Barry Gibb at the LG Arena, Birmingham

Posted: September 22, 2013 in Live review

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Barry Gibb wiped a tear from his eye as he stood centre stage at the LG Arena, completely overcome by the long, thunderous ovation which refused to die down. He was back on stage for the first time without his brothers and the Birmingham crowd made it perfectly clear that they were delighted to see him.

A decade after the death of brother Maurice and little over a year after the passing of brother Robin, Gibb was on the road with his Mythology tour – a celebration of some of the greatest songs ever written – and boy were the fans ready to party.

A film of the Bee Gees at their wacky best ran into Technicolour Dreams from the trio’s last album, 2001’s This Is Where I Came In, before the main man walked onstage and launched into the 1975 classic Jive Talkin’ and the roof came off… The touch-paper was lit and there was no going back… Everyone knew this was going to be one hell of a special night…

Back we went to 1970 for the Bee Gees’ first Top Three US hit Lonely Days before the unmistakable pounding beat of You Should Be Dancing took us back to 1976 and the camp heaven of Saturday Night Fever… Three songs in and the place was bouncing…

First of May, introduced as manager Robert Stigwood’s favourite, came next before Maurice’s daughter Sam Gibb joined her Uncle Barry onstage for 1971’s How Can You Mend A Broken Heart. With such an amazing body of work, you are only ever one song away from a classic and back we went to 1977 with the beautiful How Deep Is Your Love.

The Mythology tour is very much a family affair and it was time for son Stephen to take centre stage with 1970’s On Time before joining dad Barry on 1968 chart topper I’ve Gotta Get A Message to You.

All was going superbly well until Gibb sat on a stool to perform Morning of My Life (In The Morning) and his mic started to slowly droop down… Cue joke about his age and a quick repair by a roadie and we were off again and into the 60’s classic New York Mining Disaster 1941 followed by 1972’s Run To Me, the last chart success before a three year period when The Bee Gees couldn’t buy a hit.

With a back catalogue including so many classics, it was good to hear a few of the less well-known and early songs like With The Sun in My Eyes and Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show before the breakthrough hit Spicks and Specks from 1966 which finally established the brothers Gibb in their adopted home of Australia after three years of trying.

In an evening like this there was bound to be sentimentality with constant references to Mo, Robin and younger brother Andy who died in 1988. But one of the highlights of the superb night came on Robin’s 1968 hit I Started a Joke which began with Barry singing the first verse before the giant video screens revealed Robin who finished the classic song to deafening applause. A touching tribute…

Back onstage came Sam Gibb for her version of the Diana Ross No.1 Chain Reaction and to open up the huge treasure chest of world-wide smash hit songs penned by the Gibb brothers. Kenny and Dolly’s karaoke-classic Islands in the Stream was followed by Guilty which relaunched the career of diva Barbara Streisand and Barry was joined onstage by backing singer Beth Cohen who not only had a stunning voice but looked very much like a young Streisand as she sang lead on Woman in Love.

So many hits, so many memories and still the disco stompers to come as it was back to 1978 and Too Much Heaven from a time when The Bee Gees were arguably the biggest band in the universe. Stephen Gibb returned for Fight  before the already brilliant show went into an even higher stratosphere.

The unmistakable opening bars of Stayin’ Alive transported everyone back to an era of tight trousers and medallions when disco was king and Saturday Night Fever packed dancefloors all over the world. The LG Arena was rocking with thousands of people eager to show they could still bust some moves. And boy did they go for it… If I Can’t Have You kept the party going before Night Fever cranked the pace up even higher and More Than A Woman took us to an even higher level.

The magnificent night ended with 1998’s Immortality, the last big hit written by all three brothers for Celine Dion and definitely one of their best.

The standing ovation made it clear that the thousands packed into the LG Arena were not ready to go home so back came Gibb and his band to thunderous applause which once again took him by surprise and brought a tear to his eye. The Brummies appreciate great music and a good time and are more than happy to show their appreciation to those who put on a great performance.

Ordinary Lives from 1989 was followed by 1968 classic Words dedicated to wife Linda and then Gibb was gone, leaving delirious fans singing and dancing their way into the Birmingham night.

For so many years The Bee Gees were mocked for their white teeth, tight trousers and uncool image but the Gibb hit factory just kept on turning out classic tune and after No.1 worldwide chart-topper. With so many hits to choose from this night was a guaranteed winner but even so huge credit must go to Barry Gibb and his band for putting together such a stunning performance…He did his brothers proud and ensured their musical legacy lives on.

I do hope this is not the last time he plays live but just in case, make sure you see one of the remaining shows on the Mythology tour. You will have the time of your life…

Star rating *****

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Comments
  1. Nilton Mar says:

    Sir Barry, please, go to Brazil. We waiting for this live moment since 1991.
    Chain Reaction live by Sam Gibb, is a great Idea.

  2. AnneMarie says:

    Fantastic review, like you there are many who hope this is not the last time Barry, Stephen, Samantha and the Mythology crew peform on our shores

  3. Jacqui Gregory... says:

    Every word true…the atmosphere was electric every fan should experience that feeling…it was a magic night…..

  4. Frank Laird says:

    What a great review. This has certainly whetted my appetite for Sunday’s concert in Manchester.

    • You will have the time of your life… Hit after hit after hit… It is like a musical history lesson of songs that have touched us all for more than 40 years… Thank you so much Frank.

  5. L Shreffler says:

    It is nice to see such a positive review for a man who has continueosly produced such great music for so many years.It is so ridiculous the way the Bee Gees do not get the respect they so richly deserve. Barry Gibb is the second most successful song writer of all time. I hope he brings Mythollogy to the USA so I can go see hem. It is definitely on my bucket list. I have seen the Bee Gees in concert twice and they never disappoint.

    • Totally agree… Their image always detracted from the music…The variety of artists they wrote for and the different styles of music yet so many No. 1s.Amazing body of work… Thanks for your excellent comments

  6. N says:

    I’m still sailing on a huge high from Sat night, it was always going to be magical, but it was so much more! And Stephen Gibb, wow…now he knows how to rock!.. Album please!,

  7. Sonia Pabli says:

    Je ne sais pas si il y avait beaucoup de français au concert de Birmingham, deux françaises c’est sur et très heureuse d’y être car cela valait vraiment le déplacement depuis Paris. Merci Barry.

  8. Steve lennie says:

    A fantastic night Barry was on stage for 2 and a half hours a true legend great backing band and singers Sam and Steve gibb superb and the support marina pallot just made for the best concert I have seen in years please make time to see the mythology tour you will not be dissapointed

  9. sueavery says:

    What a Wonderful Review for a Brilliant Singer Songwriter – THE Best in my mind ! I shall keep this as a “souvenir” as you got it all so right ! I hope Barry sees this to know how much he is respected after all these years ! Thank You ! Fantastic Night ! So glad I went !

  10. Mark pountain says:

    Had a absolutely fabulous evening was contemplating going to Manchester this Sunday ! Such a fantastic catalogue of songs performed by a true legend of the music business , wish I’d have had the chance to see him perform with his brothers , a emotional night but what a night !

  11. debbi says:

    What a wonderful review. Way to go Barry and crew!

  12. Sylvia Cosentino says:

    I saw Barry last year at Seminole Hard Rock, the “seed” for Mithology Tour and the reaction of the audience was the same you superbly described. I hope that he brings his MT to Brazil, where thousands of fans are eargely waiting for his presence since the 70’s. Thank you Ian for your brilliant review.

    • This tour is so good Barry needs to take it round the world as the public want to see him… I do hope he does come to South America so you can see him again. Thank you so much for your wonderful comments

  13. Mary Thill says:

    We need to see him tour the USA!!!!!!!!!

  14. P Johal says:

    I wasn’t sure if it was going to be as good as when I first went to see them over 23 years ago at the NEC but the show was magical and emotional and his voice is still fantastic!!! His son and niece are very talented, it was wonderful to see them perform, I’m so grateful that I went!

    • I do agree that Barry’s voice was still superb which certainly helped to make it special as those songs cannot be easy on the throat. The whole show was so well balanced with the choice of songs. Thank you so much for your comments

  15. Cynthia Arnold says:

    Absolutely fantastic concert!! Barry was amazing. Bringing in Robin on screen singing “I started a Joke” was a master stroke and had us up on our feet clapping. So emotional.
    Beth Cohen has an amazing voice and I sure hope to see more of her.
    All in all an evening to remember for a very long time.

    • It was such a well-planned concert, not too sentimental. I thought they got the balance perfect and the link to Robin Gibb was, as you say, a materstroke. Thank you so much for your comments Cynthia

  16. Saw Barry in Dublin at the 02, Sept 25th 2013. Simply outstanding, a selfless brilliant show. Barry left his ego at the door and the delivered the best show I’d ever seen. Saw the BeeGees in Toronto at Massey Hall in the 70’s. Thank you Barry for the memories

  17. Kalyn says:

    Hope he brings the show to the US so I can see it again. Flew from DC to Manchester for the Sept. 29 show, and it was all as expressed above and then some. Great show — musically and emotionally, and such a great, enthusiastic crowd – made the entire experience so incredible and special. Another exceptional memory to add to the many the BeeGees have given me throughout the many years.

  18. John Walne says:

    I fell in love with the BeeGees when I first heard “New York Mining Disaster 1941” way back in the 1960’s & loved them ever since. Please come back soon Barry with another tour & while we wait, please issue a DVD of the Mythology Tour and a new single & album!

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