Interview: Australian Bee Gees

The Australian Bee Gees at The Star Court Theatre

Star Court Theatre | Sunday 19 August | 7pm | $52.50 – 57.50

The Australian Bee Gees bring their legendary show direct from Vegas back to Oz with a special show at the Star Court Theatre in Lismore.

Modelled on the Vegas show, this is the Bee Gees in two parts with a nostalgic look back in time at the 60s and 70s.

Michael Clift channels Barry, the alpha Gibb. He’s one of the original three in the Australian Bee Gees Show, and yes he has the Barry hair, the Barry falsetto, and the Barry pants.

The show started by accident. Michael admits, as the three muso friends were in a band and it wasn’t happening so they decided to create a tribute band to see what happened, and well, it eclipsed everything else.

‘We started touring in 96. The internet was in its infancy so it was difficult to get traction any other way except word of mouth. We got going in Asia, and played Hong Kong, then we looked towards America.’

The Australian Bee Gees have been at the Excalibur Casino in Vegas for the past seven years, performing six nights a week.

‘In seven years we have performed 2,370 shows!’ says Clift. ‘The show never stops. We have four lineups working all over the world. That means four subs who can play Barry. My two subs are in Vegas.’

I’ve never thought of a Barry substitute. I imagine all the Barrys together at a meeting. Now that would be a Netflix series.

The Australian Bee Gees show has enjoyed worldwide success because it’s good. And it’s not just about the music of the Bee Gees; it’s their exceptional story, how three lads from Brisbane went from obscurity to international global fame.

‘The story that runs through the show is told in the patter,’ says Michael, aka Barry. ‘Of course there is ad libbing, but there is also video content. We show what was happening with Carnaby Street, the explosion of culture, the psychedelic scene. The Bee Gees had a life well before Saturday Night Fever… ’

So after all these years does Michael Clift have a favourite song?

To Love Somebody is one of my favourite songs. It was before they found R&B – they wrote that song for Otis Redding.’

To sing Barry Gibb you have to not only be able to sing falsetto, you have to do it very very well. It’s something Michael is very proud of achieving.

‘I am a bass-baritone range. But I have been singing out of my range for 15 years. The falsetto was one of the hardest things to control and make sound powerful. Mastering it was the thing.’ And master it he did.

As part of the world tour, The Australian Bee Gees Show is at the Star Court Theatre in Lismore on Sunday.

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