Review: The Australian Bee Gees Live in Las Vegas
“Staying Alive” is not only one of the Bee Gees’ biggest hits but should surely be considered the theme song for the nation over the past year. In short, the Coronavirus had put an end to live music in nearly every venue across the U.S., leaving many with a desire to return to experience “live” music and more once again. Las Vegas, known to many as the entertainment capital of the world, is where live performances were banned until just a week ago. With the excitement of all things Vegas and the return of live music, the Australian Bee Gees have reappeared at their residency at the MGM Resort’s Excalibur Casino’s Thunderland Showroom.
Attending a concert in 2021 has certainly changed, and perhaps we are entering a new normal for attending live events. With strict COVID-19 protocols in both the casino and showroom, the MGM staff made it perfectly clear about mask-wearing and social-distancing protocols that must be adhered to while in the showroom. While these instructions may seem overly cautious to many, it provides a sense of security to those with COVID concerns while inside the intimate venue.
There are countless tribute bands that come in varying degrees, some perform as weekend warriors playing the music of their favorite bands and others who dedicate themselves to not only creating a realistic look, sound and performance, but do their best to maintain the legacy of that band. The Australian Bee Gees are the real deal, or perhaps as close as you can get to returning to 1978. Before the show opened, the mainly over 50-ish crowd seemed somewhat tepid in their applause as the band took the stage; Perhaps it was because it had been so long since they saw live music, or they simply didn’t know what to expect. The one thing that was clear was that the venue had a great stage, plenty of lighting, and all the instruments for a real concert. With over five decades of Bee Gees hits to choose from, there wasn’t going to be any shortage of recognized music to hear.
From the very first few notes it was immediately noticeable that these were a group of highly trained and talented virtuosos of music. The Australian Bee Gees consist of a trio of powerhouse vocalists including Wayne Hosking as Maurice, David Scott as Robin, and Michael Clift as Barry, with Tony Richards on bass and Rick Powell on drums.
From a distance, there is an extraordinary resemblance that would make you would think that perhaps Maurice (died 2003) and Robin (died 2012) had been resurrected and joined their living brother Barry on stage on this night. Interestingly, only two of the three are from the land down under; both Wayne Hosking and Michael Clift are Australian, while David Scott hails from New Zealand (close enough!).
With the gifted trio now in place, they wasted no time by grabbing the attention of those attending and got into some of the Bee Gees’ most recognized tunes. A jumble of vintage videos played behind them that featured of some of the Bee Gees famed moments with the band playing in sync to many. As the crowd settled in, the Bee Gees from down under slowly drew you in with a slow crescendo that started out as foot-tapping and quickly turned into gyrating in your seat. As the band played a lyrically pleasing continuous set, the crowd was now fully engaged and could not resist moving and singing along to nearly every word of “Night Fever,” “Jive Talking,” “You Should be Dancing,” and “Staying Alive.”
The Aussie trio has an incredible and convincing vocal range quite similar to Barry’s falsetto range; when they sang “Tragedy” they were quite impressive. The Australian Bee Gees featured a slew of hits from the Bee Gees’ other works, including Frankie Valli‘s 1978 movie title track “Grease,” along with Barry Gibb’s 1981 Grammy Award-winner duet with Barbara Streisand “Guilty,” the Bee Gees’ 1983 composition featuring country duo Dolly Parton and Kenny Rodgers’ “Islands in the Stream,” and and their take on younger brother Andy’s 1978 hit “Shadow Dancing.” As they began to wrap up the 70-minute performance, the crowd by now was in full disco groove and didn’t want the show to end. Fortunately, the performers gave us one more song to get a final taste of our time travel back to the 1970s.
What was missing? Not a whole lot other than the trio singing together on one harmonious microphone, but, with COVID-19 being a factor, that was understandable. Perhaps the next time. As the crowd shuffled out, the buzz remained, and the crowd energized while many found themselves singing on the escalators as they travelled back to reality and down to the casino floor. If you are a fan of the Bee Gees and want to time-travel to a period of simpler times where Studio 54, feathered hair, platform shoes, and bell bottoms ruled, then Australian Bee Gees are certainly worth the price of admission.
For tickets and information visit their website.