It been 40 years since I last saw Barry Manilow, lawn seating and KFC at Ravinia Park outside Chicago. He put on a wonderful show, lots of self-depreciating banter and familiar songs that I’d played as a DJ for 91-Rock WRVU.
‘times change, but Manilow does not.
20,000of his fans filled the O2 this evening, waving glowsticks in unison and singing along with every song. Barry sang for two solid hours without missing a beat or cutting a high note. It’s a lovely display of energy for, and happiness in, doing what he has done for all these years. Sad ballads, nostalgic torch songs, piano bar favorites, he kept things moving and the crowd was absolutely with him.
When he swung into True Blue Miracle and Could It Be Magic, the crowd almost drowned him out with their own renditions.
When he launched into Memories from Cats, the glowsticks changed from swaying to conducting.
Barry is a bit unique in emphasizing the music, as compared to Elton John or Carole King, where the artist’s story is the first association. I can’t tell you anything about Manilow other than that he’s a Jewish kid from Brooklyn. I know that he wrote a lot of songs for other people, and for commercials’ (he didn’t do that medley this time around, it might not have translated to a British crowd), but otherwise all of my associations are with where I was in life when each song was playing on the radio.
It was a marvelous evening, a good crowd filling a vast arena to ‘remember the days, together.