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Monday, March 3, 2014

Stayin' Alive



Travel some 17-18 miles northeast of Brisbane and you will find the residential town of Redcliffe (Queensland) which graciously adopted an English family from Chorlton (Manchester, England) in the late 1950s. The family of Hugh and Barbara Gibb moved their three sons, the Brothers Gibb, to Australia and the three boys began a music career that evolved into early stardom in the '60s but nearly fizzled out in the mid-1970s.

John Travolta doing "Night Fever"
It was about four months into my freshman year in college when the the three boys, Barry, Robin and Maurice, burst onto the global music scene, taking the relatively new form of "disco" music along with them as their soundtrack to the movie "Saturday Night Fever" premiered in movie theaters as it took the disco sound into the mainstream.

A few years earlier, a rocker by the name of Bruce Springsteen had burst onto the American music scene in a big way, gracing the covers of Time and Newsweek along the way. Certainly, I leaned toward Springsteen's brand of music much more than the Bee Gees, although "I Started a Joke" and "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" might've hit the Lyons family turntable once or twice.

When "Night Fever" came along, I distinctly remember my Brooklyn-born and bred classmates from St. John's stating the movie defined their existence and would change a generation but, dressed  in my flannel shirt rather than silk or rayon on weekends, I gravitated towards the juke box in a classic dive to stick with the Allman Brothers, Marshall Tucker or The Doors. The discos of NYC and Brooklyn were not my turf.

However, I must say, we sold out, to some extent, when I gathered-up the confidence to walk into "Uncle Sam's" disco to meet its manager and propose a sponsorship agreement for our traveling hockey team, desperate for some money to enter local leagues and Massachusetts-based tournaments. Along with the sponsorship came free entry to the hottest joint on Long Island where the kids from Brooklyn and Queens would gather because they didn't have a shot in hell for admission to the Studio 54s of Manhattan. 

At the club, "Night Fever," "How Deep is Your Love," Donna Summer and maybe some of David Shire's work like "Manhattan Skyline" would dominate the dee-jay booth and strobe-lit dance floors but we were only welcome because the club managers handed us some paint brushes on Sunday afternoons to spruce the place up or cover some graffiti, as, of course, with the sponsorship, club admission rights and a few hundred bucks for new uniforms and tourney entry fees, came the dose of reality of working for a living.

So, with that preamble, I give you a Bruce Springsteen tribute to the Brothers Gibb - the Bee-Gees - as Bruce and the band worked their way through Australia and up to Brisbane to play some music. Bruce played "Stayin Alive" in jam-band formation like never before. 

I enjoyed watching the performance with an eye on all the musicians participating in the tribute, especially the strings. Sometimes, I judge a concert, not just by the music played but by the amount of fun and enjoyment the musicians display when they're performing on stage.

This rendition must've been a blast to create and Bruce, his E Street Band and its horn section grooved to the track like never before as the strings, classically dressed and trained, turned it loose.

Enjoy, the E Street Band:

2 comments:

Bill Websiteguy said...

Great rendition, I loved the horns/strings.

The preamble was interesting also. I think I heard of Uncle Sams.

Bill Websiteguy said...

Great rendition of a classic song. I loved the strings and horns.

The preamble was interesting as I seem to remember Uncle Sams.