IN what must be a pilgrimage for every die-hard Bee Gees fan, top tribute act Stayin Alive UK are making the journey across the Irish Sea to the birthplace of their idols, for a performance at Peel’s Centenary Centre on Saturday.
Presented by JTB Promotions in association with Manx2.com the look and soundalikes of the famous falsetto trio will bring their painstakingly authentic live show to the intimate western venue.
The people of Peel will likely only settle for a top performance, having seen a slice of the real thing when Robin Gibb played the Peel Bay Festival in 2007, alongside The Who, Madness, The Stranglers, Ronan Keating, Sugababes and McFly.
In another connection with the Sunset City, Robin also bought a home just outside the town in 2006.
The Stayin Alive UK tribute act has been in the business for 15 years, and the set list will span three decades of pop hits including How Deep Is Your Love, Night Fever, Tragedy, Massachusetts, and Gotta Get a Message to You.
Whether they’ve done their homework and been rehearsing the Bee Gees’ version of Manx traditional standard Ellan Vannin will be revealed on the night.
Far from being long in the tooth, the band continue to tour theatres, cruise ships and hotels everywhere from the UK, Europe, Asia and the USA.
The current incarnation includes Bill Howard as Barry Gibb, on vocals and guitar, singer Jimmy Stanley as Robin, and multi-instumentalist Alan Leather as Maurice.
The rest of the band - known as The Night Fever Band – include Mahap McPherson on bass, Rob Newbrook on lead guitar and Dennis Peep on drums.
Founder Jimmy decided to form the band following a successful appearance on ITV show Stars In Their Eyes in 1994, performing Massachusetts as Robin Gibb, attracting national media attention in the process.
He said he started singing aged three, in front of jukeboxes at seaside resorts, a path that would lead him to three titles (aged 13, 14 and 15) in the Butlin’s Star Trail National Talent Contest.
He dabbled in the world of tribute acts, playing Buddy Holly for Channel 4 programme Weekly Review, and starring as Freddie Mercury in London’s West End in the musical Freak-Out!
But it was ultimately the performance as Robin Gibb on the Saturday night prime-time singing show that would shape the rest of his professional career.
Also in the band from the early days is the uncannily similar Alan Leather as Maurice Gibb.
With a 25-year background in the gig circuit, Alan started out in a duo before joining a local five-part harmony band, which stood him in good stead for an audition to supply the Maurice Gibb harmonies to Stayin Alive UK.
Like Maurice, he brings a musicality to the band.
He plays keyboards, bass and electric guitars, and his attention to detail in sound and music technology helps keep Stayin Alive UK sounding professional.
More recent addition Bill Howard joined the band in 2007 after a spell as a solo cover artist. He always found that the Bee Gees material went down best.
When he heard Stayin Alive were auditioning for a Barry, there was no turning back.
In an interesting anecdote, in 2010 the band were asked to record a Bollywood-style version of Stayin Alive as a soundtrack for the film It’s a Wonderful Afterlife, a British horror/comedy from Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha.
For Saturday’s show in Peel, tickets are £16.
They are available from Celtic Gold in Peel, Shakti Man in Ramsey, Thompson Travel in Port Erin, or online at www.centenarycentre.com
Doors open at 7pm, while the show starts at 8pm.
It would be a tragedy to miss it.