Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Lyrics (aka Words)

I picked up a book for a friend called "Then Sings My Soul". It's a collection of classic hymns and the stories behind them. I grew up with those songs: Blessed Assurance, When the Roll is Called Up Yonder, Amazing Grace, and my favorite, A Mighty Fortress is our God. I was reading about that hymn and where it came from and now I know why I relate to it so much. It was written by Martin Luther-the great reformist. The man who ushered in the reformation and the protestant faith. The man who posted his creed on the doors of the church proclaiming that grace had set him free and he would not be governed by man's religious rules and regulations.

I got to thinking about how powerful words can be and how they affect us. They can inspire us, encourage us, motivate us, move us; and on the flip side, hurt us, discourage us, and even destroy us. Words linger on after they are spoken, sung or read. They remain forever. Their affects do as well.

Martin Luther knew the power of words. His manifesto changed the course of Christianity. Barry himself knows the importance of words . That's why he's always telling us to listen. To pay attention to what the song says. To listen to the message and the messenger. After all, a great lyric can change the course of the path we are on. A great lyric can be a battle cry for change. A great lyric can give hope when darkness is all around.

So in the spirit of two men who knew/know the power of words, here's a snippet of lyrics from my two favorite inspirational songs:

A Mighty Fortress is our God
Did we in our own strength confide
Our striving would be losing,
Were not the right man on our side,
The man of God's own choosing.
You ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus it is He
Lord Sabbaoth his name,
From age to age the same
And He must win the battle.
And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us.

Stars in the Night
In this world
Of darkest night
Where hope is hurled away
There they are
And still there's light
Oh so far
But will they...
Dare they lift our hearts
As we lift our eyes
Are we fools to see
The hope that's gleaming in the skies?
There's the light!
Stars in the night!

Feeling inspired today,
Texas Fan

Monday, April 28, 2008

TOP TEN Favorite Posts on the Barrynet

It's been awhile since I ventured over to that zone where all things Manilow are discussed and pontificated. While I was there today I got to thinking about "the good old days" and came up with my list of favorite the tradition of Letterman:

#10-New merchandise available on Starz and/or Ebay find (with link)
#9-Notification (with link) of Barry related article or latest Manilow news online
#8-Discussion of anticipated upcoming ventures (cd's, dvd's, personal appearances)
BMIFC event discussion and/or information
#6-Discussion of any song, and/or lyrics from any Manilow album
Local fan club membership drives and/or website links
Local fan club fundraising events
Links for videos of songs and/or personal appearances
#2-Links for pictures from Las Vegas shows and arena concerts

...and the #1 Post I love to see on the Barrynet...

An INTELLIGENT show review

Texas Fan

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Border Train

This has been a Mayflower week for me. And this song seems to echo the feelings that have flowed in and out of my head at moments of tremendous frustration and moments of great joy. The ebb and flow of emotions and the shear drama in life at times makes me want to "hop on that train" tonight.

Got nobody left to listen to
Got no promises to keep
Something's gotta be out there
Find a world for me out there
No more livin' half asleep

There are days when I feel that my life has passed me by. There are dreams that I had when I was younger. You wake up one day and 50 years have passed and you wonder where the time has gone. My kids used to watch a cartoon called Rugrats and one of the characters used to say he had sponsatilities (aka responsibilities). It's not all bad to have those, but sometimes you find yourself living your life for everyone else (your kids, your husband, your aging family members). Your "me" time tends to get pushed to the back burner until you find yourself asking where "me" went.

There's an island in the misty night
Little platform by the track
I dreamed I saw a light for me
A face, a place so right for me
That I'd never think of lookin' back

Most of us have those dreams. Dreams that we had when we were a kid. Dreams however, tend to take a back seat to reality. And we compromise, or settle when we should hold on to them tightly. We should always be moving forward toward that "place that's right" for us.

Through the shadowland
Like a silver band
Got no kind of plan
I ride the border train
Somewhere new to be
Light the way for me
Moon and memories
I ride the border train

It's those elusive dreams that seem to be just within our grasps but out of reach that tend to haunt us. That train just keeps traveling on the "border" of our dreams and we need someone to light the way for us.

There'll come a time
With no goodbyes
When I'll simply grab
That border train
And at journey's end
They will all be real
My lovers and friends
And I swear to God
There's time for me
And I'll live the life I waited for!

Tonight I believe with all my heart it is finally "time for me" to "grab that border train" ...forgetting what lies behind and pushing forward to what lies live the life I've waited for!

In the arms of an angel and God,
Texas Fan

Thursday, April 24, 2008


I'm sitting here this morning thinking about how much our fathers influence our lives. Especially as girls. We look to them for acceptance and love. If it's there, it boosts our self-esteem and gives us a strong base for our future relationships with men. If it's not there, we are always seeking approval and we try our entire lives to find that love. It baffles my mind that some of these men can't see what they are doing to their children. Belittling them day after day. Never encouraging them or giving them any kind of affirmation. Always spewing negative comments and judgment.

If you're blessed, you have a father that adores you and encourages you. My father had his moments, but they were few and outweighed by the negativity. My husband spent our children's childhoods belittling them and now he wonders why as adults they want nothing to do with him. Just do the math, it's not that hard to understand. You reap what you sow.

Barry, on the other hand, had two fathers, one that ignored him and one that encouraged him. We can probably thank God that his step father came into his life. Although he had a strong male influence in his grandfather, the step father did much to encourage his musical talent.

I often wonder what type of father Barry would have made. I guess we can see glimpses of it as we see him interact with young people. On American Idol he was an encourager. Helping those kids find their musical voice. And now with the instruments in the schools program, it's quite clear that he would be a nurturer and not a belittler.

Some thoughts for a Thursday,
Texas Fan

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A new day has begun

Last night I watched American Idol and when I heard it was Andrew Lloyd Weber night I knew that one of the contestants was going to pick Memory. And of all the contestants to choose that song it was Jason Castro, the soft rock, reggae type singer. Imagine Memory done that way. Trust me, it wasn't pretty. Not only wasn't it pretty it was utter torture to listen to. Especially after hearing Barry knock that one out of the ballpark the weekend before in Vegas. I can't for the life of me understand why the young man didn't listen to the advice of the mentor on this one.

After the performance it made me pull out the song and listen to it again. As I did, I relived watching and hearing Barry sing it live. I recalled the emotion in his voice; the actual physical manifestations from clinching of fists, to appearing like he was going to jump off the stage; and the fact that although he was in the theater that night singing, he was not there in spirit. That song took him to a different place as he was completely lost in the lyrics. It's one of those songs that says so much and every time you listen to it you hear something completely different.

A look at the lyrics shows us why:

Not a sound from the pavement

Has the moon lost her memory?
She is smiling alone
In the lamplight

The withered leaves collect at my feet
And the wind begins to moan

All alone in the moonlight

I can smile at the old days
It was beautiful then
I remember the time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again

I must wait for the sunrise
I must think of a new life
And I musn't give in
When the dawn comes
Tonight will be a memory too
And a new day will begin

Burnt out ends of smoky days
The stale cold smell of morning
The streetlamp dies, another night is over
Another day is dawning

Touch me
It's so easy to leave me
All alone with the memory
Of my day in the sun
If you touch me
You'll understand what happiness is

Look, a new day has begun

The thing about this song that strikes me today is the underlying theme of hope: I must think of a new life and I musn't give in...a new day has begun. I like to be reminded that every day is a new beginning. That you can hold on to your memories, but let go of the past. Today that message makes me smile.

A new day has begun,
Texas Fan

Monday, April 21, 2008

Acting Out

Let's just say today...well it wasn't one of my shining moments. I felt rejected and I lashed out at the one person who truly cares about me. When my daughter was a two year old and she "acted out" like this I would put her in a time out. I guess that's probably where I belong tonight-in time out. Maybe we never really do grow up. Or maybe we never stop growing.

I don't know how to begin
To let myself let you in
But you maybe you could show me
There's so much more I would say
If someone showed me the way
Like you, maybe you could show me
I've been so used to getting what I want
Doing what I want to do
I've always been the one who took the lead
Now I find I need, I need to follow you
So wont' you help me come through
My future's long overdue
It's time, I think I'm ready now
And you could show me how.

Love is the hardest of woods,
Texas Fan

Sunday, April 20, 2008

That First Time

This morning I was reading through some old journals and found something I had written after seeing Barry LIVE for the first time. It was the summer of 2002 during his Manilow Live Tour. It had been a long time coming for me and occurred at a pivotal time in my life when I needed to believe there was hope for the future. I recall when I purchased the ticket (4th row center), I had never spent that much money on a concert before and rationalized I would never again (history has recently affirmed another reason why we should never say never).

Since I had never been to one of his concerts, I did not know what to expect. I arrived early and was amazed at the size of the crowd and the age span of the fans. There were mothers and daughters, young children, families, middle-aged women, senior citizens and teenagers. They were purchasing t-shirts, CD’s, souvenir memorabilia, and chatting about the latest album release. The excitement was electrifying and as the sun went down, the lights on the stage came on and the music began. The moment had finally arrived. He walked out on stage and the noise was deafening. The crowd went wild and he was stunned and amazed by the applause and the thunderous roar of screams. Which to me is baffling. He’s had a career that has outlasted so many, and his humility remains intact.

On the first note, of the first song, I began to cry. There was a time that I felt this might not ever happen. But here I was sitting so close I could literally touch him and listening to the crystal clear notes and the meticulously perfect piano accompaniment. He was indeed a master. A showman. An interpreter of emotion. He connected to his audience and the magic of hearing him live was astounding. I will never forget those two hours. I was not aware of the sweltering heat, or the mosquitoes or the lack of a breeze. It didn’t matter that I was sweating like a pig (I’m sure He was also) or that at times the crowd was so carried away I could barely hear him as he spoke. I was there and I had beat the very disease that had killed my mother. I was there and the glimpses of God in his music had made me feel loved.

There were two defining moments that night as I sat and listened, reliving all the times in the past that those songs had been there for me. The first moment occurred early in the concert. He was walking across the stage and stopped dead in his tracks. It was as if he knew why I was there. But how could that be? He did not know me. I had never written a fan letter or sent him a picture. I had never been to any concerts or joined his fan club. He looked right at me and smiled and went into one of the songs that had helped me survive so much heartache. I would never forget those eyes. They pierced my soul that night. They said, “I know why you are here, and I can see you are hurting.” It was as if he knew exactly what I needed to hear him sing. And he managed a few songs later, to give me back the hope that I had lost and the joy that had faded. He began weaving a tale of a woman who had given up hope. She could not see God. She did not understand why her life had turned for the worse. This song that he wrote the music to and began to sing met me at the base of my being. As with all his songs, it began slowly and reached a crescendo of emotional proportion that I had not felt in many, many years. The tears began to flow, as once again the lyrics and the music became a symphony of healing in my heart and mind. That was the first time I heard "Stars in the Night" from Harmony.

I've been to many concerts in my lifetime. But I have never walked away with the feeling of joy and healing that I did that night. He may be just an entertainer to some and a smaltzy pop musician to others, but to me and to many of his fans, he is a vessel of healing and hope.

There is nothing quite like that first time that you experience that Manilow magic. For so many of us, it's life-altering. And rightly so. Because his music accomplishes what he wants it to do: it moves us.

Let the memory live again,
Texas Fan

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Being a misfit

I wanted to title this: "You know you're a misfit when.." because recently I've come to ponder the fact that Mr. Manilow is indeed different.

I came to realize Mr. Manilow's uniqueness recently when watching the making of the 70's CD. First clue-his fascination with the platform shoe suggesting it be used as a shoe planter and his collection of bobbleheads. Second clue-his intricately detailed explanation of the mixing of a song on his in-house studio equipment. Picture him sitting there for hours exchanging one note for the other, completely intranced in the entire process. Compulsion to that degree-incredibly unique.

Yesterday I was listening to the commentary on the Manilow Live DVD (thanks YBA for prompting me to pull this one out). He was talking about his song "All The Time" and how he's gotten more mail on that one song than any of his others. He also talked about how so many organizations have adopted it as their theme song. He was most surprised that MENSA was one of them. He said, "imagine, the smartest people in the world, and they feel like misfits". I guess it's universal. If you are different and unique
, you feel like a misfit. You feel like you don't fit in, even if you might be one of the smartest or most talented men in the world of music.

So here's my new thesaurus synonyms for the word misfit: unique, special, talented, different, blessed, methodical, revolutionary, intellectual, perfectionistic, passionate and extraordinary. Not too shabby for a guy with platform shoes, a tight fitting sparkly shirt, lanky legs, "Sanjaya" hair and a catalog of music that would put even the coolest hep cat to shame.

From a grateful misfit herself,
Texas Fan

(Note: the photo is from Scooter Talk credited as being from the Showstoppers Tourbook-thanks :>)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Hi, This is Barry Manilow...

If you were to get that "phone call" what would you chat with him about?

Would you be speechless and tongue-tied and involuntarily hang up?

Would you ask him to sing a specific song for you on a specific night in Vegas?

Would you talk to him incessantly about how many years you have been a fan and what your favorite CD or single is and why?

Would you tell him how his music has changed your life and motivated you to be an inspiration to others?

Or would you just "listen" and let him talk about what was important to him?

Some thoughts to ponder on this "hump day"...
Texas Fan

(Note: You can find other "sleeve" photos at photo is by Tim Morgan)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Pouring your guts out

Barry himself describes what happens when you see him perform from the Rolling Stone article in 1990:

"I'll tell you what you see," he says of his performance persona, eschewing all coyness. "You see passion. I read an article someplace that said the true artist is an artist that can convey his passion across the footlights. The quality doesn't even matter -- just so that you displayed the passion. For instance, Springsteen is not my cup of tea, but I get it. I understand what he's doing. He gets me because he is so passionate. At the very least, what you could say about me is that I am trying to convey my passion and that's what's working. Not the fact that I sing so well, because I don't sing so well. Not the fact that I write so well, because Billy Joel writes better pop stuff than I do. Not the fact that I can perform well, either. It's that I believe in what I do, and you get it. Now, some people don't get it! But my guts go out there onstage, take it or leave it. And that's very uncomfortable for a lot of people to witness, especially to be coming from a man."

Thanks Barry for pouring your "guts out there onstage" this past weekend...another memorable weekend of shows!
Texas Fan

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Last night's Music and Passion show in Las Vegas will be memorable because of two songs. Once you hear the two songs you may think I have gone over to the dark side. However, I assure you that is not the case.

These two song choices are based on the sheer emotion Barry displayed while singing them. I can't recall a time I have ever seen him crawl so deeply into a song and last night we got a double header. They weren't the usual ballads, nor were they in the usual song sets. Both songs, in their own ways, have provided me with a once in a lifetime memory that will most likely never be replaced or topped.

The first song: Memory. When he began to play the first few chords to this song I took a deep breath. I knew we were in for a moment of magic from Manilow and that he intended to give us a song that would pull at our heartstrings and leave us in a bucket of emotions when it was done. And I was not disappointed. It is ine the lyrics of that song that I find the words to describe how it made me feel: touch me and you'll know what happiness is. That song hit me in my heart and reminded me why a Manilow show delivers even when you are least expecting it to.

The second song: (hold on to your hats) Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed. It wasn't the mic stand or the sexy moves that got to me. It was the way he knows how to play to the crowd and grab hold of the moment. was a sexy rendition. Yes. It provided the usual fan reaction of hooting and hollering. But what I will remember the most is how he played the part so well and how he became the song he was singing.

Last night is a unique memory for me. The songs that were sung, the moments that brought me to tears. The excitement of the crowd. And a song choice that blew Streisand's version out of the water. All in all, a memory I will not soon forget.

Thanks Barry for once again adding to my book of memories.
Texas Fan

Friday, April 11, 2008

You wouldn't believe where I've been

Surprise...surprise I'm in Las Vegas. And tonight I actually ventured outside the four walls of the Hilton to experience the world outside of Barry's house. Believe it or not there is a plethora of activities and entertainment if you care to leave the confines of the familiar.

After a marvelous dinner at Emerils new restaurant in the Palazzo, I had the pleasure of attending the hit show 'The Jersey Boys'. All I can say is...Wow. If you get a chance to see this show don't hesitate to do so. The music is beyond magical and the play takes you into the world of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.And while the music took me back to so many memories, the thing that I will remember the most was a line that Frankie Valli's character said at the end.'I'm still doing this after all these years because its about the music'.

After really is all about the music.
Texas Fan

P.S. You never know who you will run in to otside the Hilton. And that was an added treat.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

What Do You See?

It's no secret that I'm a Harmony fan. I can't wait for the day when (yes, I'm the eternal optimist) Harmony gets on the stage and the world is able to see what absolute geniuses Bruce and Barry are for creating it.

But today that song reminds me of a blog that my friend posted last night about looking beyond the surface. In case you haven't read it yet, here's the link:

The Beauty That Lies Within

Take some time today to think about what she said. It might cause you to rethink how you view people, including Barry. It might help you realize that the outside appearance is not half as important as the heart.

Food for thought,
Texas Fan

Monday, April 7, 2008

One Voice

I would like to thank Barry for living the principle of "One Voice". The music programs in schools across the country will benefit from his example. And if we are half the fans we claim to be, we will follow his lead and get involved in our local efforts to raise awareness of the need for these programs.

It had to be said,
Texas Fan

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Lava Lamps

Who knew that so much could be said about a piece of silly 60's memorabilia and that the discussion would digress to a conversation fit for

Flabbergasted in Texas,
Texas Fan

"For he who sows to his own flesh (lower nature, sensuality) will from the flesh reap decay and ruin and destruction, but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life." (Galatians 6:8)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

More to this life

"As painful as they've sometimes been,
I wouldn't trade away one minute
of the adventures that I've been through....

We are all a composite of those events and people
that have been in our lives"

-Barry Manilow (Sweet Life)

The last few months have shown me that life can throw us curve balls. I had a birthday again (those pesky things keep rearing their ugly head every year), survived a major car accident, watched and listened as a very dear friend of mine had the courage to file for divorce and experienced all the trauma of that decision, received a phone call that a friend's son had fallen in a swimming pool and was rushed to the hospital with major head and face trauma, experienced all the emotions of another friend possibly being shoved aside by a huge corporate buyout, commensurated with a friend whose children seem to find pleasure in ignoring her at every turn and verbally abusing her on a regular basis, experienced and relived some deep seated pain surrounding my fight with cancer, heard that my daughter's company has begun layoffs after another corporate buyout, and my son (well, that's a subject for another blog entirely).

All of these things help you put life into perspective. And, when we leave this world, how will our lives be measured? Did we make an impact on another human being? Did our lives count for something, or were they spent in self indulgence and materialistic pursuit? Do we care more about our external appearance than our internal spiritual growth? Did our children grow up to be responsible adults or immature whiners?

While we are here (and for many it's not very long) we had better use the time wisely. Because as one of my favorite verses says: "For he who sows to his own flesh (lower nature, sensuality) will from the flesh reap decay and ruin and destruction, but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life." (Galatians 6:8)

I am certainly no saint. And I'm not afraid to admit that I have sinned and fallen short numerous times in the last few months. But I'm glad to know that I can learn from my mistakes and that I can be forgiven. I know that there is more to this life than what most think and the last few months have put this all into perspective. And although some may think that I don't "practice what I preach", or that these are just words, my heart is right with God and with those who genuinely care about me. I can't please everyone all the time, and I can't expect those who can't look past the surface to appreciate what lies on the inside.

Why do I write here? I write here in the hopes that my words might touch another life. And I write in an attitude of gratitude. Gratitude for Barry's music, for the inspiration that it has brought me and for people that have come into my life because of it. If you don't take a risk and put yourself out there, you will never experience the moments of joy that come because sometimes you find the greatest blessings amidst what you thought was the greatest pain.

Experiencing "joy unspeakable" today,
Texas Fan

Friday, April 4, 2008

Paradise Cafe

Here's a "food for thought" discussion for you: The Paradise Cafe photo. In "The Making of 2:00AM Paradise Cafe", Barry says he was extremely adamant about the look of this photo and spent quite a bit of time setting the photo shoot up; he focused on every detail all the way down to the rose in his lapel.

What does this photo tell us about Barry? The obvious would be that he's a perfectionist. Everything about it is perfect: the clothes, his hair, the Paradise Cafe sign in the background, and the look on his face.

And what about that look? I don't think I've ever seen a more "content" Barry than in this photograph. His dream album had become a reality. He had gotten to work with his idols in the jazz community. They were the reason he got into music in the first place. The album was an original composition, allowing him to be creative and focus on the arranging of all the songs.

This photo pretty much tells us how he felt about this album.

Today seems like a 2:00AM Paradise Cafe day.
Texas Fan

Thursday, April 3, 2008


This character trait seems to have escaped so many of us today. We have become a people of "deservers". We want what is coming to us and we want it now. Most feel they deserve it. I for one, am getting just a bit perturbed with this lack of gratitude.

My philosophy is that there is always someone less fortunate than you in the Barry community. There is always someone who has never been to see Barry LIVE. There is always someone who hasn't seen Barry in over 20 years. There is always someone that lives in a country that he has never toured in. And there is always someone who could never dream to be able to afford a Platinum package.

The point is: how about a little gratitude? He gives and gives until he is spent. He works so hard he loses his voice; has to have hip surgery; collapses from exhaustion; suffers through bronchitis; sacrifices his private life for a very public one; gets dragged into court over his "baby" Harmony; and puts himself out there every show for a "personal" moment with a fan. There are few entertainers that do this and even less who expose themselves time after time and get blasted for it not being good enough.

Let's practice some gratitude for the many gifts he has given us and focus more on what we have than what we do not have.

Enough is enough,
Texas Fan

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Barry is coming to CANADA! It's a dream that was conceived a little over a year ago when we started the Canadian fan club (yes..I know I'm not Canadian, but I'm an "honorary" one). When we chose the charity, War Child Canada, we did so knowing that it would be an excellent representation of what Barry believed in and his philosophy regarding universal love and acceptance. What a great surprise to open the Hotline message yesterday and see the announcement about his upcoming shows in Toronto and Montreal.

Miracles really do happen,
Texas Fan (aka Honorary Canadian)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Manilow Memories in Pictures

Dew Drop Inn-March 2006

Rock Bottom Cafe-August 2006

Atlantic City-October 2006

The Sixties Segment-November 2006

Madison Square Garden (Dave Koz)-January 2007

Singin' with the Big Bands-May 2007

Philadelphia (Forever and a Day)-September 2007

You've Got a Friend-October 2007

New York City Rhythm Piano Duel-December 2007

Dallas (Brian Culbertson and Mike)-February 2008

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