You will never again have the pleasure of seeing the original Gibb brothers in concert. But the tribute show, The Australian Bee Gees, direct from Las Vegas, is the next best thing.
These highly talented vocalists perform six shows a week at the Excalibur Hotel on the famous Vegas Strip. There are touring members and those who play mostly in Vegas, depending on who is available to tour.
Michael Clift, who formed the troupe and performs as Barry Gibb in the show, says the cast has been working together for almost eight years, racking up in excess of 2500 performances across 60 countries. They will add Japan to that list once a tour their later this year is locked away.
“They’ve [Gibb brothers] got a few years on us yet, but we definitely have performed more shows than they did in their career,” Clift says.
Although there are strong resemblances to the Gibb trio, Clift says unless they are in costume and out together for something, they don’t get stopped in the street by fans.
He says the group are as close as brothers. “When you have spent almost half your life with people you do become family. We’ve watched each other’s kids grow up, and been there during the ups and downs of family life. We enjoy hanging out together. We have moments creatively, but there’s never any animosity, it’s just feeling passionately and wanting to get your viewpoint heard.”
Clift says if they didn’t have such a strong connection they wouldn’t be as effective on stage portraying the Gibbs. “We try to make a special connection with our audience so it’s an event, they feel like they have been to a live concert by the Bee Gees.”
He believes people are getting back into live music and that’s why Australian bands of the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s are back touring. “With spotify and digital music you can’t make your money from albums so you tour and sell more merch.”
Only a handful of shows have continual residencies on the strip. The Australian Bee Gees have been re-signed to 2028. “We’re really happy about it. We’re very consistent, a safe bet, and the casino wanted to make sure we didn’t look around. The offer was too good to refuse.”
He says they get repeat business and new people. “It’s a nice balance. One family from the Netherlands has seen it [the show] 34 times. And a guy from Texas has moved to Vegas and keeps coming back.”
One of the hardest things for Clift is to hit the high notes when on tour. “Vegas is dry and for the first two years it was hard to acclimatise. Then you go on the road. Your vocal chords have to adjust to humidity. Sammy Davis Jr. called it Vegas throat.”
Alongside Clift on stage are Paul Lines as Robin, Nathan Gilkes as Maurice, Paul Miller on bass guitar and Robi Parolin on drums.