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Review – Bee Gees `How Deep is your Love’ tribute

July 22, 2013

Reviews, Theatre

Talent shines in a night to remember

Venue: Brisbane City Hall

Date: July 20, 2013

Review by SHIRLEY BROUN

I EXITED the Brisbane City Hall on Saturday night thinking `wow’ what a tremendous show and what a shame the rest of Australia couldn’t have been with me to witness the event.

Tina Arena, Doug Parkinson & Christine Anu. Photo by Shelley Garrod.

 

The event I speak of was Brisbane’s Music Festival’s `How Deep is Your Love’ concert which brought together some of this country’s finest talents in an awe-inspiring tribute to the Bee Gees .

With highly skilled and admired professionals like musical coordinator Ken Laing and Director of Qld Music Festival James Morrison putting this spectacular together it was little wonder this night was such a huge success.

Following a three-year restoration completed in April this year, Brisbane City Hall was the ideal venue to showcase such an impressive line-up of home grown talent from the orchestra members to the star attractions and who better to kick it off in style than Australia’s much-loved musical director John Foreman whose entrance attracted an enthusiastic roar from the audience.

Australian a cappella vocal ensemble The Idea of North then appeared and kicked off the entertainment program with a great delivery of Staying Alive and very soon afterwards they were joined by multi-award winning country artist Melinda Schneider.

Rick Price captivating

Queensland singer/songwriter Rick Price, who had huge hits with Walk Away Renee and Heaven Knows among many, then stole the stage in his assumed role as `the fourth Bee Gee’. “It’s what I’ve always wanted to be,” he told the crowd as he sang `I’ve Got to Get a Message to You’ and the captivating `I Started a Joke’.

Rick Price. Photo by Shelley Garrod.

The mood then moved up-tempo as Ray Thistlethwaite rocked onto the stage. It was the first time I had seen Ray perform but I was pleasantly surprised with his beautiful delivery of the Bee Gee’s `Don’t Forget to Remember Me’.

Crowd wants more

One of the night’s highlights would have to have been Doug Parkinson who made the stage, the music and the audience his own. His signature voice singing his favourite Bee Gee’s hit `How Can You Mend a Broken Heart’ left the crowd wanting more. And, he delivered it in a beautiful duet of the Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton hit, written by the Bee Gees, `Islands in the Stream’ with Melinda Schneider whose mother Mary Schneider had worked with the Bee Gees when they were just kids in Brisbane.

The hits of the Bee Gees just kept on coming – some artists sounded just like the original recordings and others adapted their own style to the hits including the lady of jazz Emma Pask who also kicked off the unforgettable hits from the musical Grease.

Immortality a big hit

And that was just the first half of this amazing entertainment program! The second half kicked off with crowd favourite Anthony Callea whose extraordinary voice took `Immortality’ to new heights.

Christine Anu whose first album purchase as a teen was `Grease’ took our breaths away with `Emotions’ followed by Olivia Newton John’s hit `Heartbreaker’.

Still more hits rolled out as Darren Percival lit up the stage with Jive Talking buoyed by an overflowing room full of confirmed Bee Gees fans, many jumping up to dance to the infectious beat. A dedication to his wife with `More Than a Woman’ showed off Darren’s vocal versatility … look out Barry Gibb … such a high range, who would have guessed?

Emma Pask, Katie Noonan and Darren Percival. Photo by Shelley Garrod.

Speaking of high voices, Katie Noonan dazzled the crowd not only in her duets with Darren Percival and Tina Arena but also in her musical talents after she borrowed John Foreman’s position at the piano to present the Bee Gee’s `New York Mining Disaster 1941’. You could hear a pin drop … such strength and vocal perfection.

Superb orchestra

The spotlight was also on the brilliant orchestra, the members of which were superb and gave the audience an experience to remember.

But the night was not yet over. Katie introduced the inimitable Tina Arena who walked onto stage to deafening applause for an amazing duet `Woman in Love’. Two great voices on stage at once … how lucky were we. Simply entrancing!

Tina pays tribute

Tina paid tribute to the Bee Gees saying: “Songs don’t get written like that anymore and it is so important to pay tribute to them.” She then provided another great highlight of the night singing one of the greatest Bee Gee’s numbers of all time `Words’ which attracted a standing ovation. A standing ovation that continued when the full cast returned to stage to sing `How Deep is Your Love’ for the finale.

Three hours of brilliant entertainment by Australia’s top performers paying tribute to one of this country’s most celebrated and successful singer/songwriter groups in the Bee Gees … `How Deep is Your Love’ deserves to be the focus of a national tour or major television special.

A truly outstanding night of wonderful memories and extraordinary highlights. Thank you!

The Bee Gees `How Deep is Your Love’ tribute show finale. Photo by Shelley Garrod.

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