"Stayin' Alive"- Barry Gibb in Concert
By Steven Lieberman
Culver City Observer
Barry Gibb is still “Stayin’ Alive” as he appeared last week with his 11-piece band at the Hollywood Bowl, the last stop on his solo six-concert “Mythology” tour.”
Gibb was carrying the torch for his two late brothers, twins Robin and Maurice…and his little brother, Andy, who had a solo career.
Maurice died in 2003 of cardiac arrest, Robin two years ago after a long battle with cancer, and Andy was just 30 years old when he died in 1988 suffering from inflammation of the heart muscle after battling years of substance abuse.
This didn’t stop Gibb from moving forward with other family members. His first-born son, Stephen, was on lead guitar and vocals and his niece (Maurice’s daughter), Samantha, joined him for several duets and a solo.
Gibb also brought up to center-stage back-up singer (there were three) Beth Cohen to duet with him on the Dolly Parton-Kenny Rogers hit “Islands in the Stream” and his Barbra Streisand collaboration “Guilty”, and then gave her a solo, in which she sang “Woman in Love.”
If you closed your eyes, you would have thought Cohen was Parton and Streisand.
Gibb mentioned that one second Robin could be in a fantastic mood and not the next, so Maurice had to be the mediator between them. He also mentioned that the youngest, Andy, was most like himself, but was too young to tour with the Bee Gees.
In a touching, special moment during the performance, Gibb sang Robin’s signature piece, “I Started a Joke” with a video image of Robin finishing the song on the screen at the rear of the stage.
This was an emotional moment for Gibb, among many others, as his eyes became teary when speaking about and honoring his brothers. Many times throughout the performance, he would outstretch his arms to the overwhelming support of the fans.
Gibb treated the audience to rare photographs and intriguing stories about his brothers.
“The microphone was the one time the three of us communicated,” Gibb said. “Apart from that, we argued all the time.”
But that didn’t stop them from selling more than 120 million records and recording 27 albums in the band’s five decades together.
Gibb said that he and his brothers agreed that their favorite song was “Immortality.” The song was written for Celine Dion for her “Let’s Talk About Love” studio album in 1998, and features the Bee Gees singing in the background.
In another special moment, Gibb spoke about Bruce Springsteen as being the “greatest artist” he knows and how thrilled he was when “The Boss” performed “Stayin’ Alive” on his tour through Syndey. So Gibb returned the favor with his own cover of the Springsteen-penned “I’m on Fire”…a moving rendition.
He then surprised the audience as he sang the theme song from the hit motion picture “Grease,” which he wrote and was sung in the film by Frankie Valli. I’m sure Olivia Newton-John was thrilled as she sang along with all the other fans in the audience.
Closing with “Tragedy” as the final encore song, Gibb reminded us that it’s tragic that his brothers are now gone, but he is still alive and will carry the spirit of the Bee Gees into the future.