This is a special edition of Manic Monday Music News, featuring the official concert review of Barry Gibb’s concert at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA on May 19th, 2014 by yours truly, Scott Rossi, brought to you by Sounds By Shelly and Deejay Shelly! Enjoy!
In the weeks leading up to Monday February 3, 2014, I either saw on Facebook or in an online ad, news of a brand new tour coming to the great city of Philadelphia, PA, the town I grew up in and home to Sounds By Shelly DJ extraordinaire, Deejay Shelly! The tour was none other than Barry Gibb. Shelly, though being a music impresario, had no clue, but she has always been a major fan of Barry Gibb, the problem was that Shelly never knew the actual names of the members of the group Barry Gibb was famous for being in, the Bee Gees!! Being a DJ who specializes in making events exciting for the clients she almost always manages to play the Bee Gee’s song, “Stayin’ Alive” at her events.
The week I heard Barry Gibb was coming to Philadelphia, I managed to convince my friend Deejay Shelly to accompany me to the concert. I always have fun with her whenever we hang out. Her only concern was that she wanted to know if Barry Gibb was going to the play the hits by the Bee Gee’s. I was like, of course, he’s a Bee Gee!! Lol.
Monday May 19th finally arrived, and we met up for what promised to be an amazing night of amazing hits by the amazing Barry Gibb, and though in our hearts we both wanted to buy floor tickets, we had 200 level tickets. We finally arrived at The Wells Fargo Center, home to the Philadelphia Flyers, and the Seventy Sixers, and we passed a doorway outside the center that had in BIG letters above it, “V.I.P.” We were in a fun mood and decided to take a selfie of us with the VIP logo above us, with me holding our tickets. Shelly posted it to Facebook for all her facebook friends to see. It was an example of Shelly’s great humor since our tickets were far from VIP, lol.
We made our way to the right entrance, and to our combined shock and amazement, as we entered the line to go in, we were told the 200 Level was closed off for the night and that we were going to be given CLUB BOX TICKETS!!!!! And we were told our seats would be an entire level lower than what we paid for!! Apparently some people who love the Bee Gees did not know who Barry Gibb was when the tour was announced, and as a result we spent the entire concert in Club Box 10 with an amazing view of the concert stage!!
When we got there just past the start time of 7:30, the opening band, personally selected by Barry Gibb for this tour was, “Jarvis and The Mill”. Not long after we heard this band it was clear the closest band to compare them to was the now famous folk band, “Mumford and Sons”. They were promoting their new album titled, “Western Expansion”, and their folk/rock music just gelled that night as a cool intro to the music of the Bee Gees.
When they finished their set, Shelly and I prepared in great anticipation to hear Barry Gibb perform, and sing the immortal songs created by he and his immensely talented brothers, Maurice and Robin, who both sadly passed way in 2003 and 2012 respectively. The three jumbo video screens which were at the center and to the left and right above the stage featured a royal red square with the words, “The Mythology Tour”. Before we knew it the large capacity crowd let a roar of applause as Barry Gibb and his amazing band took the stage.
At the ripe old age of 67 years old, Barry Gibb, the oldest and last surviving of he and his three brothers, began the night performing the Bee Gee song, “Technicolor Dreams,” which set the stage for the music that awaited the rapturous crowd. The next three songs that came after this were Bee Gee staples during their long career, “Jive Talkin’”, “You Should Be Dancing”, and “Lonely Days”. By the time Barry Gibb and his band began performing, “You Should Be Dancing”, Deejay Shelly and I, were dancing in the aisle in our Club Box up with the rest of crowd that were brought to their feet in celebration of the music of the Bee Gees!
In all there would be 31 songs performed by Barry and his band that night, and after he ended his performance of “Lonely Days”, a really cool photo of the youngest Gibb brother, Andy Gibb graced the center jumbo video screen. Barry then began to sing one of Andy’s hits in tribute to his very missed brother Andy, the song was, “Our Love (Don’t Throw It All Away)”.
The next songs performed that night were three Bee Gees hits, “To Love Somebody”, followed by one of my favorites, “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?”, which was sung as a duet between Barry and a young lovely singer, Samantha Gibb, Barry’s niece who is daughter to Barry’s late brother Maurice. That song was followed by a song that would be sure to get Deejay Shelly up on her feet, “Stayin’ Alive”!! Everyone in the crowd were up on their feet, and Shelly and I were doing our best John Travolta dance impersonation from the Saturday Night Fever movie. It brought to mind the power of the once fully living band, The Bee Gees!!
The next songs were five consecutive Bee Gee hits, “How Deep Is Your Love?”, followed by a song sung by Barry’s son who is lead guitar player for his touring band, Stephen Gibb, singing, “On Time”, and then a duet with his father on which they sang, “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You”, followed by Barry singing the Bee Gee songs, “In the Morning”, “New York Mining Disaster 1941”, and “Run to Me”.
The very next song was one that Barry had planned as a favor he wanted to return to none other than the Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen. Just a few months prior which Bruce was on tour, he posted a video of he and his band on Facebook playing in Brisbane, Australia, the country the Bee Gees were born, with Bruce singing “Stayin’ Alive” in tribute to the Bee Gees, sure to get the Australian audience on its feet. When Barry saw this video he posted a comment on his facebook page acknowledging and thanking Bruce for his kind gesture.
And so for the American leg of his tour, which began in Boston on May 15th, Barry did his rendition of Bruce’s classic song off his monumental album, Born in the U.S.A., “I’m on Fire”. This had exactly the same effect that Bruce’s version of Stayin’ Alive had on his audience, and the crowd at Wells Fargo sung along with Barry and at the end of it they and me and Deejay Shelly gave Barry an extended standing ovation, much to Barry’s surprise.
The next five songs were again Bee Gee Hits some famous hits, some not, but the first of these songs was, “Spirits (Having Flown), during which Barry turned his back to the audience, and on the jumbo screens could be seen Barry with his arms wide open flying through a superimposed video of a blue cloudy sky. It was quite an effect on the audience who ate it up! The next song was, “You Win Again”, which was sung by Barry’s niece Samantha Gibb, followed by Barry singing his former band’s “With the Sun in My Eyes”.
With the very next song, the audience was in for a true treat. It was a duet between Barry and his late brother who appeared in a video as if appearing from heaven itself as he sung his classic, “I Started a Joke”. Truth be told it was as if Robin were truly reunited in song with his older brother Barry. That song was followed by a rocking version by Barry on the Bee Gee’s hit, “Spicks and Specks”. Next was a cover of a Diana Ross song, Chain Reaction sung by Samantha Gibb.
Next Barry sang one of the Bee Gees later hits, “One”. Barry Gibb then brought out another female singer, Beth Cohen. Together she and Barry would sing some of the best hits meant for duet that Barry and his brothers wrote. Beginning with “Islands in the Stream” which Barry wrote as a duet for Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, and then going into a cool duet, “Guilty”, written and originally sung by Barry and Barbra Streisand, these three duets with Barry made the event memorable as Cohen made a lasting impression that she too could sing and sing well. Then Cohen went on to sing a song by herself titled, Woman in Love, which was a Barbra Streisand song.
The night progressed with Barry singing, the Bee Gee hits, “Nights on Broadway” which was followed by introductions of the band backing Barry that night, and then he sang Night Fever, and then the classic, and Deejay Shelly’s favorite Bee Gee song, “More Than a Woman”, which was a memorable song for me and Shelly.
From that point Barry Gibb sang two more songs, the classic song Grease, a Frankie Valli cover which was a duet between Barry and his son, Stephen Gibb, from the famous John Travolta and Olivia Newton John movie, and ending with a surprise cover of a Celine Dion song, “Immortality”.
Then Barry and his band left the stage, seemingly ending the show, but the audience as is the case at most worthwhile concerts demanded an encore by showing their appreciation of Barry Gibb by showering him with loud thunderous applause. To the audience’s surprise, Barry came back on stage followed by his amazing band, and finished the already amazing show by singing the Bee Gee songs, “Words”, and “Tragedy”, and having video of the entire Bee Gee’s group from when they were all living to sing the classic, “Massachusetts”.
The Mythology Tour Barry Gibb is currently on is his first ever solo tour, and with the deaths of his younger brother Andy in 1988, and his two brothers from the Bee Gees, Maurice in 2003, and Robin, in 2012, Barry said from his Miami, Florida home during an interview, “It was time.”
“I know I make it sound as if I wanted to get away from them, but I didn’t,” he says. “We inspired each other in many ways.” Gibb, who admits he’s a religious man, believes the brothers will come to terms with their problems in the afterlife: “Too many coincidences to think otherwise.” As far as what Gibb is going through lately, “In so many of my dreams now, I see my brothers. I see Robin a lot, presently. I see his expressions. Maurice and Andy, too, but less than Robin. He and I, we were as close as we could be within those circumstances. Maybe we were worried that we would become so close, it would have to come apart.”
Gibb’s not sure exactly when he decided to tour. He was sitting at home, dwelling on the loss of all his brothers, who were younger than him and logically should have outlived him, and he was without a plan for himself. “I thought of my mum who lost three sons, knowing I would never forget them or the space they occupy in my life. I guess I finally thought that it made sense to give it a go.” “Hearing his mother and wife tell him to get off his behind was a further incentive to go on the road.”
Rather than replicate the Bee Gees, Gibb, backed by a band that includes his son Stephen and Maurice’s daughter Samantha, shows off what he can do as an individual. “I’m giving you everything I got. You’ll hear what I’ve been doing all these years, what I have truly been thinking.” After the tour is over, Gibb has new songs like “End of the Rainbow” he wants to record in analog, rather than digital, and then – more touring.
“Paul McCartney and I discussed this not long ago,” he says. “Getting and staying out there, doing old songs and new. His take on it is perfect: ‘What else can I do?’ ”
(This review was made complete and possible with the help of these two web pages. One is an article from the Philadelphia Inquirer preceding the concert in Philadelphia by a few days, and the other is a webpage which listed the entire play list of the songs Barry and his band sang on May 19th):
Our last item for this week’s Manic Monday Music News…Noted May Birthdays this week in Music!!
May 25: Lauryn Hill (singer, The Fugees/solo), Paul Weller (UK guitarist, keyboards, songwriter; The Jam/Style Council).
May 26: Alan White (UK drums; Oasis / not the YES drummer), Lenny Kravitz (singer, guitarist, drums, songwriter), Hank Williams, Jr. (country singer/songwriter), Stevie Nicks (singer, songwriter; Fleetwood Mac), Mick Ronson (UK guitarist, producer; Spiders from Mars/sessionist).
May 27: Dre/André ‘3000’ Benjamin (rapper; OutKast), Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes (singer, songwriter, rapper; TLC/solo), Mal Evans (English roadie, record producer; Beatles/Apple).
May 28: John Fogerty (lead singer, guitar, songwriter; Creedence Clearwater Revival, solo), Kylie Minogue (Australian singer), Gladys Knight (singer; The Pips).
May 29: Noel Gallagher (UK guitarist, singer; Oasis), Melissa Etheridge (rock singer, guitarist), LaToya Jackson (singer), Rebbie Jackson/Maureen Reillette Brown (American singer).
May 30: Wynonna Judd (country singer, guitarist), Tom Morello (guitar, vocals; Lock Up/Audioslave/Rage Against The Machine/Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band).
May 31: Steve White (UK drummer; Paul Weller/Style Council/The Players/freelance), John “Bonzo” Bonham (UK drummer; Led Zeppelin), Peter Yarrow (singer, guitar, songwriter; Peter, Paul & Mary/solo).
Every Monday look forward to the “Manic Monday Music News”, run by yours truly, Scott Rossi! Music is the Universal language which brings the world together, something we can all agree on, so I will always try to find some cool weekly news for you to hear about, here on the MLE Blog. Thanks go out to Deejay Shelly, for this opportunity. Enjoy!