It is neat, at my age, when everything old is suddenly new again, well, in a sense, I guess. If you are a fan of the legendary trio of Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb, a.k.a. the Bee Gees, the Waterville Opera House is the place to be on June 8 because that is where the Bee Gees Gold: The Tribute will be performing. By now you’re probably aware of my love of vocal harmonies and the sibling harmonies of that original group made the disco era tolerable for me — I far prefer their pre-Saturday Night Fever material, truth be told, so when I heard that a tribute band was coming to central Maine, it was a no-brainer to seek out a chat. On April 22, I placed a call to Las Vegas, Nevada, to chat with John Acosta to find out more concerning Bee Gees Gold and their upcoming performance in Waterville.

Q: I want to thank you for this opportunity to chat with you today — I appreciate it greatly. I seem to be doing a lot of tribute bands of late and this one, being a huge fan of the band, is intriguing to me because I’ve never heard of a tribute act for them.
A: Well, I’m ready to go.

Q: How long have you been doing this?
A: I now have been looking at about 15 years, personally, playing Barry Gibb in all kinds of tributes and then I basically invested in my own tribute: owning it, producing it — which is Bee Gees Gold — for the last 10 years.

Q: Are there many other tributes out there? I hate to show my ignorance but yours is the first one I’ve heard of.
A: Oh, yeah, there’s quite a plethora of tributes out there — it is something that represents the true quality of the Bee Gees repertoire that’s still touching people today.

Q: Is there’s a particular part of their decades-long career that you focus upon.
A: Yeah, there definitely is because I’m in my late 50s and I remember the Saturday Night Fever period. I was only 10 years old but my show emphasizes the white suits and the era of freedom to dance, and some of this music is just undeniable — people will escape back to 1977 and that’s what we really stress on as the show builds into that era. Of course, the show starts off with the hit songs from the 60s, so it touches on a little bit of everything.

Q: Well, having just turned 75, that’s why I wanted to do this interview because their earlier music was so impactful on me, those close harmonies were really compelling as well as entertaining. Do you do any deep cuts or is it just basically the hits?
A: No, we’ve got the deep cuts and some surprises in store.

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Q: How so?
A: We’ll do Yvonne Elliman, we’ll do Andy Gibb, we do the songs that we personally love. It’s a 90-minute show so I’m telling you, they have more than 90 minutes of hits — this is a band that doesn’t have a filler!

Q: That was another quality of the Bee Gees, every album was listenable from beginning to end, and that’s basically how I went through their entire catalogue. So you’ve been doing this for a while, is it hard putting together a set list with so many songs to choose from?
A: No, it’s my joy. I put the set list together bringing in new songs, but it’s something that you just can’t lose: you can switch around the set and it’s just one hit after the other, one touching song after the other, so the combination of moving people, making them remember and then it’s just one well-written track after the other. It’s my joy to switch it up and bring in new songs and have people react, especially bringing in Andy Gibb’s songs.

Q: I was aware of his material but I didn’t follow him as closely as I did his three other brothers. Now, when it comes to the show do you have a rhythm section behind you?
A: Yeah, I’m the rhythm guitarist and lead singer, the keyboard player is ‘Maurice,’ and then we have a drummer and we have a bass player; so it’s the five of us — the whole team.

Q: I mentioned the sibling harmonies earlier but that aspect of the Bee Gees really transcends any other kind, blood harmonies are very special, like The Carpenters.
A: They are — right from the Beach Boys and the Everly Brothers — there’s just no comparison, it’s just there: in the blood, in the vocal tone … it’s angelic.

Q: And to recreate that must be hard because that’s a high register in which to work.
A: It sure is, yeah, and I’ve been doing it for a long time … when I got the opportunity to be doing this full-time I certainly went and studied him more, but I was naturally in that range — falsetto-wise — since a kid, so I decided to really study this unique sound that just transcends people to a better time.

Q: Now you have two other vocalists, as well — right?
A: Yeah, it’s me doing the Barry Gibb character, so I’m singing but I gladly share the spotlight and pass on the microphones over to the Maurice character for some songs and then, of course, the Robin character does the Robin hits, which is only about three or four … that doesn’t fill a show so he will also take care of Andy Gibb. It is a full-rounded show.

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Q: And speaking of your show, have you ever performed it up in Maine before?
A: Now, I can’t recall if I have; maybe I did play but I’m certainly so excited to play in June on the 8th. I’ve definitely been to Maine I just can’t remember if I’ve played there.

Q: What can folks expect from your Waterville Opera House performance?
A: Well, they’re going to go back in time, they’re going back to ’77 and they’re going back to freedom — to dance and to express — it’s a time trip, ya know? I advise everybody to dress up for the night, put on some platforms — carefully, of course (chuckle) — and really forget that it is 2024 … just remember when they were teens and dancing to this great music on the radio.

Q: How long to you want to do this tribute?
A: I am 56 right now and I think I could go on until I’m 75, ya know? But with this travel situation it’s a different story because the way these flights are to get everywhere are probably the worst these last four years for the airline situation, as we all know. But loving what I’m doing? Oh, man I’ll do it until I’m dead.

Q: Is there anything that you’d like me to pass on to the folks reading this article?
A: Yeah, just let everybody know that we’re looking forward to taking them back to 1977 — that’s about it!

 

Lucky Clark, a 2018 “Keeping the Blues Alive” Award winner, has spent more than 50 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at luckyc@myfairpoint.net if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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