I have the privilege of playing Barry Gibb in the Australian Bee Gees Show, and the study required for this role has been nothing short of life-altering for both my musicianship and humanity. However, by origin I am an American guitar player and singer of blues-based rock music. As a young boy, when I began reading books about my heroes Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, I read about THEIR heroes, men like B.B. King, Muddy Waters, and Buddy Guy. It was then that I first heard of Chicago. Any music historian, least of all myself, can tell you that the blues is Americas gift to all music. That gift originated in the Mississippi delta about 100 years ago, and very soon thereafter was “electrified” in Chicago and given to the rest of the world. It is my personal belief that EVERY style of modern commercial music, whether it be the Beatles, Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, Frank Zappa, Lady Gaga, or the Bee Gees themselves, owes its roots to American blues. That sound began here in Chicago. Chicagoans know this well, and it shows in their tastes. This is why getting to perform here is my honor.
Now that our show has opened to positive reviews, and we have a few minutes of free time, we have had the opportunity to visit some great spots. My personal highlights so far include shopping at Chicago Music Exchange, watching a band at Blue Chicago, visiting the site of Chess Records on south Michigan Avenue (that “sound” I mentioned….yeah….it started there), pizza at Lou Malnati’s, and my personal favorite for the food of my Italian-American family roots, Piccolo Sogno. The best part of Chicago is Chicagoans, and walking with them, talking with them, and finding out where THEY go to enjoy their city. Every day I meet another friendly human who recommends something else to do or see. All the places I mentioned have been recommended to me by people on the street. Tonight, we have plans to go to the foundation room at the House of Blues, something we often do in other cities we play.
So, I’m off to another show tonight at the Broadway Playhouse, which we agree is certainly one of the coolest theaters we have ever seen in the world. It looks and sounds great, and we are happy to call it home this month. The staff are all new friends of ours, and we have friendly interactions every day before and after shows. It’s an important venue for show business, and we hope it’s around for a long time and continues to bring a high standard of shows and entertainment to its city. We are humbled to be in that kind of company. See you at the gig!
– Matt Baldoni (Barry Gibb)