Adelaide Fringe Review: Trafalgar play Classic Bee Gees
@ Grace Emily Hotel. One more show – Sunday 3rdMarch
Review – Geoff Jenke
Trafalgar came about in 2015 when a group of Adelaide musos decided to record a CD EP of classic Bee Gee songs from 1966 to 1972, i.e pre-disco. They followed this up with a few live shows and apparently The Grace Emily suggested they play a few shows as part of the 2019 Fringe.
This evening for me was a collision of two worlds. I don’t particularly like tribute bands but I think the Bee Gees in the period 1966 through to 1972 were one of the finest bands in the world. I love the albums Cucumber Castle, Odessa and Bee Gees 1st, and they wrote the perfect pop singles. So, it was with trepidation I went along to the Grace Emily Hotel.
The opening two songs had me hooked. My World and World were magnificent. The band had three lead singers (as did the Bee Gees of course) and were backed by a drummer, keyboard player and steel guitarist. Charles Jenkins (he of Mad Turks fame) guested on vocals for To Love Somebody with the rest of the band supplying perfect harmonies. Speaking to Charles afterwards, he had nothing but praise for the band Trafalgar.
During How Can You Mend a Broken Heart, the band were joined by a trumpet player, who added to the sound of the song. He also helped out on Spicks and Specks and Lonely Days, Lonely Nights.
The song about mining and a certain Mr Jones received rapturous applause (The song being New York Mining Disaster 1941) and was one of the highlights of the set.
A friend had commented to me when I told him I was going to this show “Oh they had a couple hits during that time, not many though”. Wrong! In the 70-minute set, Trafalgar played 16 bona fide Bee Gees hits and I can name another six at least, that they didn’t play. They also played two album tracks in, In My Own Time and South Dakota Morning ,both equally as good as any of the other songs played in the set.
Greg Blanch on steel guitar gave many of the songs a haunting eerie sound that is a Bee Gee trade mark. The three vocalists were all great and they harmonised perfectly. Wordswas simply stunning and Massachusetts plainly beautiful. They didn’t, however, play the classic song, Trafalgar from which their name came. Such was the fabulous selection of songs played, I can forgive them for this.
The First of May closed the set before an encore performance of I.O.I.O with the keyboard player banging away on the bongo drums and a splendid I Started A Joke (one of my all-time favourite Bee Gee songs) finished the evening. One of the singers joked “Where’s the reviewer in the house? We should buy him a drink”. No, I didn’t ‘fess up for the free drink. Darn them though, I still don’t particularly like tribute bands, but they are going to get 4½ stars for being sensational.
Trafalgar wear their classic Bee Gees heart on their sleeves. Go see them on March 3.