Barry Gibb brings solo tour to Bay Area
Barry Gibb was riding in his car with his daughter Ali when a familiar tune came on the radio. It was "Night Fever," the disco classic that Gibb's Bee Gees recorded for 1977's "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack. So Ali decided to share the groove with people on the street.
"She turned it up and opened up the window," Barry Gibb recalls during a recent phone interview. "And people started dancing." It was not the first time he had witnessed such a reaction to one of his classic cuts. Indeed, it happens all the time. "Every time one of those ('Saturday Night Fever') songs gets played in a restaurant, the whole atmosphere changes," he says. "Somehow, everyone seems to be able to go back 37 years
. Barry Gibb of The Bee Gees performs solo in concert during his Mythology Tour 2014 at the Wells Fargo Center on Monday, May 19, 2014, in Philadelphia. Barry Gibb of The Bee Gees performs solo in concert during his Mythology Tour 2014 at the Wells Fargo Center on Monday, May 19, 2014, in Philadelphia. (Photo by Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP) (Owen Sweeney) "And it is a shock. But those are instances that show you it's OK -- this music will stay, people will listen to it, no matter what." People will also get a chance to hear the music performed live, as Gibb makes a long-awaited solo tour of North America.
The British-born, Australian-reared musician, who has lived in the U.S. for the past 30 years, performs Saturday at the Concord Pavilion. Although Gibb played some dates in Australia and England last year, he's not well known as a solo artist; he's known for his work with his brothers.
Yet, the other two Bee Gees are now gone -- Maurice died in 2003 and Robin in 2012. Barry Gibb's other famous sibling -- successful solo artist Andy Gibb -- was just 30 when he died in 1988. "It's really the next page, I suppose," Gibb says of his solo career. "We were glued together all of our lives, the three of us -- the four of us, rather. Not having any of my brothers, I just have to pull myself together. And I did that in Australia. And I did that in England. And I enjoyed it. "Instant gratification is something that drives me now -- not spending months in the studio so much as being in front of an audience and having that friendship.
" Even so, the touring life is still a family affair for Gibb. His band includes his eldest son, vocalist-guitarist Stephen, as well as vocalist Samantha Gibb, who is the daughter of Maurice Gibb. He says that music is definitely still in the Gibb family's blood. He also says that his voice feels great. "At this point in life, I never thought it would feel this good, but it does," says the 67-year-old singer. "Time hasn't really taken any of the power away. My lungs are great. My throat is great. I don't really see any differences right now. "I mean, in-ear monitors, at this point in life, are more important to me than speakers. But that's the nature of what happens to your ears, what happens to everything, as you get a little older. But I'm cooking."
The road show goes by the somewhat weighty title Mythology: The Tour Live. What kind of mythology surrounds Barry Gibb? "That's a good question," says Gibb. "I think there are a lot of truths and untruths about us as brothers and as a group. Somewhere along the way ... I'll be able to clear a little bit of the dust. We were doing it 45 years -- so there is a lot for me to look at. But, you know what? I don't want to waffle too much. I want to play." Yet, Gibb's not willing to provide details on what he plans to play in concert. He's not a big fan of set lists posted on the Internet. "Everyone knows what I do," he says. "I don't want to tell everybody what I am going to perform -- it's sort of the curiosity factor.
If I go to a concert, I don't want to know what is going to happen. I'm pretty much changing my set list every leg of this tour. You have to take a lesson from Mr. Springsteen ... where every show doesn't have to be the same, and you vary as much as you can each time you go onstage."
Gibb definitely has options, from a robust career. The Bee Gees formed in 1958, rose to fame in the '60s and became one of the world's biggest acts in the '70s, performing everything from pop and R&B to country and rock, selling more than 200 million records and earning a spot in the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame. Gibb also had an amazing career outside of the Bee Gees. His songs have been recorded by Elvis Presley, Barry Manilow, Tina Turner, Al Green and Janis Joplin. The peak of success came in the late '70s, when the Bee Gees pulled off the amazing feat of releasing six straight No. 1 hits: "How Deep Is Your Love," "Stayin' Alive," "Night Fever," "Too Much Heaven," "Tragedy" and "Love You Inside Out." "We never imagined we would have that kind of success," Gibb reflects.
"It was beyond our imagination to have six No. 1's in a row. It was just ridiculous. Yeah, we enjoyed it. It was like being on a magic carpet, being on a cloud."