Magnetic Robin Gibb
(By Jason Cheah, The Star Online, August 15, 2005)

The legacy of the Bee Gees stays alive with thousands of tribute acts celebrating the music of the brothers Gibb – Maurice, Barry and Robin – across the world.

In Malaysia, there can be no complete Alleycats club gig without a nod to the Bee Gees. Though the original Bee Gees is no longer around with the death of Maurice two years ago, many local fans can still come close to experiencing this legendary group’s music with Robin’s successful solo tours.

This Saturday, Robin (Maurice’s twin brother) lands at the Arena of Stars in Genting Highlands to thrill fans with music from his entire career. The 56-year old London-based legend holds his own outside the shadow of the Bee Gees. In fact, Robin had a brief solo career in 1969 when he released Robin’s Reign, and also turned out the hit Saved By The Bell.

But his return to the Bee Gees in 1970 was the stuff of legend as the trio later went on reinvent their sound and conquer the charts with the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, placing them smack in the middle of the disco phenomenon.

Despite further solo albums in the 1980s that failed to spark, Robin kept on going in the music scene. The Bee Gees comeback in 1993 with Size Isn’t Everything prompted a mini career revival of sorts.

It might have taken 15 years in the making, but the recent solo album Magnet (2003) laid out the path for Robin to truly grab the bull by its horns and embark on the touring business on his own. For this world tour, Robin can pride himself with the buzz surrounding his recently released Robin Gibb: Live album. Backed by the Frankfurt Neue Philharmonic Orchestra, Robin transformed the classic hits of the Bee Gees and gave them a bigger, brassy sound in the album that has won fans all over again.

His show this weekend will see a 22-piece orchestra accompanying Robin on stage from early Bee Gees and solo hits like Massachusetts, Saved By The Bell, I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You, Jive Talkin’, Stayin’ Alive, Night Fever and You Win Again. This lone Bee Gee is geared up for a roaring welcome here.

The pop legend took some time out to share his excitement of the forthcoming show through a recent e-mail interview.

What can we expect from your upcoming Magnetic concert tour?

I will be performing lots of the Bee Gees hits and my own solo hits plus some new material from the Magnet album. So it’s a good mixture for everybody.

You’ll be performing live with an orchestra. Where will the orchestra members be coming from?

We will perform live with a Filipino orchestra and we have brought our own conductor with us and he will rehearse them.

There was a gap of some 15 years for Magnet to arrive. Why did it take so long to release a new solo album?

All the time in between I was busy with Bee Gees projects. We were all busy writing and producing albums for ourselves and for other artistes.

How does your solo work over the past 35 years compare with that of your work as part of the Bee Gees? Is it any different to the approach that you have taken with your brothers in the past?

I have always approached work seriously but at the same time being creative is fun and that is how it should be.

How are the plans for the tribute album for your brother Maurice getting along? Do you have a rough idea when it might be released? How important is this project to you?

This project means a great deal to me since Maurice was my twin brother as well as being a very important member of the Bee Gees. That is why I feel we need to celebrate Maurice’s life in the best way possible with the music he contributed so much to. We are looking to release the album in June or July next year and to time it for a free tribute concert in New York’s Central Park.

Although you and your brother Barry have stated that you won’t appear as the Bee Gees any longer, would you still collaborate or appear live together any time in the near future?

We are at present working on our own projects but when they are finished I think we will work together again.

How do you feel about the story of the Bee Gees being set to a musical, which we understand is in production stage?

There is a script with producers now and we would expect the musical to open towards the end of 2006.

You’re producing ex-Atomic Kitten member Liz Carmon’s upcoming solo single – a cover version of Woman In Love which the Bee Gees wrote and Barbra Streisand originally sang. You’re expected to sing on it as well. How did this project came about?

I was approached by Liz and her manager to produce a contemporary version of the song that I have done. She has done a fantastic job – I am very, very pleased with the result, she has a great voice.

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