The Robertson Brothers 1960’s Variety TV Show
Performed by Geoff, Ben and Stuart Robertson
and Simon Brook McLachlan
Reviewed at The Art House, Wyong
Reviewed by Ron Lee, CSP
Baby Boomers will insist that by far the greatest and most significant era in the history of popular music is the sixties. That was the decade that gave us The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Gerry and The Pacemakers, The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Dave Clark Five and Pink Floyd, and they’re only the British Bands. Add to those the American and Australian groups and individual performers and you have a massive catalogue of memorable classics.
Geoff, Ben and Stuart Robertson and special guest, Simon Brook McLachlan, have slotted into a niche that will continue for as long as the boomers live and younger people who were brought up listening to the music continue to like it.
The format is a 1960s television show in which we are the studio audience and the big television screen becomes an integral part of the performance, sometimes too dominant because it pulls focus away from the four singers.
The opening is a video of the legendary Frank Ifield singing his global hit, I Remember You.
Then Geoff and Ben perform The Everly Brothers hits, Wake Up Little Susie, All I Have to Do is Dream, Cathy’s Clown and Bye Bye Love.
There were the early Bee Gees hits, To Love Somebody, New York Mining Disaster 1941, I Started Joke, Spicks and Specks and Massachusetts.
We heard from The Seekers, with George Girl, I’ll Never Find Another You and Morningtown Ride.
Appearing with The Robertson Brothers was Simon Brook McLachlan who performed a Neil Sedaka set that included Oh! Carol, Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen, Breaking Up Is Hard to Do and Calendar Girl.
He also did a superb Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons set with Walk Like a Man, Sherry and Can’t Take My Eyes Off You. I later found out that for three years, McLachlan was an understudy (the old school term for “alternate”) for Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio in Jersey Boys.
Other songs were Hey Jude, Runaway and Runaround Sue.
Showing family childhood slides could be self-indulgent, but when the photos came up on the screen while the three brothers performed The Hollies’ He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother with emotion, it was enthralling, and I sensed that there could be a deeper aspect to that song for them.
To assist in taking us back to the mood of the sixties, the band played the theme tunes from Hogan’s Heroes, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, Mr Ed, Skippy and Gilligan’s Island, and on the screen were television commercials for Vegemite, Brylcreem, Cadbury’s Caramel Whip, Gossamer Hair Spray, Coke and Aeroplane Jelly.
The Robertson Brothers had a crack at comedy, but their forté is outstanding musicianship and passion for the music.
With the show resuming after a long, enforced recess, the only other live musician on stage was a guitarist. The rest of the band was on the screen.
If you shut your eyes during the show, you won’t be thinking that you’re hearing the original artists. These guys are excellent performers, not impressionists, although McLachlan’s Frankie Valli goes close.
If most of the songs mentioned in this review went through your head as you read the titles, you might want to check The Robertson Brothers website to find out where they’re playing.