We’ve already showed you the first shots of Rob being in Hong Kong June 8th.and during his first show of June 9th. Here you’ll find some reviews, enthusiastic stories and photo material of the Asian Tour of Robin.
Some of Dwina’s first impressions during her stay with her husband Robin in Hong Kong: she wants to share with us:
Thanks to RobinGibb.com
Hi, I’ve just been to Robin Gibb’s concert in Hong Kong on June 10th. It was fabulous!! He wore a yellow jacket and he said that the yellow jacket could be easily spotted at the back. I tried to record and take pictures, but I couldn’t. The funny thing was that after the concert was finished, Robin did 4 encores, and everyone was dancing. It was great.
Here’s the tracklist for the concert:
2. Gotta Get a Message to You
3. How Deep Is Your Love
4. Nights on Broadway
5. I Started a Joke
7. How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?
8. Night Fever
9. New York Mining Disaster 1941 (original version)
10. Please (featuring Errol Reid)
11. Saved by the Bell
12. To Love Somebody
13. First of May
15. You Win Again
18. Jive Talkin’
19. Stayin’ Alive
20. You Should be Dancing
21. Stayin’ Alive
22. Night Fever
Fans meeting Robin in Hong Kong
Lots of nice photo material arrived these days at GSI of enthusiastic fans having met Robin. We’d of course like to share some of these shots with all the fans on GSI and watching these photos you feel the good feeling fans had of Robin’s presence and performance in Hong Kong the past few days.
Fans on their way to one of the Robin concerts
a happy day in the life of a fan
Louisa flew to Hong Kong to see Robin, like many fans
Robin and Ken with Louisa Yu © Louisa Yu
‘BG fever is as hot as the temperature here. I saw the Japanese fans holding Robin’s flag. A group of about 10 went around with a sign of Robin in between the hotels and the concert hall/ (Robin’s hotel and their hotel was next door to each other). So sweet surrender, Robin stopped and talked to them and there were photos taken. I had flown over to Hong Kong for Robin like many other fans. Waited for the other fans and suddenly I got a phone call from a friend telling I’d to go over to the Grand Hyatt, the other fans were waiting there and something good might happen!! I said OK. I would check with the porter and be there immediately. I ran with my laptop and bag downstairs, asked the porter. He said 5 minutes round the corner. I ran and ran, it took forever for this 5 minutes. Got there, Grand Hyatt…where was everybody… looked and looked…eventually I spot there was a crowd…so I went over to them…my God!….it was Robin surrounded by the fans… taking pictures. Ken said “Alright! This is the last picture!” No way, I quickly put down my laptop and bag, and shouted, ” Robin, it is Louisa, one more picture please!!” Robin looked at my direction and gave a reaction. Alright, I have got his attention…I have to wait a few more minutes for my turn. I kissed Robin on both cheeks and told him that it was nice to see him again, and he said the same here! I have a picture taken with him…more fans wanted pictures… and I spotted Dwina standing nearby , but looked away when the camera was on her….Ken finally said that was enough for tonight and then they moved away….Then I also had the chance to see some other fans like, and quickly said – Hello and send your greetings of GSI. – I also met a fan from Britain and Germany, so nice. And during the show I saw Robin. Fans loved the shows and we all specially loved that Robin sang First Of May too!! It really was a wonderful experience here as shared and marked by all fans. Shame that we only had Robin here!!
Comments from a fan just home from a wonderful experience in Hong Kong
I came back home from Hong Kong late last night. I’m still very tired today, but had to go back to work immediately. These were some of the best days in my life, and I am still floating high up in the air. I did see Robin and I was busy speaking with Robin and translating for other fans. Robin was in great shape, and the concert was very good, too. It got better every day, and the last day (11th) was the best of all. When I met Dwina and Robin the day after the last concert before we all flew home, they were impressed with the way the audience reacted during the last show. We changed the meeting place (the get together of fans we talked about on GSI) from Harbour View to Grand Hyatt, because we found out Robin was staying in the Grand Hyatt. And then Robin walked in himself… So everyone had the best time of all, I guess. I’m still very tired and excited. So much happened in such a short time. I’ve made some wonderful new friends, and immensely enjoyed my first stay in Hong Kong, too.
Happy fans enjoying Robins visit
Robin and Ken Graydon amongst the fans © Louisa Yu
It was the third night of Robin’s performance in Hong Kong. People were streaming into the exhibition hall from when it opened at about 7.30pm,. By 8pm, the hall was almost full, and one could sense the anticipation and excitement from the pre-dominantly middle-aged crowd (although many came with their families, including some with grandparents and children). I sat with much anticipation between a couple in their twenties, and another middle-age couple, all the while conscious of nature’s call as I had just finished three glasses of champagne at the Renaissance hotel lounge. This brought back memories of the standing concert in Dublin in the ONO tour in 1998, when I was having a hard time trying to contain the few pints of beer within my system while waiting for the concert to start, not wanting to give up my vantage spot right in front of the stage where I could see the brothers right up front.
At 8.30pm, the announcement came over the PA system, which signaled that the show was about to begin. Soon the light in the hall was dimmed, the orchestra players took up their positions, and out came Robin in his black jacket and trademark blue glasses, belting out “Emotion”, with three backing singers, Errol (who would later duet with Robin on Please) and two lady singers. Sitting right in the middle section ten rows away from the stage, I could feel the effect of the orchestra sound burying Robin’s voice, which was distinguishable from the backing vocals only intermittently, amidst the pent-up emotion of the entire audience that was finally emancipated with this opener. The song ended with lots of applause, and cries of “Robin, Robin” were heard. Robin thanked the audience for coming to the concert, and went on to introduce the next song, Night Fever, “from the Fever album” (which he would repeat when introducing How Deep is Your Love and Staying Alive). From there on, it was a stream of hits a la One Night Only Concert, minus Barry and Barry, with the backing singers singing high to replace Barry’s falsettos. On those oh-so-familiar Bee Gees hits usually done with Barry’s falsettos, Robin and the band/orchestra did well to get the audience singing and swinging along, but somehow the other brothers’ absence were sorely felt. Staying Alive, Night Fever and Tragedy just sounded flat with Robin’s natural voice, even though his delivery was a respectable effort, proving that the songs were tailor-made for the helium-charged high voices that the world had come to associate with the Bee Gees. Where Robin really shines, though, were the usual solos on songs like I Started a Joke and Massachusetts, which ended with the by now “customary” standing ovations as in all Bee Gees concerts. Together with the first Robin solo hit, Saved By the Bell, and other early hits the audience were brought back in time to the dreamy sixties. Robin’s trademark vibrato style shone through all these early hits, making Barry’s solos on favorites such as Words and To Love Somebody appeared as though they had been performed by him all along (as what he did to the Beatles with his cover of Oh Darling on Sgt Pepper’s). The most spectacular of this was his lump-in-throat rendition of First of May, which almost brought tears to my eyes (and, I believed, most of the audience’s).
Of the fast songs, Juliet was the most enjoyable, the turned-up tempo kept the audience moving along. The first encore, Jive Talking, prompted the audience at the back of the hall to move forward, and from there on, the audience were kept standing and dancing to Staying Alive, and the encore performances of Night Fever and Staying Alive. Perhaps not wanting to slow down the frenzied pace of those Fever hits which had shed any inhibitions that the audience had (the grand daddy in front of me was beginning to swing his hands in rhythm, while the two teenage girls two rows in front were dancing on their seats), the songs Night Fever and Staying Alive were repeated for the last two encore performances. Thereafter, Robin said his last goodbye and thanks to the audience, and disappeared from the cheering audience who were waiting and hoping for yet another encore performance, but who reluctantly left with memory of a wonderful evening which some had waited thirty years (the last Bee Gees concert in Hong Kong) for.
Submitted by: Eugene Kwek
From The Manilla Bulletin Online
I was busy shopping for the latest CDs and videos at HMV in Hong Kong when my phone rang. It was Jojo San Pedro asking me to rush to the Grand Hyatt Hotel for a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet one of my musical heroes, Robin Gibb. Jojo is the Asian promoter of Robin Gibb’s Magnetic Tour. Without hesitation, I dropped my shopping basket and hailed a cab.
Flashback to October 1974, Cultural Center of the Philippines. My first time to see Robin was when he performed with brothers Barry and Maurice at the CCP in 1974. They were then on an Asian tour to promote their album “Mr. Natural.”
Eversince the three Gibb brothers started recording in the early ’60s, Robin had already been the main soloist. Barry sang solo on occasion and Maurice (may he rest in peace) always provided lush harmonies. The Ambivalent Crowd, then one of the top showbands, provided the opening act for the Bee Gees’ first and only concert in the Philippines. They sang over an hour’s worth of hits and new materials. It was a fun concert and there were lots of laughs mostly provided by the comic of the group, Maurice.
After the Asian tour, the group got its second wind and began climbing back to the charts with more top ten singles. By 1977, their success reached fever pitch with the sound track of “Saturday Night Fever.” With this, the Bee Gees had finally arrived and had made a permanent dent in the music industry! This also ushered the era of Barry Gibb singing lead vocals on almost all their new releases.
Although they have been around for four decades now, the Bee Gees have actually done only 15 tours (the first 12 lasted for months – the last three were solo concerts). In the late ’80s, Barry was diagnosed with a severe back problem and crippling arthritis that made it difficult for him to sing or play an instrument. It was the reason why the trio had very few gigs in the past decade.
The last time the three brothers performed as a group was in Miami, Florida on Feb. 23, 2002. Eleven months later, Maurice passed away.
Just as I adore the Beatles who were the early idols of the Bee Gees, I’ve always had the Bee Gees in my top five Must-See-In-My-Lifetime favorite groups of all time.
In May of 1999, I bought a ticket to their final “One Night Only” concert in Sydney, Australia – an expensive adventure indeed. But, I didn’t care because this was an ultra rare event I’ve always dreamt of.
Alas my luck! The flight got delayed and I arrived in Sydney after the concert. The fiasco went down as one of my life’s most regrettable events and I swore that I will never let the next opportunity to watch the Bee Gees get away again. My hopes faded when Maurice passed away and Barry announced that as a respect to Maurice, there would not be Bee Gees concerts or new material anymore.
Yet, two years later, Robin announced the “2005 Magnetic World Tour.” This, I said to myself, I would not miss even if it was just one Bee Gee performing.
I was expecting hordes of press people at the presidential suite of the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong considering the battery of cameramen and reporters waiting for Robin at the hotel lobby entrance. But I was pleasantly surprised to find just a pair from Channel News Asia.
Robin walked in 10 minutes later sans any fanfare, with a dark shirt, dark glasses and a baseball cap on. Reed thin but looking healthy, Robin smiled and sat down.
But the more interesting was the off-camera Robin. He talked about his personal life and the agony of getting over his twin Maurice’s death. Although they were not the typical inseparable twins who wore the same outfit and lived together, Robin quipped not a day passed by without him missing Maurice. Here he got misty eyed.
There are no immediate plans for him and Barry to record or tour, Robin revealed. Barry is currently busy producing Barbra Streisand’s next album, after doing for the diva her five time-platinum certified album “Guilty” in 1980.
Nevertheless, Robin was very satisfied with his Asian tour that kicked off in Hongkong on June 8. It has been extended to September with the addition of shows in Tokyo and China. I asked him if he remembers their one-night concert in Manila to which he replied “Of course, I do!”
The concert was at 8 p.m. but as of 6:30 p.m., I still didn’t have the tickets Jojo San Pedro reserved for us. Panic began to dawn. It was Sydney all over again. Composer Nonoy Tan, an avid Bee Gees fan who flew with me discouraged me from purchasing tickets at a hair-raising price. Pinoys who are used to R200 for the cheapest and R3000 for the most expensive tickets will be aghast to know that the cheapest seats for the Robin Gibb concert were around R4,200.
I didn’t even bother to ask the price of the most expensive tickets. I was unperturbed by the cost and we rushed to the Hongkong Convention and Exhibition Center. I shelled my hard earned money from the Cascades concert and flew the seven escalators (yes seven) to get to Hall 3 where the show was about to begin.
The 10,000 capacity hall was 70 percent filled. The lights dimmed and the orchestra started playing a Bee Gees overture. With the first notes of “Emotion,” Robin cavorted onstage in a natty canary yellow jacket and an almost reddish hairpiece ala Elton John. I’ve gotten so used to Samantha Sang’s version and lately to Destiny’s Child’s that I felt a little weird hearing Robin perform it.
Then he followed it with a true Robin Gibb song “Gotta Get A Message To You” which he sang at a lower key.
“How Deep Is Your Love” sounded different because Barry sang the lead vocals on the recording. It was at a lower key again but nobody cared. The crowd started to sing along. I noticed how good the acoustics of the venue were when the orchestra got into “Nights on Broadway.” The bass thumps were solid and cymbal crashes were crystal clear despite our seats at the rear of the hall.
The real Robin sound manifested when he sang the ’68 smash “I Started A Joke” complete with the melancholy feel. With “Massachussets,” How Can You Mend A Broken Heart,” and I was lulled back to the 70s when I still had long lush hair and wore size 29 jeans.
My reminiscing got interrupted when the orchestra segued to the song that defined the disco era -“Night Fever.” People started swaying and dancing while the artist kept his movements to the minimum.
Other hits performed were “New York Mining Disaster,” one of the group’s earliest hits; “Please”, a song released in 2002 and was sung mainly by Errol Reid, Robin’s only male back-up singer who sounded uncannily like Barry and Robin providing harmony; and “Saved By The Bell,” his first solo hit when the Bee Gees went on hiatus in the late ’60s.
In 1967, the Bee Gees were commissioned to write a song for Otis Redding. But on the week Otis was to record it, he died in a plane crash and the Bee Gees were left with no alternative but to sing it. The song was “To Love Somebody” and it was another top ten hit single.
As he started singing the opening lines of the 1969 hit “First of May” and “Words” , the crowd became all the more anxious. I didn’t realize how great this song “You Win Again,” was until I heard it sung live. I wrote down a little reminder for me to buy the CD. “Juliet” got the crowd stomping. The part where he sang “JuJuJuliet” reminded me of their earlier hit “JijiJive Talkin” and the “JajajaJamby” election jingle of Senator Jamby Madrigal.
Robin said that their music knows no age bounds. Even young artists today are recording their music. In fact, he performed a Steps-revived song “Tragedy,” ending the great show.
But the crowd would not let him go and he obliged with “Jive Talkin” and “Stayin’ Alive.” The crowd danced and sashayed, already on their feet a la Travolta by the time Robin performed “You Should Be Dancin,”
By this time, Robin was not prepared for a third encore and so just did “Stayin’ Alive” once again. It was like a big disco and the only thing lacking was a mirror ball. There was another encore and he repeated “Night Fever.”
Witnessing all of these, I wish that I or any local promoter could bring the Robin Gibb concert to the Philippines. Like Paul McCartney, Robin is one of the very few superstars who will retire from the limelight in a few years. He and his siblings have brought us great music, becoming an integral part of our musical upbringing. It would be a crime if he didn’t perform in the music capital of Asia.
Jimmy Lo, the guy responsible for bankrolling the multi-million Robin Gibb Magnetic Tour of Asia laments that the Philippines is the only stop in Asia were Robin won’t set foot on. My retort with a sigh of regret is the feasibility factor of the project. Sadly, unless a sponsor subsidizes part of the cost of the talent fee, we Filipinos will only get to hear Robin on CD.
MARION / GSI (thanks also RobinGibb.com, Marjorie L., David W. Louisa Y., Eugene Kwek and Steve O ‘Neal)
Robin During His Asian Tour Part Two