The Bee Gees won numerous awards during the group’s decades in the spotlight. Throughout a long career, the band produced songs across various genres, from rock to disco and R&B. Now, the Bee Gees’ sound is blasting back from the past to Columbus for a one-night event at the Ohio Theatre.
The Columbus Symphony Orchestra is set to perform 8 p.m. Saturday with Stayin’ Alive, a professional Bee Gees tribute band. Stayin’ Alive is a group whose performance features electric guitars, bass and live drums in collaboration with a full symphony. Accompanying this mix of instruments is a multimedia experience, with original footage and photos from the Bee Gees previewed alongside the tribute performance.
Assuming the role of Robin Gibb, one of the three brothers in the original Bee Gees’ lineup, Todd Sharman performs lead and backing vocals.
“It’s a very unique type of sound that the Bee Gees have. They’re one of those bands that defined an era,” Sharman said. “They have a lot of staying power, they’re iconic.”
The Bee Gees are sometimes considered only for the golden oldies, but Sharman said their music has some staying power.
“We see a large cross section of age groups from kids to adults,” Sharman said. “Sometimes kids even come dressed as the Bee Gees, with fake beards and everything. Their music spans three decades, so it hits a lot of age groups.”
Sharman said the idea for the Bee Gees tribute stemmed from the fact that the symphonic aspect of the Bee Gees hadn’t been greatly explored.
“If you listen to the Bee Gees … symphonic music is already written into it. It really lends itself to symphonies,” Sharman said.
Chris Mullin, the bass player for the band, said in an email that playing alongside a symphony enhances the performance.
“We are the only Bee Gees tribute band in the world that performs with symphonies,” he said. “There is nothing like the power of having a full orchestra behind you.”
However, playing alongside a symphony with modern electrical instruments isn’t easy.
“When we perform with symphonies, the stage volume is a huge concern. An acoustic instrument, such as a violin or oboe, can’t compete with an amplifier,” Mullin said. “To ensure that the symphony is heard … all of our amplifiers are off stage and routed to our in-ear systems. The stage volume from us is near to nothing. We know that we have to blend with the symphony and not overpower it.”
Rolanda Copley, publicist for the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts, said in an email it isn’t unusual to see a non-classical act at the CSO.
“The CSO has a Pops series each year which features performances from artists that are not necessarily considered ‘classical,’ but have charted their music for orchestra,” she said. “The CSO felt it would be a thoroughly enjoyable evening for fans of their music and provide a quality musical performance as well.”
Although the group is originally from Canada and has played in Ohio before, this will be its first time visiting Columbus.
“We had an awesome reception in Ohio the last time we played. The people in Ohio are very responsive to shows,” Mullin said. “We are excited about coming to Columbus.”
The Ohio Theatre is located at 39 E. State St. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased at the CAPA Ticket Center or through Ticketmaster.