Do you know what this is a picture of??
It’s several hundred people jam-packed in a sold out Barry Manilow concert! Just in case you ever wondered what it looks like, here’s a photo for reference. He came rolling into our town last Wed on his farewell concert and my mom and I went downtown to see him. In all truthfulness, I didn’t go to see him – I wanted to see his special guest, Dave Koz. He’s an amazing jazz saxaphonist who I’ve loved for a number of years and I was giddy at the chance to see him live. Mr. Manilow was just the icing on the cake. In fact, because it was a week-night I had even entertained notions of leaving early! But I’m so glad we stayed for the whole concert. I really had no idea what to expect from Barry Manilow – but he was phenomenal! He interacted well with the audience, came across as a gracious man without being arrogant, and he sang a great selection of songs. Backdrops and lighting enhanced the songs, but weren’t gaudy. I’ve never been to a concert where the audience so obviously loved the performer that much. In fact, at several times, it seemed to take Mr. Manilow by grateful surprise too.
I had gone into the concert thinking I’d like 3-4 of his songs – those really big numbers you immediately think of. But as he sang for us, I kept thinking “I forgot this was his song – I love this one!” I liked everything he sang – except Copacabana – I’ve never appreciated that one. He told interesting stories in between his selections and wove a magical web of music for us that night. My favorite moment was when the stage went black, and then a TV clip from the 70s came on with Manilow singing “Mandy” as a very young man. After the first verse, the spotlight shown on the stage, and there he was on the piano joining in with his taped-version from over 40 years ago. He sang a duet with himself and it was just incredible. His voice still sounds the same. It’s incited a minor “Manilow obsession” manifested by locating all his CDs I own and playing them over and over… trying to get the feeling again (sorry, couldn’t resist that one!) I did really have concert withdrawal over the next few days – I enjoyed the experience so much. It was made all the more special by knowing it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a man who defined popular music for decades and inspired so many with his wonderful talent and love for music. I didn’t know till I saw him come to the stage how much he had meant to my life, quietly singing in the background of my heart. Mr. Manilow, thank you for singing the songs that make the whole world sing ..sing of love and happy things. I’m grateful to have been a part of it, if only for a few hours.
Blessings to you,