Recap: Barry Gibb
On the night of Thursday, May 15th, the sole surviving member of the Bee Gees, Barry Gibb, kicked off the US leg of his Mythology Tour at the TD Garden in Boston.
I have to admit, I was a little hesitant at first. Not about going to this concert, that is; moreover I was hesitant because in an interview with Matt Lauer on television, Barry Gibb had stated he wouldn’t be playing any songs that his late brother Robin had lead vocals on. I believe I mentioned this in my last post when I recapped the B.B. King concert I saw last month, but I will say it again: one of Robin’s songs was titled “Massachusetts,” and I kept thinking, Barry Gibb can’t come to Boston and not play “Massachusetts,” can he??? Well, I’ll get to that in a moment. There also seemed to have been a mix-up with the tour merchandise, because the stands were looking kind of bare except for items that the opening band were selling. It turned out that most of the merchandise—T-shirts and what have you—didn’t make it out of California in time to arrive here, which is kind of a shame, but mix-ups like this happen sometimes I guess. However, I did wait long enough for the concert program to show up, so at least that happened. Being a concert program collector I may not have been happy about there not being one. But the programs showed up right before the concert started, which was fine with me, although I missed the opening band’s first song-and-a-half trying to get to my seat.
My seat was on the floor, fifteen rows back from the stage, on the center aisle; therefore I had a fairly spectacular view of everything. I don’t believe I’d even seen a concert on the floor of the Garden before, so this was going to be quite the experience either way. I didn’t know this until the day before the concert, but Barry had an opening act with him: an indie folk rock group from Phoenix, Arizona called Jared & the Mill. I’d never heard of them before but I like the way they sound. I’ve seen them compared on the internet to groups like The Lumineers and Mumford & Sons. Their music is pretty catchy and up-beat, though some of their songs do start slower before picking up tempo in the middle. Their set list is as follows; all these songs are from their debut album, Western Expansion (and this is the complete set list, as I had tried to listen to the lyrics and write them down as I was trying to find my seat, and praise the powers that be for Amazon’s 30-second music previews as I don’t believe their lyrics are anywhere online):
- Returning Half
- In Our Youth
- Love to Be Found
- Know Your Face
- Western Expansion
- Ides of Fall
- Breathe Me In
Their set lasted half an hour and they were well-received by the audience, which was actually fairly substantial for this concert, and decidedly comprised of people much, much older than myself. I would say that this concert was mostly sold out, in terms of which tickets were sold. I don’t believe the Garden sold any of the balcony or box seats, since the boxes were dark and the balcony was completely empty. However, the rest of the stadium looked pretty full. The intermission between the opening act and the main act was also half an hour, and then Barry Gibb himself took the stage.
Just previous to his doing so, the stadium went dark and some short film clips of the Bee Gees were shown, inclusive of the music video for “Technicolor Dreams”, a song from the Bee Gees’ last album (and one of my personal favorites), This Is Where I Came In. When Barry stepped out onto the stage, the audience went instantly into an uproar, and after the first few songs, I think the audience cheered for him for at least a minute or two, thoroughly astounding him in the process. We actually did that a few times throughout the night, and I don’t think he could get over how receptive we were of him and excited we were to see him.
Barry proceeded to whisk us away with nearly three hours of classic Bee Gees songs, and he even performed a few that I did not expect. This man definitely knows how to command an audience, even after as long as he’s been in show-business. He jumped all over the spectrum of Bee Gees discography, pulling from every era of it, spanning a lapse of nearly five decades, and some of these songs came completely from left field (but in a good way!). With his band he also included two of his relatives: his eldest son Stephen and his late brother Maurice’s daughter Samantha, both of whom sang a couple of songs each during the concert. Throughout the night he sang tributes to his brothers: Andy, Maurice and Robin; for Andy he sang “Our Love (Don’t Throw It All Away)”, for Maurice he sang “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” with Samantha, and for Robin he sang…wait for it…”I Started a Joke.” Yes, he went back on his word to Matt Lauer and sang some of Robin’s songs (albeit, when he performed “I’ve Gotta Get a Message To You,” his son Stephen sang most of the vocals for that one). This took me completely by surprise. And not only did Barry sing the first two verses of the song, but he went so far as to resurrect Robin on the giant video screen at the back of the stage and synchronized Robin’s voice into the song, in sort of the same way that Cher had done for Sonny when they sang “I Got You Babe” last month. Hearing Robin’s voice in this context made me so happy that I actually cried tears of joy. Barry Gibb, you are the first person who has ever made that happen; I commend you for that.
Now, you’re probably wondering about my earlier statement with regard to “Massachusetts.” At the end of the concert, once the encores were over, the stadium did not turn the lights back on quite so fast. One final film clip was shown, this time I believe from the “All For One” tour film, of all three brothers singing, you guessed it, “Massachusetts.” Much of the screen time was given to Robin, since the vocals in this song are his, but there were some nice shots of the group as a whole as well. It made me especially happy to see this, because not only were they playing one of the first Bee Gees songs I’d ever heard as a kid (as well as its being eponymous of the state I live in), but all three brothers were together again, performing as they once had, to an exceedingly appreciative audience.
The entire set list of this concert is as follows:
- Technicolor Dreams (music video)
- Jive Talkin’
- You Should Be Dancin’
- Lonely Days
- Our Love (Don’t Throw it All Away)
- To Love Somebody
- The End of the World/How Can You Mend a Broken Heart (with Samantha Gibb)
- Stayin’ Alive
- How Deep Is Your Love
- On Time (sung by Stephen Gibb)
- I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You (with Stephen Gibb)
- The Morning of My Life (In The Morning)
- New York Mining Disaster 1941 (“the first time we ever heard ourselves on the radio”)
- Run To Me
- I’m On Fire (Bruce Springsteen cover, inspired by Springsteen’s live rendition of “Stayin’ Alive”)
- Spirits Having Flown
- You Win Again (sung by Samantha Gibb)
- With the Sun In My Eyes (“my personal favorite”)
- I Started a Joke (with Robin Gibb)
- Spicks and Specks
- Chain Reaction (sung by Samantha Gibb)
- One (dedicated to the One Fund)
- Islands In the Stream (with back-up singer Beth Cohen)
- Guilty (for Barbra Streisand) (with back-up singer Beth Cohen)
- Woman in Love (sung by Beth Cohen)
- Too Much Heaven (1979 Music for UNICEF donation song)
- Nights on Broadway
- Night Fever/More Than a Woman
- Immortality (“the best song we ever wrote,” subsequent to spoken tributes of every member of the Gibb family)
- Outro: Massachusetts (chorus)
- Ordinary Lives
- Words (“dedicated to my wife”)
- Massachusetts (film clip)
It is a classic set list from a timeless group, and the audience, geriatric as it was, relished every second of it. In fact, a great many of us sang along and even danced during the disco numbers (yep…guilty as charged!). I’m so glad that Barry reneged on his decision not to play any songs that Robin had sung, and I’m even more thrilled that Robin got to sing even from beyond the grave. I’m quite sure that he, Maurice and Andy were very proud of their brother for continuing on with their music this way, so everyone could enjoy the Bee Gees catalogue all over again, and they are smiling down upon him from wherever they are. This was a fantastically epic concert and a wonderful time was had by all.
Next up in the roster, I return to the Garden on July 22nd to see Queen + Adam Lambert.
I’ll most likely be back soon with my first Twilight Princess update. Until then, keep rocking!