Barry Gibb playing Sydney's Sound Relief

Will be first major Australia concert since Bee Gees days

BRISBANE, Australia -- Barry Gibb, the singer, songwriter and eldest brother in the Bee Gees, is returning to Australia to perform on the Sydney stage for Saturday's Sound Relief concert, organizers said Wednesday.

Gibb's headline performance for the bushfire benefit concert at the Sydney Cricket Ground will be his first major concert in Australia since the Bee Gees played at the city's Olympic Stadium in 1999.

The show will represent a homecoming of sorts. Gibb and his sibling bandmates spent their formative years in Australia, earning their stripes in the music industry with a string of hits while still at school in Brisbane. History tells that the Gibb brothers later returned to the U.K., and went on to become one of the most formidable recording acts of all time.

Gibb, who said he has always retained a close spiritual link with Australia, said: "I am truly proud and honored to be a small part of such an incredible event. I shall be there with wings on my heels to help in any way I can the victims of this terrible disaster, let's make it count for all of them. I'm coming home."

Promoter Michael Chugg, one of the cornerstones of the team behind the Sydney leg of Sound Relief, adds, "It was beyond our wildest dreams to have someone of the caliber of Barry Gibb close the Sydney concert. With the vision and assistance of (live music veteran) Kevin Jacobsen and (veteran broadcaster) Molly Meldrum we have made this a reality in five short days."

The Sound Relief benefit shows have already broken box office records. The final batch of the 78,000-plus capacity Melbourne Cricket Ground recently sold out, making it the biggest selling concert in Aussie history. Only a handful of tickets remain for the 40,000-plus capacity SCG.

Acts lined up to perform at the events include Coldplay, Kylie Minogue, Kings of Leon, Midnight Oil, Jack Johnson, Split Enz and the Presets.

All profits from the MCG event will be donated to help rebuild communities shattered by bush fires in the state of Victoria. Money raised from the Sydney concert will be split 50/50 between the Red Cross Victorian Bushfire Appeal and the Premier's Disaster relief Fund Appeal in support of victims of the floods in the state of Queensland.

With confirmation of Gibb's participation as the final act in Sydney, the bill for Sound Relief is effectively settled. Organizers, however, are adamant that some mystery moments should thrill the audience.

Both cities will cross to each other with a simultaneous broadcast at 7.45pm, where there will be a "special announcement" and a minute silence to remember those who lost their lives in the Victorian bushfires. "There are a few secrets in there which will probably cause a shock to the nation. History is going to be made," promoter Joe Segreto, one of Chugg's cohorts in producing Sydney event, said.

"The magnitude of these events, well they're really huge given the amount of time we have to get it together," Segreto said. "Where it becomes incredibly stressful, is we have to pull out miracles in such a short period of time. And boy this time have we pulled off miracles."