“Three, two, one…” the crowd shout to accompany the countdown clock on the screen at the back of the stage. What they are unaware of though is that they are not counting down to the beginning of anything. Instead they anticipate a return to somewhere they once knew. As the clock moves one final stroke they arrive, with a breath and two words; “Jive Talking”. Barry Gibb is in full voice, and instantaneously wins the crowd over.
The Mythology Tour is a tribute to Gibb’s deceased brothers; particularly Robin and Maurice, known to most as the other members of The Bee Gees. Considering the nature of the tour, it is not surprising that a short montage of personal footage of the brothers opens the gig. Early on after a short dedication to Robert Stigwood, First of May captures the bitter sweet tone of the whole event. Yes, it is great to be there but the enormity of Barry’s and the fans love for the other two members is ever present.
The sense of family resonates throughout, not only because of the continuous references to his brothers but also due to the participation of his own son on guitar and Maurice’s daughter Samantha, who first joined him on stage for How can you Mend A Broken Heart. The singer’s voice works beautifully with Barry’s, considering her soulful timbre and his distinctive airy, light vocals. His son Stephen is a great addition too, and not only wows the crowd throughout with his dark vocals but also with his savage guitar playing.
Gibb is clearly a perfectionist and this is reinforced when after mass crowd participation during To Love Somebody, he insists on returning to the final line of the song to finish it after it is stolen from him by the adoring fans. It’s an act he repeats for Words only this time his stubbornness is more obvious as he takes several attempts to override the crowds determination to sing along.
Gibb’s abilities as a song writer can hardly be rivalled. His mastery of the pop song sees that every tune played is known to all, even those that had not been hits for The Bee Gees; when Beth Cohen rises from the backing vocals to perform Islands in the Stream and later, Woman in Love, Gibb’s legacy is reinforced. The real excitement occurres when the disco ball is dropped and classic hits like Staying Alive and Night Fever see a reluctant audience leave their inhibitions on their seats as they rise to their feet to dance. After the final tribute to his brothers it is fitting that Gibb perform Immortality.
This truly is an event where the crowd are afraid to blink in case they’d miss something. Gibb proves that he is not only a great songwriter but a great showman as well. At the close of the show the clock reappears, bringing an end to the sense of journey that Gibb and the crowd has undergone. His tribute tour to his brothers is touching, but it also gives dedicated fans a reason to return to some of the best pop music ever written.