Friday, February 22, 2008

It was "Magic" in Dallas

This night in Dallas will go down as one of my most favorite Manilow memories. My daughter and I had never attended a concert together and we made an evening of it. A little too much wine at dinner, and we were ready to ROCK the house at the American Airlines arena!

Since this was her first concert and the first time she has ever sat that close to the stage, she was pumped. She chatted with the ticket takers, those selling the programs; she commented on the "tacky" shirts they were selling (she was not a fan of the picture on the tour shirt--I have to agree with her on that one), and she laughed and joked with a middle aged gentleman selling beer. He asked her if she was a fan and she said, yes, but that I was the "real" fan and she fully expected me to act "crazy" during the concert. He pulled her aside and told her that she should enjoy it with me and that it was 90 minutes in my life of pure joy (he got that right) and she should be happy she got to see me experience it.

When we found our seats (4th row center) she started mingling with the fans all around us. She wanted to know how many shows they had seen, had they been to Vegas, how long they had been fans. Then she started asking them about the Barrynet and if they were familiar with the "leather gang". She told them all it was better than a soap opera (again, she was right). I was cracking up. It was one of those priceless monumental memories that I will never forget.

I have to say again...Brian Culbertson is amazing. That young man is so incredibly talented. He can crawl into a jazz song like no other. The musicians that accompany him are just as talented and the Earth Wind and Fire medley that they do had the house on their feet rocking. I found myself wishing that we could hear more, but I was would delay the entrance of the one I had come to see: the shadowman himself...Mr. Barry Manilow!

The music began and then the infamous "right here, right now" started. It was amazing watching the show through my daughter's expressions and excitement. When he walked out on stage I, of course, became ecstatic. She started laughing and smiling and gave me a huge hug. He began with his usual
It's a Miracle medley. I never get tired of hearing him sing those songs. And it was great for my daughter because she knew every one of them and was enjoying it immensely.

The show is different from the last time I saw it. The decades are gone and the only cover songs that remain are the 60's. I have to admit I missed the 70's songs, but the addition of more of his own hits made it worth the loss. Hearing The Old Songs in its entirety was special and as always the full version of Could It Be Magic with the orchestra and the light show that goes along with it makes it even more magical.

There were so many great moments in the show, but for me there were several that stood out and made this show unforgettable. The first was the addition of Ready To Take a Chance Again. I know that the consensus is that the song does not work as a dance song. I completely agree. But for a reason unknown to us all he has put that song into the show. While I was watching him sing it I noticed the depth of emotion that came out in the lyrics. He is singing that song to someone or for someone and you can see it in his facial expressions. The lyrics "been livin' with nothin' to show for it; you get what you get when you go for it" speak volumes.

The next moment was his powerful rendition of Weekend in New England. I have never seen him sing that song with so much emotion. His arms were actually up in the air in between notes and he lifted off the piano seat. At the end of the song he was so overcome with emotion that he sat there for a few seconds with his head in his hands, then he stood up, yanked off his tie and threw it across the piano. He crawled so deep into that song that his heart came out on to his sleeve. This was definitely the highlight of the evening.

He then began to play All the Time and this song always gets to me. Lately when he sings this song, it seems like he's actually acknowledging how much he felt that way and how he knows there are so many of us out there that feel the same. Once again, it felt like he was singing this song "to" someone. It was such an emotional moment.

When he began Brooklyn Blues I was hoping that Brian Culbertson would join him on stage. I had the privilege of seeing Dave Koz play that song with him in NYC and there was nothing that compared to it until that night. Brian on his trombone and his saxophone player blew me away when they joined Barry on stage for that song. The amount of talent up on that stage experiencing the jazz of it all made me realize that music truly is one of the few things in our lives that can move us to tears and give us such joy.

There were some funny moments as well, with a new joke about the "size" of his lava lamp and about the dance being foreplay. He completely cracks me up at times. The 60's segment has a larger lava lamp and a new 60's swivel chair. There is a new white jacket with the most beautiful design that looked like paisley, almost three dimensional. And the added confetti to the streamers was the icing on the cake.

And of course it ended too soon with the encore of Old Friends (who's like us..damn few) and Forever and a Day (didn't we show them, weren't they blown away) and I never get tired of seeing him sing those two songs live and experiencing the true gratitude and emotion he has about his fans. The expressions on his face during both those songs say it all and when you are lucky enough to be a part of it, it just doesn't get any better than that.

So it was a night to remember. A mother/daughter moment. A Manilow moment. Some great memories captured on film. And then the Shadowman was gone. As Barry says, "what a life!"

Basking in the memories of Dallas,
Texas Fanilow


you begin again.... said...

Your description was like being there. I'm looking forward to the rescheduled Atlanta show more than ever.


moonstone said...

Wow, thanks for such a great review of that concert! I could see it in my mind's eye... Ah, the Shadow Man, he is something else alright!

Thanks again for sharing it all!

Anonymous said...

OMG, that review made feel as though I was there. I would love to see him live singing Weekend in New England as that song gets to me, even when I hear it on dvd.
Thank you for sharing your experience, once again I have not been disappointed with your review.
Take care friend
Your Aussie Friend.

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