You would never know that Barry Manilow had a tough bout with bronchitis and had to postpone the opening of his show on Broadway, before I saw him on my 45th wedding anniversary, February 21, 2013. Barry & I go back as far as my husband and me. You can’t have nostalgia without the past, so this was the perfect way to celebrate.
Mr. Manilow can still sing. And, sing he does. I can honestly say I haven’t heard some of the song lyrics in ‘a long time,’ but I had no problem belting them out as the entire audience sang along with each song.
Each audience member received a glow stick prior to the performance. Initially I thought it would be a distraction, but, in the end, it worked well as we waved our sticks to songs like, Mandy, Even Now and many of his other megahits. We danced in our narrow isles to Copacabana with little regard to the person next to us, who was doing the same.
There were some shining moments for me especially when he sang, This One’s For You. He paid tribute to his grandpa as he showed video of a little Barry recording his voice for 25 cents in an old-time New York storefront recording studio. I believe everyone in the audience had that same experience.
He was in great shape as he swiveled his hips and danced around the stage while he sang his songs. You only need to hear the first piano note and already you know what song both he and you will be singing. He covered the Best of Manilow with class and style, and he did an admirable job of relating to the audience with each song he sang. Every time he sat by the piano, I had the feeling someone in the audience was going to throw some piece of underwear on stage. I haven’t heard screams like that since I saw the Beatles at Forest Hills Tennis Stadium back when.
What I love about New York Theater is, you walk in knowing no one and you walk out having conversations with people you will never see again about how great the show was.
Manilow is now 69 years old and I shiver to think about what will happen when all my favorite performers will be too old to sing the songs that once made the whole word sing. Since we all will be aging along with Mr. Manilow, I don’t think we would much care whether he sings standing up or sitting down. A legend is a legend.