London, NY.... Mattara

WE’LL probably never know what the Bee Gees thought of playing the Mattara Festival.

Maybe they relished it. But possibly not; it was in 1966, just before they left for England in search of greener musical pastures.

The crowd that day at Civic Park, though, loved them. Some compared it to Beatlemania.

The Gees sang two Rolling Stones songs, a Peter Paul and Mary medley, Yellow Submarine by The Beatles and their hit Spicks And Specks.

The backing band didn’t know Spicks And Specks, and mimed along with a record until the needle stuck.

Speaking to the Herald in 2003, musician Rick Pointon said the band made plenty of noise to disguise the glitch and ‘‘no-one seemed to notice or care’’.

In 1962 the Brothers Gibb, as they were known, also played at West Wallsend Workers Club, Maitland RSL and Adamstown RSL.

Yesterday, as news sighed through that Robin Gibb had died, we spoke to a Bee Gee.

That’s a bit disingenuous, actually.

Vince Melouney wasn’t a Gibb, but he was the Bee Gees’ lead guitarist on their first three albums.

He doesn’t remember Robin as one third of a holy disco trinity. They all toured England in the late ’60s.

‘‘We were very immature and naive,’’ Melouney said.

‘‘Him and Maurice were the comedians of the group.’’

Robin wasn’t a night person; wasn’t interested in partying. But when he was funny, he was really funny.

Melouney didn’t have much to do with the Gibbs again until 1999, when he joined them onstage at Sydney’s Olympic Stadium for their One Night Only concert.

The wind-down was the last time he spoke to Robin. They chatted about projects, their families; the things old friends talk about.

The guitarist emailed Robin telling him he’d visit the UK at the end of this year, before word got out about his cancer. He never got a reply.

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