Stephen) led to a full sound which somehow satisfyingly honoured the Bee Gees without feeling the need to directly duplicate those famous three-part harmonies.

During the concert, Pam and I sat onstage – stage-right to be exact – alongside Barry’s daughter Ali (who was working the teleprompter), Barry’s delightful and hilarious wife of 42 years Linda, Maurice’s dear and fragile widow Yvonne (who’d in no time become Pam’s best-friend) and Barry’s manager / right-hand man Dick Ashby.

Before the show we’d been treated like honoured guests. Evidently Barry had told a few people about me and across our five interviews spanning eight years, it blows my mind to know he cites our chat at a London hotel in 2009 as the best of his entire career. As much as I’m tempted, I can’t even think about getting big-headed about that because the man I was interviewing, Barry Gibb, remains the most humble superstar I’ve ever met. Barry posed for photos and hugged me, signing my Spirits Having Flown record with “To Tim, Thanks for caring, Love Barry Gibb.”

Pam and I were the only two people backstage other than the 40+ tour / crew members and with Dick Ashby as a personal guide, we were treated to dinner, drinks and photos with the Gibb clan. But more than that, there were hugs, tears and laughter. Linda told me I was better looking in real life (stop it!) and Yvonne and Pam established a kind of sisterhood I knew only to observe than try to break in to. And all of this because I dared to support a band of brothers whose music had always meant the world to me.

Below is the set-list from Saturday night, followed by what I think would be the best Barry Gibb set-list. This takes into account the songs he feels uncomfortable singing since the deaths of Robin and Maurice, such as New York Mining Disaster, Run To Me, Nights On Broadway, For Whom The Bell Tolls, Massachusetts etc. Originally I kept it to the exact same number of songs from the Mythology tour, but ultimately I couldn’t help myself and I’ve now added one more.

What is both obvious and exciting for me is that while the bulk of the set-list could stay the same, the lesser known songs which are dotted through the show could go on rotate to keep things fresh. If it’s Kilburn Towers getting exposure this time, how about Marley Purt Drive next time? Or Come Home Johnny Bride, or Tomorrow, Tomorrow, or Nothing Could  Be Good etc.

MYTHOLOGY TOUR SET-LIST:

Technicolour Dreams (studio version featuring Gibb video footage prior to Barry’s arrival)
Jive Talkin’
Lonely Days
You Should Be Dancing
First Of May
To Love Somebody
How Can You Mend A Broken Heart (duet with Samantha Gibb)
Fever / Stayin’ Alive (slow version)
How Deep Is Your Love
On Time (Stephen Gibb – song repeated to rapturous applause after his guitar cut out first time)
The Long And Winding Road
I’ve Gotta’ Get A Message To You (duet with Stephen Gibb)
Kilburn Towers
Playdown
Spicks And Specks
With The Sun In My Eyes
Morning Of My Life
Every Christian Lionhearted Man Will Show You (duet with Stephen Gibb)
I Started A Joke (duet with the late Robin Gibb using video footage from Sydney, March 27 1999)
Islands In The Stream (duet with backing singer Beth Cohen)
Guilty (duet with backing singer Beth Cohen)
Words
If I Can’t Have You (Samantha Gibb)
Night Fever
More Than A Woman
Ordinary Lives
Immortality
Stayin’ Alive
Massachusetts (band only)

TIM ROXBOROGH’S BARRY GIBB SET-LIST:

Ordinary Lives (studio version featuring Gibb video footage prior to Barry’s arrival)
Jive Talkin’
Lonely Days
You Should Be Dancing
First Of May
To Love Somebody
How Can You Mend A Broken Heart (duet with Samantha)
Too Much Heaven
How Deep Is Your Love
On Time (Stephen)
Heartbreaker
I’ve Gotta’ Get A Message To You (duet with Stephen)
Chain Reaction (Samantha solo?)
Emotion (duet with Samantha?)
Spicks And Specks
Don’t Forget To Remember
Morning Of My Life
Marley Purt Drive (duet with Stephen?)
I Started A Joke (duet with Robin on video screen)
Islands In The Stream (duet with Beth Cohen or Samantha)
Guilty (duet with Beth Cohen or Samantha)
Words
If I Can’t Have You (Samantha)
Night Fever
More Than A Woman
Grease
Immortality
You Win Again (tough to sing but they can find a way)
Stayin’ Alive
Spirits Having Flown (instrumental, just the band)

With the Australian concerts plus the Mission Estate concert here in New Zealand having been attended by more than 80,000 people and being such a success, Barry is reportedly interested in carrying on touring in the States and possibly beyond. With arguably the best band behind him since the heady days of the Spirits Having Flown tour of 1979 and the endless possibilities of songs now Samantha and Stephen are now alongside him, it must be so healing for a man who has been through so much to know good days are ahead. I cannot wait.

With Maurice’s widow Yvonne Gibb.

You can listen to “The Two” (Pam Corkery and Tim Roxborogh) every Friday and Sunday on Newstalk ZB from 8pm-midnight (Friday) and 8pm-11pm (Sunday). It is the top-rated show on the number one rated radio station in New Zealand.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Anonymous says:

    I was front row at the Brisbane concert last Saturday night and have to agree that the emotion on the face of barry gibb spoke a thousand words. What a loyal "ordinary person" he appears to be and I can only imagine the thrill of meeting in person. Can you tell me is his backing band the same one that backed Robin in his Nz concert a few years ago I am sure the singers were. keep keeping us informed of the progress of this great entertainer and his family.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Awesome review – was definetely a great night – just wish I could have met him! 🙂

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hello Tim!

    Nice pictures – you all look beautiful. Waiting for Mythology tour to come to Europe.

    Snezi

  4. Anonymous says:

    Can not wait for them to come to the states!!!

  5. seidlebo says:

    I saw the Bee Gees in the mid 70's just as Main Course was released and I will never forget it. Assuming Barry tours in the States, I am hoping he will swing north into Canada too.

  6. Juanita says:

    Awesome to read the review ,been waiting for it on facebook, only wish I was there as well , good on you Guys

  7. Can you give us a link to that 'wonderful' interview Barry said you did 'back when'?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Sir Barry GIBB is the Greatest Man in the World! I go to see him in London for the Mythology Tour ! It will be the Greatest moment of my Life !

    Valérie

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