BARRY GIBB AND THE BOWL FULL OF LOVE

Bowl 6414

Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood, California. June 4, 2014. Barry Gibb Mythology – The Tour video marquee before start of show. (Photo by Samii Taylor)

Last night, Barry Gibb played the Hollywood Bowl for the first time, but hopefully, not the last.  Even before the opening graphic roll, the crowd was chanting “Barry.  Barry.”  Gibb took the stage to the applause and adulation of a packed house of fans…and their children who drove them to the venue.

Fans may be middle-aged and gray-haired, but they know their artist and willingly paid the price and hiked up the hills of the Bowl to pay homage to the eldest of the Bee Gees.  Faithful fans and new converts were more than rewarded for their efforts.  Gibb provided over two hours of flawless entertainment, presenting an entire retrospective of tunes from the Bee Gees’ first composition, to their first radio hit Spicks and Specks,” to classics like Spirits Having Flown,” and, the Brothers’ favorite composition, “Immortality.  A bonus track was Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire,” performed in tribute for a recent Sydney performance of “Stayin’ Alive” by The Boss.

Near the end of the show, Barry announced, “Okay.  I can take it if you can.”  Cue the disco set.  The pin spot hit the mirror ball and the crowd went wild.  They love it all, but this was what they came for.  This part of the Gibb music legacy embodies the strongest memories of millions of fans.  The crowd stood and swayed the entire set, cell phones in hand, documenting their moment – data charges be damned!

Like fine wine, age has only improved this artist’s perfect vocals and style.  Gibb paced himself so that his signature falsetto remained clear and strong the entire night’s performance.  The tunes are a bit slower in tempo, enabling listeners to savor the moment.  Gibb sat out a few songs to give solo time to other artists in the ensemble.

Eldest son Stephen Gibb provided vocals and guitar the entire concert.  His thin frame and youth belie the strong, deep-throated rock vocal performance on a song penned by his uncle Maurice entitled “On Time.”  There is no falsetto here, but Stephen brings forth passion born of experience with life.  A well-known artist in his own right, he more than held his own with Dear Ol’ Dad, and the crowd added another generation of Gibb to their list of favorite performers.

Bowl Stage

Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood, California. June 4, 2014. Barry Gibb and band onstage during Mythology, the Tour concert. (Photo by Samii Taylor)

The bare foot beauty of the tour, Samantha Gibb, gave an equally stunning performance on several songs on the playlist.  The only daughter of Bee Gee Maurice Gibb, she delivered clear, strong lead and back up vocals.  Sammy also has a solo career and proved she lacks nothing when it comes to her unique style and talent.  The audience buzzed with their appreciation of both.

Backup vocalist Beth Cohen provided vocals on Gibb penned songs for other artists like Barbra Streisand’s “Guilty” and Dolly Parton’s “Islands In The Stream.”  The Mythology backup singers are ladies who prove they bring more to the table than window dressing.

What could have been a sappy and manipulative tribute to Gibb’s late brothers, Andy, Maurice and Robin, was tasteful, insightful and seamlessly blended into the show.  Photos of the brothers were inserted appropriately and allowed Gibb to share insight into the brotherly dynamics they shared.  It was not morbid or trite, it was reassuring that this family is as real as the rest of us.  Gibb sang the first verse of  “I Started A Joke,” then the video screen behind him switched to archival footage of Robin singing the rest of the song.  The collective heart audibly skipped a beat upon seeing this perfect use of technology and talent.

Sadly, a portion of the audience felt the need to leave after the disco set.  “We’re not finished,” Gibb calmly announced.  He wasn’t kidding.  The encore included a moving tribute to wife, Linda.  “Words” are all he has to take her heart away – so it has been for 40 plus years.

The stage was set to match the no frills, all class tone of Mythology, The Tour.  The lighting design was visually exciting with no gimmicks.  The accompanying graphic displays were crisp, clean, and added to the overall entertainment experience.  Tasteful camera shots for the big screens brought everyone closer to the action without frenetic switching and Dutch angles.  This was a real class act.

Mythology audio engineer, Randy Lane from Clair Brothers, masterfully mixed intelligible lyrics, distinguishable instruments, and just the right amount of echo and delay.  Compression was perfect – nothing squashed.  Equalization was perfect – nothing gritty or offensive.  At a solid 80-85 db in the cheaper seats, the mix level was loud enough to be heard, but not ear-splitting.  It really doesn’t get much better than that.

Moti Gibb

Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood, California. June 4, 2014. Barry Gibb performing onstage at Hollywood Bowl. (Photo courtesy of Moti Gibb)

Clearly, Gibb’s stunning performance at the Hollywood Bowl has not become part of music mythology – it has become part of the rich entertainment heritage that is the Gibb family’s music legacy. With a strong voice, a great band, a pro crew, and a talented family to back him up, it is quite possible that for Barry Gibb, reinvention means another era of popular music history is yet to come.

GARY NUMAN Works Dark Magic on SPLINTER – Songs From A Broken Mind

RATING    ***** out of 5 Stars            Electronic, Synth-pop, Industrial, New Wave, Darkwave

www.garynuman.com

 Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 6.15.16 PM

The first time I heard “I Am Dust” from SPLINTER I was hooked!

Normally, I’m a pop/rock girl with a tendency toward good ol’ 70s-80s music. The industrial-techno-electro strains of SPLINTER touched my soul so much so that I bought the CD a few days later. Gary Numan’s music calls to me today as it always has.

SPLINTER is Numan’s 74th album. His first American hit was “Cars” in 1980, which helped mark Numan as a pioneer in electronic dance music. The cutting-edge sounds and performances on SPLINTER are Numan the Innovator at his best!

The term Darkwave aptly describes the musical offering embodied in SPLINTER. The bass lines are heavy, sometimes ominous, but never conventional. The driving beat and syncopation are uniquely Numan. The melodies are woven of intricate and well-crafted patterns. The classically rendered sound waves within each composition meld into colors that draw the listener deeper into the imagery of the song. No two songs on SPLINTER sound the same.

I greatly appreciate the space Numan leaves in his compositions. I can never anticipate where the breaks will be or how precisely they will affect the lyric lines. Numan is a master of using a break as a composition.

The overall theme of SPLINTER – Songs From A Broken Mind is deeply spiritual – dealing with God, man and lost love that can never be restored.

The lyrics brazenly sing the unasked questions religious dogma fears. SPLINTER expresses doubts about God, while acknowledging the insidious, destructiveness of man. In “Splinter,” Numan pens the lines, “I don’t believe a word of ‘The Word” is true, I don’t believe in the goodness of people like me, I believe everything bleeds from the fear of man.”  Deeply scriptural.

One of my favorite cuts is “We’re The Unforgiven.” It speaks to the vanity of once perfect beings who crossed a line that sealed their fate – eternal separation from God. The line “Once there was life and we were strong, full of pride…now we’re just a ruin.” reminds me to be weary of my prideful self lest I, too, fall into eternal ruin.

I would love to have tea with this untrained musician of a man who says he is “just good with sounds.” I want to hear about the images of the mind that form the amazing dark magic that is Gary Numan in SPLINTER.

 

MORGAN BRITTANY: The Lincoln Portrait and the future of America

Actress Morgan Brittany performing "The Lincoln Portrait" by Aaron Copland for La Mirada Symphony's "Salute to America."

Actress Morgan Brittany performs Aaron Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait” for La Mirada Symphony’s “Salute to America.”
Friends catch up backstage at La Mirada Theatre, La Mirada, California

Friends Morgan Brittany and Yakovetic catch up backstage at La Mirada Theatre, La Mirada, California

Symphony Conductor Doctor Frelly and actress Morgan Brittany enjoy the event reception.

Symphony Conductor Doctor Frelly and actress Morgan Brittany enjoy the event reception.

“When my good buddy Joe Yakovetic asked me to be part of the La Mirada Symphony ‘Salute to America’,” revealed actress Morgan Brittany, “I checked YouTube to see who had done the ‘Portrait of Lincoln.’  I saw Henry Fonda and said, ‘I’m in!”

Symphony Board Member Joe Yakovetic immediately thought of Brittany to narrate the piece. “Our events do very well,” he said, “but this time it was a capacity crowd.  The Orchestra and Brittany received a standing ovation when the concert ended.  She was perfect!”

Brittany, a member of the PolitiChicks, is concerned about the direction our country is going. “There seems to be a lot of negativity about our future in the media.  There is a lot of negativity when you speak to people about where the country is headed.  It’s kind of a mess.”

Aaron Copland penned the symphony for full orchestra in the 1940s.  Toward the end of the composition is a narration about Lincoln and his writings.  The thing that struck Yakovetic most about the narration was its relevance to where America is today.  “The words Lincoln wrote inspired people almost 150 years ago.  I think they still inspire people today.”

Brittany wants to motivate people to remember Abraham Lincoln and the leaders that made America great. “The Lincoln Portrait evokes so many different emotions,” mused Brittany.  “When you hear the things that Abraham Lincoln said you realize what difficult times we have been through in the past.”  She paused.  “Yes, we are in difficult times now, but we have been through them before.  This piece tells you that things have been tough before and we can survive it!  We are not lost.”