My Love and Hope adventure was truly one of the most memorable of my life, thanks to Barry and Robin reuniting in song for the first time in years and me being able to share in on it, I felt like I witnessed a part of history.
Truly an out of body experience.
left: Barry and Robin together on stage again. right: Close up of Barry on one of the big screens.
My story briefly..... I was able to meet up with other fans with mid-west connections...Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and another gal originally from Minnesota who now lives in Florida. We knew Barry was going to perform and figured we'd do anything and everything to be able to get there this time. The accommodations and flights were especially hard to come by but we thought...this was a chance of a lifetime...and his performance was worth it, no matter what the cost!
When we got to Hollywood (Florida) on Friday we heard "through the grapevine" that there might be a "surprise". And...OK...OK...the wheels are turning in my head...what could it be? Would a miracle happen? They DO you know. Then on Saturday, the day of the ball we saw John Merchant (their music production manager)??? walking toward the ballroom with gear in his hand...he stopped to talk to a fan (VERY nice man by the way very genuine and down to earth...,
I've met him before.....So as he finished talking to her I stopped him for a second and addressed him as "Mr. Merchant" and said I had a quick question. He immediately assured me that he wasn't a "Mr." and to just call him John...we joked for a minute and I told him I was fortunate enough to be able to see the sound check with Barry two years ago and asked if there was any chance Barry might allow a few fans in to see the sound check this time. I said I just needed an honest answer either way and that if he wasn't allowing anyone that was just fine...that we would leave at that point...but I had to ask.
left: Barry on the big screen with his guitar. right: After the performance, before the encore and hand shaking with the fans.
"This time we're going to keep it close to the vest...we aren't allowing anyone in the sound check...but I assure you you'll enjoy the performance...we have a big surprise in store this evening". At that point I just KNEW that it had to be Robin performing. It HAD to be!! So, to me that confirmed it! I'm an optimist....I know miracles DO happen.
The way they did it though was sooooooooooo cool. I heard that the last time Robin made a guest appearance at the Love and Hope that it was toward the end of the performance when he joined Barry and Mo...so that's what I was expecting in my mind.
But.............as the lights lowered....the back up band started playing some really cool beat with drums...kinda reggae in a way...and bluesy too...We didn't really recognise it at first....turns out it was a new rendition of the beginning of JIVE TALKIN'....just totally cool! So that "got" us right there....then with all that energy in the room going on...we were on our feet at this point of course...the UNBELIEVABLE happened!!!
Barry comes out in that bright red shirt and Robin walks out right there with him!!!...and grabs that microphone....(You Robin girls know what I mean ) The crowd went WILD!!!! INCREDIBLE!!!!! Big smiles on their faces, especially Robin's.
They had two big screens on either side of the stage so you could see everything!
Barry shaking hands with fans...looks like he's enjoying himself too.
Their performance was AWESOME! They've still "got it"...never lost it! They even joked a little on stage....Barry was saying something about his "mum" being there and that she should stand up...Robin added a funny quip (I didn't quite hear it) and then Barry adds....something like this...don't quote me here....
"Well what do you expect we're just a bunch of stand up comedians." lol too funny.
I happened to be on a table way in the back of the room and "gushed" to my heart's content.
I was actually hoarse for four days after the ball from yelling and screaming so much during their performance...I kid you not...lol
We were standing most of the time but didn't feel we were in anyone's way except maybe the busboys.
I even caught two of them dancing!...not with each other of course......lol. A number of guests also gathered on the dance floor in the back of the ballroom and danced during the performance...they were totally into it.
There was so much energy in the room! Matter of fact... one of the attendees, an older distinguished gentleman...probably in his 60's or early 70's at the table in front of us was having a high old time as well.
He was standing AND dancing most of the time even had his fingers pointing in the air and was doing a couple of twirls. lol lol (His wife probably didn't appreciate it...she was sitting down trying to pretend she wasn't with him...lol... but he was having the time of his life none-the-less.)
I told him he "totally gets it".
It was so cool how they did the Mo tribute...wonderful pictures and videos of Mo and his family were captured so everyone could view them on the big screens.
That along with the song..."Don't Forget To Remember Me"...was totally emotional to witness...I heard a number of wimpers around me.
Truly a tear-jerking moment. Barry mentioned earlier that the last time the three performed together was at this very Love and Hope Ball 4 years ago and that it was only fitting that now they perform at this same event again.
At the end of the performance when the band was still playing the "You Should Be Dancin" encore...I think....they went down to shake some of the fans hands that had gathered toward the front...
so even though our table was in the back of the ballroom...around 800 to a thousand people there...we made a beeline to the front because we weren't going to miss this moment for nothing!...and just before they left the stage I reached out my hand and first Barry came toward me....
and I held on to his hand for dear life....OMG!!!!! No kidding... then it looked like Robin stood back a second and looked like he was ready to leave and I caught his eye and he came near me too....I'm dyin' here!!!!..... and I got to hold on to his hand too!!!! Right after that they hugged each other and Robin gives the thumbs up...
and I gave it right back at him. It was an out of body experience...let me tell you!!!!
left: Barry shaking hands with fan Debbie next to Pat, taken after the encore.
Here is my friend Cindy's report of her getting that awesome "Hug" picture.
right: Barry and Robin grinning ready to shake more fans hands....
Some details of getting the picture - After Barry and Robin's performance everyone around me was running up to the stage, so I followed ... Anyway, it was like a "mosh pit" in front of the stage and no way could I get close enough to get the "Hand shakes".
I ended up stuck in the corner of the stage near the sound system and this big frame that held the lights. As I was standing there Barry started to walk over towards me! I think he was going to try to shake my hand, but couldn't reach me and then there was Robin pointing towards some other fans that wanted to shake his hand in the front of the stage so they both went back to the front of the stage and continued to shake fans hands.
Then I saw Robin walk right in front of me, and was getting ready to walk to the back of the stage, where some security guards were waiting for them, Robin turned back towards Barry who was walking toward Robin with his arms open, Robin open his arms for Barry and they HUGGED right in front of me.
Then they both walked to the back of the stage, where the security people whisked them down the stairs and I could hear them running behind the curtain! I am assuming they were escorted out to their cars so they wouldn't get mobbed by excited fans.
This is the first time in my life that I have ever been able to see and hear Barry and Robin sing live in person, let alone be that close to them!!!!! I am still pinching myself ... Not in my wildest dream did I think this would ever be a reality for me.
This WAS a dream come true for me and I'm sure all the fans that attended...and many that are reading this. One I'll never forget. I even got to meet their "mum" after the performance...she's such a delight.
I also saw a number of Gibbs there as well...including Ashley and his beautiful wife...and Steve and someone I didn't recognize at the time as being Spencer, Robin's son. Wish I would have been closer and got to meet him too.
Another fan that did meet him noted that he was talking on his cell at the time and held up his hand and said something like he just got done talking with his dad...(Robin)!
OMG... All those family members seem so very kind and genuine.
Linda even waved briefly to us as she entered as we were sitting at the table having cocktails before the ball. What a gorgeous woman she is too.
left: Barry is about to reach out to Robin to get a hug. right: The moment we've all been waiting for, the HUG.
That's my story...sorry for it being so "not so very brief"...LOL...it was truly a memorable time...and thanks to the Bee Gees...I met so many other new fan friends...who totally get it!
Many thanks to Marion for allowing us to post this "Love and Hope Ball Experience"
lef: From left to right: Cindy from Minnesota, Katie from Florida, Debbie from Michigan in the white dress and me Pat (writer of this story), from Minnesota, during the cocktail hour. right: Katie and Pat with Barbara Gibb after the ball....a lovely delightful woman.