Whether youâ€™re a fan of Barry Manilow or not, you gotta love the â€śUltimate Manilowâ€ť show at the Las Vegas Hilton. It has all the glitz and glamour of any Vegas show with the talent of a great pop singer/composer. How can you listen to â€ś Copacabanaâ€ť and not get up and dance? Impossible.
Manilow has been at the Hilton for five years, in the very same room where Elvis appeared decades ago. Itâ€™s a large theatre with traditional seating in front of the stage and some special seating on the sides with cocktail tables where you can enjoy a drink while you watch the show.
As you enter the auditorium youâ€™re presented with the obligatory glow sticks, which I thought Iâ€™d never use, but, believe me, when everyoneâ€™s waving them side to side high above their heads as Manilow croons â€ś Mandy,â€ť yeah, you fall in with the crowd.
The show is a virtual multi media event with a video screen in the background displaying stills and video of Manilow past, getting started on â€ś American Bandstandâ€ť and with his grandfather, the man he says inspired his musical career, dragging him weekly to Times Square to sing â€śHappy Birthdayâ€ť on a record you could cut for 25 cents. What a story!
Thereâ€™s also footage of him singing â€ś Mandyâ€ť on the â€ś Midnight Specialâ€ť in 1975, and when the video screen lifts, we seen Manilow live at the piano. Great staging!
His band is top notch, and he keeps them in the loop. During â€ś City Lights,â€ť one of his disco hits, he has three of his keyboard artists take turns at the piano improvising a riff. They do it one after another, following Manilow at the piano. The four backup singers are also impressive and have a chance to solo during some of the numbers, although Manilow is rarely off the stage. If he has a wardrobe change, itâ€™s always right in front of the audience.
I donâ€™t think he missed singing any of his hits from his opening medley which includes â€ś Somewhere in the Nightâ€ť and â€ś This Oneâ€™s For You,â€ť to the final production number â€ś Cobacabanaâ€ť where a massive catwalk comes down from the ceiling and allows him and his backup singers to walk out into the audience to get up close and personal. This, along with a dazzling light show and finally a shower of silver streamers. Be careful, you can get quite tangled up in the process.
About the only number Manilow didnâ€™t perform was â€ś I Write the Songs,â€ť although the band plays it at curtain call. Well, maybe in his next show.
And if seeing Barry Manilow on stage isnâ€™t enough, as you exit the theatre youâ€™ll pass the Barry Manilow shop that has everything from T-shirts to mugs to, well, you name it!
Barry Manilow is ranked as the top Adult Contemporary chart artist of all time, according to Radio & Records and Billboard magazines. Rolling Stone crowned him â€śa giant among entertainers... the showman of our generation,â€ť and Frank Sinatra summed up Manilow best when Olâ€™ Blue Eyes told the British press, â€śHeâ€™s next.â€ť
Tickets for â€śUltimate Manilow: The Hitsâ€ť range from $95 to $225 per seat.
You can call the Las Vegas Hilton Box Office 24 hours a day at 800-222-5361 for tickets or book online at lvhilton.com.