Views on pop culture through my eyes

Posts tagged ‘Barry Gibb’

Winter Reviews 2017

So what have I been enjoying this past fall and winter as far as entertainment? Read on to read my latest reviews of DVDs, movies and CDs. AS always comments are kindly welcomed.

DVDs

Kylie Minogue “Kiss Me Once — Live from the Sse Hydro”
This concert movie was filmed on Kylie’s last tour in Scotland. It has all of the hits, plus the costume and set changes we have come to expect from her. Not to mention cute male dancers. Grade: A-

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
A smart and funny teen movie. An outcast forms a unique friendship with a girl dying from cancer. Earl is his best friend that he makes homemade movies with that spoof classic movies. It is very well written and acted. See it! Grade: A-

The Night Before
Seth Rogen stars along with Anthony Mackie and Joseph Gordon Levitt. Joseph is a widower who hangs out with his 2 buddies on the night before Christmas. They decide that it is going to be the last time. There are some chuckles along the way, but not as funny as you think it would be. Grade: C+

99 Homes
This was a very good movie. It’s about the housing crisis, and it’s effect on one young man and his boss. I preferred this movie over “The Big Short” which was good a bit overrated to me. Michael Shannon is a shrewd real estate man, and Andrew Garfield is the man who gets evicted by him. He ends up working for him, and seeing the other side of things. Grade: A-

Legend
Tom Hardy stars as twin gangsters, Ronald and Reginald Kray. One is straight and the other is gay. They terrorized London in the 1960s. Not as good as I had hoped it would be, but if you are a Tom Hardy fan, worth a look. Grade: B-

Concussion
Will Smith stars in the real life story of Dr. Bennet Omalu. He took on the NFL, after a series of players starting going crazy because of all the concussions they had suffered during their years in the game. Definitely a must see, even if you are not into sports. Grade: A-

Joy
Jennifer Lawrence shines in this story inspired by the inventor of the Miracle Mop. Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper co-star. It shows all the hard work and determination it takes to start a business. Grade: B+

45 Years
This drama stars Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay as a couple on the verge of their 45th wedding anniversary celebration. The husband’s former lover’s body is found in the ice, frozen in an accident 50 years before. This is the event that sets the story in motion. Were they meant to be or did the husband really want to marry the girl that died? Good performances, but overall it was sort of dull. Grade: C+

Eye in the Sky
Helen Mirren heads the cast of this timely drama. She plays a military officer who is in charge of a mission to take out some bad guys in Africa. She is in contact with world leaders and military higher-ups in the British and American governments. The question is should they fire on a house, when there is a chance that the blast will kill a little girl who is near by? What loss of life is acceptable? Should the greater good be taken into account? There are no easy answers in the war on terror. Grade: B

Albums

Lady GaGa “Joanne” Lady GaGa returns with her 4th pop album. Lead single “Perfect Illusion” has failed to take off. It is definitely not the album I expected from her. Very uncommercial, and boring in parts. Mark Ronson produced most of it. The one stand out track for me is “Million Reasons” — a country tune if ever I heard one. Other tracks are sort of 70’s rock inspired. I still love her, but she should realize she is dance artist. Grade: C

Barry Gibb “In the Now” Only the 2nd solo album from the last living Bee Gee. Barry is in fine form, and it sounds like he had fun making this album. He had some help from his sons. I prefer this to recent albums from Lady GaGa and Birtney Spears. Grade: A-

Britney Spears “Glory” Britney is back with her 9th album, featuring lead single “Make Me…” (with G-Eazy). Some decent songs, but at 17 songs on the Deluxe Edition, it doesn’t keep my interest. Most of the songs are sort of mid-tempo dance pop. And not exactly top-notch song-writing either. I am missing the high-energy songs of “Circus” and “Femme Fatale.” Grade: C+

Nick Jonas “Last Year Was Complicated” Nick’s 2nd (or 3rd solo album if you count the one with the Administration) follows the same sort of white-boy pop-rock-soul of the last collection. Except this time he doesn’t have a runaway smash like “Jealous.” Overall, I think it is a better album. Includes the Top Twenty hit with Tove Lo — “Close.” Grade: B

Pentatonix “A Pentatonix Christmas” The a Capella group’s third Christmas album features more reworked classics as well as a couple of new tunes too. Manhattan Transfer is one of the guests. Grade: A-

Kenny Chesney “Cosmic Hallelujah” Kenny’s latest album includes the first 2 singles “Noise” as well as his duet with Pink “Setting the World on Fire.” His albums are always solid, and contain songs you will like after only one listen. Nothing ground breaking here for me, but still enjoyable. Grade: B+

Michael Bublé “Nobody But Me” Another consistent performer who is sticking with his formula: some original tunes, some jazz standards, and a few updates of old pop songs also. All of them have his trademark vocals on them. I like it, but am thinking he should try some different next time. Grade: B

“La La Land” Original Soundtrack  This soundtrack to the modern musical that is one of the top Oscar contenders is a fun souvenir for the movie. It is very jazz oriented, gets your toes tapping and you heart strings going too. If you loved the movie, you need to get this too. Grade: A-

“Moana” Original Soundtrack  This soundtrack to Disney’s latest animated hit, contains all the songs sung in the movie, as well as the orchestral compositions too. Plus bonus tracks also, like pop versions of the 2 main character’s theme songs. Grade: B

Eric Church “Mr. Misunderstood” I am late to the party with this guy. I would see him on country award shows and enjoy his performances. He comes across as a bit of a mix of rebel outlaw and everyday working man. Highlights include “Record Year” and “Kill a Word”. Grade: B

Rascal Flatts “The Greatest Gift of All” This is their first full-length Christmas album. They take the songs you know and perform them in new arrangements. I not so sure about the slow version of “Deck the Halls” though. I do like the a capella parts and it is good to hear the other guys’ voices than just the lead singer. Grade: B

Movies

The Girl on the Train
Emily Blunt stars as the title character. She thinks she sees a woman being murdered from her view on the train. Based on the international bestselling novel, this movie wants to be this year’s Gone Girl. So did she really see a murder, or did she do it herself because she was jealous of the woman? I liked it, but didn’t love it. A good lead performance, but not as shocking as it claimed to be. Grade: B-

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
From J.K. Rowling, this is another wizarding world that centers on magic zooligist Newt Scamander. He has a briefcase that contains magical creatures, that get loose in New York City. Eddie Redmayne stars as the main character. Very special effects heavy, I think it misses the heart of the Harry Potter movies. And I am a big fan of those movies and books. I don’t see how this is going to be a 5 movie series. Grade: C+

Moana
From the creators of Frozen and Zootopia, comes Disney’s latest animated movie: Moana. Moana is a Polynesian girl that must team with a demi-god (voiced by Dwight Johnson) to save her island. Great songs, comedy, action. I enjoyed it very much. Lin-Manual Miranda (Hamilton) had a hand in the song-writing. Grade: A

Moonlight
From director Barry Jenkins, comes the tale of Chiron, a black gay man who is growing up in Miami. The film is divided into 3 sections: childhood, teens and adulthood — with different actors taking on the same role as the movie unfolds. The first 2 sections of the movie were moving to me. It’s the third chapter I had a problem with. I wanted more for the character than what I saw on screen. So ultimately I was a bit disappointed. Good performances overall. Grade: B-

Manchester by the Sea
This drama from writer-director Kenneth Lonergan stars Casey Affleck as a working class guy who has to pick up the pieces once his brother dies suddenly. That includes making funeral arrangements and dealing with his teenage nephew (Lucas Hedges). His character must also face what went wrong with his own life and marriage. Already a major awards contender, it is a movie that shows the messy challenges in everyday life. Grade: A-

Arrival
Amy Adams plays the main character in this science-fiction drama. It concerns aliens coming to earth, and Amy is the lead person that is helping to communicate with the aliens. Jeremy Renner costars as a fellow scientist. There are parts of this movie I liked, but overall, it was just OK to me. More of a thinking sci-fi movie, than an action one. Grade: C+

Lion
One of the surprises in the awards season for me. This movie is sure to tug at your heartstrings. It concerns an Indian boy that gets lost on a train in India. He is not able to get back to his family. He is adopted by a family from Australia and moves there. As an adult, he takes up the task to find his family that he lost. You will be moved by this tale of family (both biological and adopted). Grade: A

A Monster Calls
This fantasy drama centers on a boy who has an active imagination. He imagines a great tree monster that is voiced by Liam Neeson. This monster is very tall, with arms and legs made of twisting branches. The boy is struggling at school with bullying as well as dealing with his Mom in the hospital, and his grandmother taking over raising him for the time being. The look of the movie is very cool, and has some great fantasy sequences. Grade: B+

That’s all for now. Please sound off in the comments. I would love to hear from you. Thanks for reading.

 

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Barry Gibb: Keeping the Music Alive

Barry Gibb in Concert
Wednesday, June 4
Hollywood Bowl

Special Guest: Jared & the Mill

Mythology Tour 2014

Songs performed: Jive Talkin’, You Should Be Dancing, Lonely Days, Our Love (Don’t Throw It All Away), To Love Somebody, How Can You Mend a Broken Heart, Stayin’ Alive, How Deep is Your Love, On Time, I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You, Morning of My Life, New York Mining Disaster 1941, Run to Me, I’m on Fire, Spirits (Having Flown), You Win Again, With the Sun in My Eyes, I Started a Joke, Spicks & Specks, One, Islands in the Stream, Guilty, Woman in Love, Nights on Broadway, Night Fever, More Than a Woman, Grease, Immortality, Words, Tragedy, Massachusetts (video outro)barrygibb

Comments: Barry Gibb, the eldest of the Brothers Gibb, known to the world as the Bee Gees made a triumphant return to the concert scene at the Hollywood Bowl. The Mythology Tour 2014 celebrated the musical legacy of the Bee Gees, and served as a bit of a public memorial to his brother’s lives and music. The tour is named after the Mythology album, a greatest hits anthology that spotlighted each of the brothers: Barry, Robin, Maurice and Andy (who was never in the group). Barry is the only living member of the Bee Gees left (Andy died in 1988, Maurice died in 2003 and Robin died in 2012).

The brothers are one of the most successful pop groups of all time. Their music covered everything from folk, rock, pop, funk and disco. They had already had hits, but “Saturday Night Fever” took them into the stratosphere. And when the disco backlash came, they took their songs to other artists who were happy to work with them (Barbra Streisand, Dionne Warwick, Dolly Parton and others). In my opinion, the brothers are some of the best pop songwriters in history.

Barry is now 67, but he was definitely energized by being back on stage. He played guitar on and off during the evening. He was backed by a full band, including a rhythm section and 3 back-up singers. His oldest son, Stephen played guitar and sang also, plus his niece, Sammy (Maurice’s daughter) sang on a couple of songs too. So he is definitely keeping it in the family!

His son, Stephen, has a very rock-oriented voice and a bunch of tattoos. He sang lead on a song that Maurice wrote called “On Time.” Plus he took over for Robin’s vocals on another song. His niece, Sammy, has a very sweet pop voice, reminiscent of Olivia Newton-John. She performed “You Win Again” by herself and helped out on other songs too.

It was great to see Barry back on stage after all these years… first time in 15 years from what I heard. There were only 6 dates on this tour. So it wasn’t like it was a big tour for him. He joked about being back home with his remote and his sake.

The songs themselves still sounded great. From the tender “How Do You Mend a Broken Heart” and ‘To Love Somebody” to the funk-disco favorites “Stayin’ Alive” and “You Should Be Dancing.” Plus add in all the great songs that the Bee Gees wrote for other artists too… like Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers’ “Islands in the Stream” and Franke Valli’s “Grease” too. And the songs he made famous with Barbra Streisand too, which were sung by Beth — one of his back-up singers.

The middle part of the show was the more acoustic part of the show. And yes, there were a few numbers that I didn’t know (Morning of My Life, On Time, and With the Sun in My Eyes). I guess I will have to get the Mythology collection after all. He also paid tribute to Bruce Springsteen, one of his favorite artists, with a cover of his song “I’m on Fire.” He mentioned that Bruce had covered “Stayin’ Alive” when he was in Australia recently.

The stage had one big video screen on the back of stage plus the smaller ones on the sides. A video tribute started the show, showing funny clips, and old photos of the brothers. He took time to talk about his brothers throughout the show. He mentioned how he was close to Andy and they used to play tennis together. And then he sang Andy’s hit “Our Love (Don’t Throw It All Away).” He made a point of saying he loved and missed each of his brothers by name. For “I Started a Joke”, Barry and Sammy started the song, only to have Robin’s vocals and video play over the rest of the song. It definitely was an emotional night for Barry and for the fans. I remember seeing the brothers 25 years ago at the Universal Amphitheatre. I didn’t know then that would be the last time I would see them as a group.

I also wanted to mention how those disco era songs still sounded great… especially when you consider the retro-revival that has gone on the past few years with “Get Lucky,” Bruno Mars and Justin Timberlake. They definitely created some timeless hits… that still get people moving at parties and events.

He dedicated “Spirits (Having Flown)” to the Miami ladies, who follow him around to all his shows (that is where the family home is). He also dedicated the song “Words” to his wife of 44 years, Linda. And he mentioned that his Mom is still alive too. ‘Tragedy” brought the evening to a close, while a video of the brothers singing “Massachusetts” was shown as people were leaving the theatre. There was 29 songs in the 2.5 hour concert — it was definitely a great career retrospective.

The Bowl itself was only about 70% capacity this night… which is too bad. I was wondering how he would fill the theatre back when the tickets first went on sale. I bought a ticket for Section P, but was able to move to Section F because of the empty seats in the arena. He would have been more suited to play the Greek or the Nokia Theatre at this point in his career. Barry mentioned he may be becoming back soon and playing some more dates this summer. I hope he keeps his promise.

Special guest, Jared and the Mill, from Arizona, had a decent opening set. They are a folk-rock group similar to Mumford and Sons. Some OK songs but how do they differentiate themselves from the pack?

Thanks to Barry and the band for an excellent, awesome, fantastic, and fun evening. I was so happy to be there… I was standing, clapping along and dancing for most the night. Long live the music of the Bee Gees!

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

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