Monday, 22 July 2013
Review of The Magic Of The Bee Gees at Cromer Pier, Norfolk, July 21, 2013
I'm surprised they didn't write I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside. They wrote pretty much everything else. A couple of hours at the end of fabulous Cromer Pier at this tribute show is enough to convince you of that. Islands In The Stream for Dolly and Kenny? Check. Chain Reaction for Diana Ross? Yup. Guilty for Barbra Streisand? With pleasure. It's 31 years since they revived Dionne Warwick's career with Heartbreaker. And those are just songs for other people.
Of course, it wasn't the three bearded blokes on stage in the very cool little Pavilion Theatre who wrote that superb pop music. Not Reluctant Robin, the stationary man in the middle clearly wondering what he was doing there. Not Musician Maurice, the man on the pre-programmed Roland driving the whole show with a smile and a hat. Not even Showbiz Barry, by far the best lookalikey on view with his lion's mane hair and open-neck shirt revealing a chunky medallion resting on a hairy chest, his love of a guitar solo evident whenever possible.
But of the real Gibb brothers only Barry remains. And while he's selling out shows at arenas round the country this autumn, those of us who can't get tickets can be happy to enjoy this bracing revue.
For the first half they dressed as 80s Bee Gees, all long black leather coats and shades, note perfect with You Win Again and Night Fever. What they lacked in dynamism they made up for with the sound. Shut your eyes and it really could be Barry's falsetto up there.
After the ice cream interval it was classic 70s Bee Gees; white flares, shiny silver shirts - only the dance moves were missing, restricted to an occasional synchronised right arm raise. The guys on stage left the sizzling Sunday night fever strutting to the ladies in their prime on the left of the stalls and a handful of free spirits on the right.
The best stagecraft of the night came from the other tributees: a superb Streisand who nailed every note of Woman In Love while Barry was glancing down at the words; a foxy Dionne all in black for All The Love In The World and back again in long black wig and red sequins for Diana's Chain Reaction.
Up in the excellent circle we swayed and tapped and sangalong and enjoyed every authentic minute of it. People around us were genuinely moved when the boys dedicated a sparkling performance of Words to the lost Gibbs - another example of the astonishingly prodigious output of my fellow Chorlton-cum-Hardymen.
After the encore we walked out onto the boardwalk, the North Sea rolling beneath our feet, Cromer twinkling in front of us, and enjoyed another great thing about watching tribute bands in seaside towns: no mad dash for the last tube home and no blokes selling knock-off tee-shirts on the pavement. We've got nothing to be guilty of.