Gig review: Barry Gibb - O2 Arena, London
Friday 04 October 2013
"This place is full of Gibb," enthuses the last surviving Bee Gee.
Barry Gibb is performing for the first time without his two brothers, Maurice and Robin, who died in 2003 and 2012 respectively. However, the 67-year-old has his eldest son, Stephen, who resembles Henry Rollins and sounds like early 1990s rockers Dan Reed Network, assisting him on guitar, and Maurice's daughter, Sammy, on vocals.
The slender singer's Tammy Wynette-style twang is ideally suited to evocative numbers such as "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?". Gibb starts with the robust triptych of "Jive Talkin'", "Lonely Days" (from 1970's "Man for All Seasons") and "You Should Be Dancing", a disco gem that prompts pockets of joyous, tail-end-of-a-wedding dancing. It's immediately clear that Gibbs's trembling, high-pitched falsetto voice is still in terrific shape, especially on the sweet "First of May", a track from 1969 that he dedicates to Robert Stigwood, an early champion for the Bee Gees.
Gibb, who still has enviable locks and a beautifully kept beard that wouldn't look out of place in Hoxton, methodically trawls through the Bee Gees' extensive back catalogue. The much-mocked threesome - Kenny Everett's "Massive Chew Sets" being the most memorable parody of the Bee Gees - certainly got the last laugh by selling a mind-boggling 220 million albums in their 55-year career.
After a strong start, the middle section of the gig is more variable. Highlights include early (and reasonably rare) tracks such as "Every Christian Lion-Hearted Man Will Show You", "New York Mining Disaster 1941" and "Morning of My Life". However, their standout ballad is still "How Deep Is Your Love", with one of the finest lyrics about being young lovers ever to feature in a pop song: "'Cause we're living in a world of fools/ Bringing us down/ When they should all just let us be." It provokes a standing ovation as does his perky foot-stomper "Spicks and Specks".
Dirges such as "Too Much Heaven" and "Fight the Good Fight" threaten to dampen spirits until the inevitable disco session kicks in: "Stayin' Alive", "If I Can't Have You", "Night Fever" and "More Than a Woman" are blasted out back to back. If you don't waggle a limb to one of those you probably need to check your pulse.
John Travolta isn't here, disappointingly, but apart from that this is a polished, poignant performance that ends on the sensational "Massachusetts".
Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beachart
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Husband creates spreadsheet detailing wife's 'excuses' for turning down sex
- 2 Apple has installed security backdoors on 600m iPhones and iPads, claims security researcher
- 3 Saneie Masilela, 9, marries Helen Shabangu, 53 years his senior, for the second time
- 4 UK pirates will get four warning letters a year
- 5 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley star in trailer for new Alan Turing film The Imitation Game
Latitude 2014, review: A huge success that shows festival is maturing nicely
It looks like Krusty the Clown is the major Simpsons character death
Russell T Davies wants your 'sexcapades' for new web series Tofu about modern sex culture
Star Wars 7: Plot details 'leak', with sequel's opening sequence and premise revealed
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains