Live Review: In Las Vegas, Barry Manilow Exudes Music and Passion

Published on October 22nd, 2011

barry
October 9, 2011 – A historic looking theatre. Thousands of red glow sticks are in the air. In the distance, a fan screams out with pure anticipation. A shadowy figure emerges and suddenly his name explodes in white letters behind him. He’s a bona fide music legend who owns the very stage he walks on this night. His eyes are sparkling, his arms extending as he reaches the chorus. He’s Barry Manilow, and Las Vegas is his town.

A certain few people are just born to entertain. Barry Manilow is one of those few. As he walks out onto the stage of the Paris Las Vegas Theatre (the most romantic destination in Las Vegas as both their ads and Manilow himself will tell you), every bit about him demands attention. From his gradiose poses to the trembling in his voice still evident when he sings the bridge of “Mandy”, Manilow is the consummate showman.

This show on the 9th of October was likely somewhere between 4 and 5,000 for the record-shattering musician who started off as just another kid in Brooklyn. In fact he’s probably approaching the 1,000 mark since 2005 when he began his stay in Las Vegas. But there’s no sense of repetition in this concert.

He starts solo with a background of stars before a full band floats out from nowhere as he begins with what he does best – a medley of hits. It’s chorus after chorus in rapid succession, building and building until he finally takes a seat at the piano bench to take it down a notch. Now the lights have calmed down and the band retreated to the shadows, and it’s about this time when the power of his voice sets in. So powerful is the 68-year-old’s voice that it’s doubtful he even needs a microphone.

The type of singing that Manilow does takes an enormous amount of breath; it’s stunning to hear him hit huge notes – and then hold them. And hold them. And…hold them.

His unchanged ability is brought to the forefront when a young version of himself glides down on a large video screen. It’s one of his earliest live performances of “Mandy”. As the two Manilows echo each other, it’s hard to decide which one brings the most chills.

There are many turns in his refreshingly unpredictable set. One minute there are the staples “Bandstand Boogie” and “New York City Rhythm”, and then from way out of left field comes “Brooklyn Blues”. If you thought you’d never get to hear the standout track from 1987′s over-the-top jazz-synth album, you were wrong. Manilow took to his piano to hammer out the synth parts and gave a vocal performance that was almost too convincing.

He also brought new songs from the just-released ’15 Minutes’ album. The title track was pleasant, but it was the newly crafted ballad “Bring on Tomorrow” that brought down the house. Hearing the song live is a reassuring experience. The king of the ballads can still write ‘em.

When taking a trip to Las Vegas, there are some sights you just can’t leave without seeing. There’s the Flamingo, the Palazzo, the Bellagio, the Monte Carlo, and of course, the Barry Manilow. Skipping a few of the casinos is acceptable, but skipping the Manilow is not. He embodies the spirit of entertainment, indulges himself and his fans in every note of singing and leaves audience wanting just a bit more. Out of many entertainers that have captivated the masses through time, out of many attractions in a city that offers it all, one of them emerges as absolutely unforgettable. Barry Manilow, this town is yours.

 

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Comments

  1. Posted by Rose on October 22nd, 2011, 16:06 [Reply]

    I wanted to say THANK YOU for such a wonderfull and honest review of Barrys show. It is refreshing to see such a review by, what I am assuming is what we call a civilian….,forgive me if that offends you it is not my intent but usually u get that type of review from a die hard fan. I can only hope that you have heard his music before and this made it even better. I love how u captured his passion in your words and photos, which are awesome by the way,and show the world what a magnificant perform and muscian he is. Thanks again and I hope you get to see him again before he leaves Vegas in Dec.

    Rose

  2. Posted by Helen Holdun on October 22nd, 2011, 23:10 [Reply]

    Dear Mr. Becker,

    You beautifully captured the musician, showman, person that is Barry Manilow.

    In the past four and half years, I’ve seen his show in Vegas and at other venues, more times than I can count. I’ve written a review about each and every one. I feel as you do in everything you said.

    Four years ago, my oldest son saw his show in Cleveland. He was 18 at the time and pointed out that what he respects most about Barry is the way he owns the stage, grasps the audience and holds them in the palm of his hand from first note to last.

    A Manilow show is indeed not one to be missed. A Manilow album is one that needs to be heard. Many may try to imitate, but none will ever capture the essence of the consummate showman, genius composer and beautiful person that is Mr. Barry Manilow.

    His music was the catalyst in changing my life four years ago which has led to a wonderful journey during which time I discovered a passion for writing that has become one of the greatest joys I’ve ever known. For that Barry will always have my utmost respect, gratitude and admiration.

    Vegas without Barry Manilow will be like lobster without butter. It’s ok, but something will be missing and it just won’t be worthwhile.

    Helen Holdun

  3. Posted by Dawn Downes on October 23rd, 2011, 11:54 [Reply]

    THANK YOU!!!!!!! Do you have ANY idea how REFRESHING a review like this is to someone who has been a long time Barry Manilow fan??? Thank you for letting us know that you had such a wonderful time. I felt like I was there and your pictures are GREAT
    Dawn

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