Broadway San Jose’s current program, “The Australian Bee Gees: A multimedia tribute concert” is sure to have even the most casual fan of the Bee Gees out of their seat and feeling that Saturday Night Fever (or even Tuesday night fever as was the case for us as we attended the opening night).
Starting in the present and rolling backwards through time, a voice over narrates the past 40+ years rapid fire bringing the audience back to the beginning of the Bee Gees. “Sure, you know the big hits, but do you really know the Bee Gees. Who were the Bee Gees?” the voice asks.
Barry (Matt Baldoni), Robin (Jack Leftley) and Maurice (Paul Lines) bring the audience on an in-depth, almost entirely musical, tribute, highlighting just how influential the brothers Gibb were. With a career spanning over 47 years, this show is packed with the deepest cuts from the early days of the band, through their peak in the disco era, as well as covers of major songs written for other artists such as “Islands in the Stream” (Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers), “Heartbreaker” (Dionne Warwick) and the title track for “Grease”.
Trying to emulate the distinctive vocal sounds of the Bee Gees is no small feat. All three members of the band were strong vocally (although a little shaky in the beginning). Matt Baldoni, in particular was fantastic as Barry. The hair, the smile, the sweet, smooth falsetto voice – he had it all. It was almost hard to believe you were not watching Barry Gibb on stage. The horrible wigs and costumes made it difficult to imagine Jack Leftley as Robin, but when the music played and the brothers harmonized, none of the minor details mattered much. It was all about the harmonies.
Did I get much insight into who the Bee Gees really were? Not really, but it didn’t much matter. In the final act, Barry shouts out to the audience, “This is what you all have been waiting for!” Seconds later, the entire audience is on its feet in a disco frenzy, hustlin’ down to “Staying Alive”. The show closes with a raucous “You Should Be Dancing”…and believe me, you will be.
“The Australian Bee Gees” is playing now through February 9th at the San Jose Center for Performing Arts. Tickets are available at www.broadwaysanjose.com. Discount tickets may be available at: http://www.goldstar.com/events/san-jose-ca/the-australian-bee-gees-show