From Vegas to Penrith: Bee Gees show returns home

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Though he admits that being involved in a Bee Gees tribute show was never his goal initially, Michael Clift said he saw the signs when the reception he got when playing their songs at corporate gigs was so positive, prompting him to start up a band for a bit of fun.

“It was never meant to be our main focus, we just thought it was a brilliant idea,” he said.

But, when people started liking it, Clift recalls conversations starting around who they wanted to be. Was it a matter of singing a few covers, or going all-in on authenticity?

“We soon realised that we needed to put more effort into it, so then it’s a case of, how much effort do you put into it, is it really worth it?” he said.

“It was then that we decided that it’s a great idea, and it really deserved our respect and our 110 per cent.”

It was then that Clift decided to become Barry Gibb, taking the time to master those high notes, and the quintessential Bee Gees sound.

To no-one’s surprise, this was when people started to respond, allowing Clift to take the show internationally. But, a tour in the US is when things truly changed.

“The US is a tough market, you have to be on your A game to nail it, and I think at that point when we did that and we got back, we felt like we did a good job, and we just had a different confidence,” he said.

Clift and the The Australian Bee Gees Show ended up scoring a Vegas residency, which has seen them perform to thousands, and continue to do so into next year.

According to Clift, this has been a phenomenal journey.

“If I wake up one morning and think about it, you think, ‘This can’t be real’, because we’ve been here for 13 years,” he said.

“We’re in Excalibur six nights a week, we’ve done over 4000 shows. People come to hear the Bee Gees’ music, and we deliver! It’s like sprinting a marathon. We don’t rest.”

This month, Clift will be heading back to Australia for the first time since before the pandemic, and he’s bringing the band along with him for a few shows.

“It’s a big deal for us to come back to Australia, especially for me because I’ve been in Vegas for 13 years. My family is here, my friends are here, so it’s a beautiful thing,” he said.

According to Clift, the show which will be taking to the Evan Theatre stage later this month is much the same as their Vegas stuff, allowing for Penrith locals to get a taste of Vegas, and a great Aussie success story, right here at home.

“For us, it’s a celebration of the whole catalogue of the Bee Gees, with less focus on the ‘60s and ‘70s,” he said.

“We’re taking the Vegas show on the road, and that’s what we love about it. When we say ‘direct from Vegas’, it’s direct from Vegas.”

The Australian Bee Gees Show will be on at Panthers on Thursday, August 18 at 8pm. Tickets: $45. Visit penrith.panthers.com.au.


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