Tuesday, October 28, 2008


After seeing four shows last week from absolutely fabulous seats I have only one word to describe the new show: FANTABULOUS! Each and every night was more exciting than the next to end the week on Saturday with a rip-roaring performance from Barry and everyone involved in the show. Of course, the crowds play an integral part in the performances and Saturday night's crowd was exceptionally pumped up and on their feet for a huge portion of the show.

The "new" opening
I was a bit hesitant because I LOVED the "right here-right now" opening. It always got me pumped up for the show. The YMCA song is gone as well. However, the new opening fits the new show. The titles of his songs flash on the screen after Ultimate Manilow circles and then the silhouettes of the musicians playing jazzy upbeat music setting up the entrance of Monica, Melanie and Keely singing a somewhat jazzy version of "It's a Miracle" (as best I could tell). When he steps out on stage out o
f the "M" and the fog it's always a dramatic, much-anticipated entrance.

The "decade" segment
This part of the show happens almost immediately after the opening. I have to say, after all four nights, I love this portion. The snippets of each of the songs tend to crescendo into the 70's and set up the finale song from the new 80's album-"Islands in the Stream". This song is a showstopper. Barry and the backups LOVE singing this song together. They have as much fun with it as the audience allows. And the more into it the audience gets, the more into it Barry gets. It's an absolute heartpumping, handclapping, sing-along moment and for me, this time, the highlight of the show all 4 nigh

The "fan" interaction
Since the dance has been removed for obvious reasons, Barry has attempted to add some sort of fan interaction on the side stage. He has completely stayed away from the right side of the stage (those of you who have read my previous blogs know why) and has moved to the left side where he's sitting on the railing singing briefly to someone. Of course, as always, some overzealous fan had to yank and pull at him one night, so the next night it was gone. Thankfully, he reinstated it on Saturday and my friend Tammy was the welcome recipient. (Kim, however, was treated to a very nice dance with him during the Copa segment on Friday night). I was happy to receive a few handshakes!

The "hits"
This show is jampacked with his hits. He picks the best and pours his heart into all of them. My personal favorite, however, is "Memory". Before he sings it he stands with his back to the audience directing the orchestra. It's one of those moments when he exudes his passion for the music. It gave me goosebumps each night and the set up for the song is gorgeous. Next to that song, "Weekend in New England" always blows me away. The first night when someone responded to "when can I touch you", he responded, "my hands are kind of busy right now". The next few nights, you could tell he was into the song and not into joking around. You can tell..when someone yells, he completely ignores it. Of course h
e obliged the "sexual fantasy" aspect of the crowd with "Looks Like We Made It" and his provocative hand movements. The bamms were gone this week, but honestly, I can take or leave them. The intensity of the music and the passion he portrays when he sings is what brings me to the shows. "Somewhere Down the Road" and "Ships" have to be the most intensely emotional songs of the show. He crawls so deep into them at one point it seems like he disappears into another place with each song.

The ending and Copa
Not much has changed here except the fact that Barry comes down the stairs from the back of the stage and then ascends up the catwalk. YBA had a bird's eye view se
at of the catwalk ending on Thursday night and got an eye full (to say the least). It's always fun when he does that gratuitous grab for the crowd. I was sitting directly below the catwalk and experienced his wave through the glass as he bent down to say hi to the crowd below. As always, that song gets the crowd pumped up.

The lighting and videos
The new lighting, set decorations and videos are amazing. The last night I spent some time watching all the spotlights, the screen presentations during the songs, and the lights all around the stage and the side of the theater. It fits him and it fits the feel of the show.

The "new" confetti and mylar
The 1-2-3 count he gives before the mylar explodes is now more of a 1-2-3 DUCK! That stuff comes out hard and hits hard as well! However, it goes along with the set and the new show and everyone seemed to love it. The confetti blowers are a great added touch as well. Seems like everyone was tangled up in it while leaving the show, stepping on each other's souvenirs so to speak and having fun with it all.

I have to say that I love this new show more than Music and
Passion. I didn't think it would be possible, but I do. Even though I loved the Mayflower segment in the old show, I love how the new show flows and how we get to hear more of his signature songs. And I love the 80's songs he has added in and the decade segment is tons of fun. I can't ever remember the song sets or the order in which they come. I rarely remember the jackets he wears, although it seems there was a new one with a solid white stripe down one arm I hadn't seen before.

I'd also like to tip my hat to Kye. That man is a true professional with the choreography and stage presentation. Not to mention his singing and dancing capability. I spent a great deal of time during the show watching him on Saturday and noticing how he makes everyone look great and how he seems to be the glue that meshes the show together.

"Ultimate Manilow-The Hits" did not disappoint. If anything, he made me want to come back for more (he always seems to do that to me!)

Until the good times come again,
Texas Fan

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Just a few observations before heading out for a day of shopping:

1. May it never be said that I can't keep up with the spring chickens
2. Grown women lose all sense of reason when they enter the Manilow zone
3. Civilians need to go to Cirque shows and NOT ruin our fun
4. Kim is the real deal and has made this trip unforgettable
5. A bitch is a bitch no matter how much money they have or how much war paint they put on
6. Barry always puts on a great show...even if he has to deal with rude, disrespectful octopii women
7. There is always someone singing louder than Barry sitting behind you
8. Friends make those unbearable moments bearable
9. Grab those barf bags when you fly because you never know when someone's behavior might make you hurl
10. You can't buy acceptance, respect or love

Heading out for some more human theater,
Texas Fan

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

10 Things I learned today in Vegas

Some mental notes to keep in mind:

1. Watch out for large luggage in the dark placed near the door by an unthinking daughter.
2. Don't drink four bloody marys without eating beforehand.
3. Sitting in a bar is a great place for human theater.
4. Texting is best done while sober.
5. Don't send emails in the morning before you are fully awake.
6. There is too much new merchandise in the M store for one shopping trip.
7. Time flies when you are having great conversation along with fabulous cuisine.
8. Trying to come up with just the right text message to send someone can be exhaustifying.
9. After spending the day walking the length of the strip, that wheelchair suggested by my friend looks pretty good.
10. Loud music at 2:30am is NOT appealing if you are sober.

Off to bed,
Texas Fan

Monday, October 20, 2008

The best laid plans...

First, let's just get this out of the way. The Red Sox lost. Top of the 8th, bases loaded, two outs, down by two runs and the batter strikes out! What a disappointment. However, we did get to watch the game at the ESPN Zone in the NY NY Hotel. That was a treat!

Second, Kim did not arrive as planned. Her flight out of Melbourne was cancelled and as of yesterday at 2pm she had not even boarded to fly to New Zealand. We have not heard from her since, so we are keeping our fingers crossed that she made her flight and is on her way as we speak. Talk about being bummed, nervous, scared, frustrated...the gammit of emotions.

We had a wonderful brunch yesterday, spent many hours watching human theater and paid another visit to Barry's house where my daughter received the 4 star tour of the place. Then we headed over to Harrahs and their piano bar for a late evening of tunes and more mother/daughter bonding.

Today--the Venetian, the Palazzo, the Wynn and a chocolate martini and hopefully, fingers crossed, picking up Kim and the late show of Phantom of the Opera!

Fun times,
Texas Fan

Sunday, October 19, 2008

What a Day!

Yesterday was a FABULOUS day and a great way to start off this adventure!

First: shopping. As always, shopping with my daughter is an adventure in itself. You never know what bargains you will find and what surprises await. Yesterday, we stumbled on the most gorgeous dress quite by accident. This dress was a designer dress that was on sale and my daughter looked absolutely stunning in it. It was one of those "had to buy" moments. She "had to have it" and I "had to get it for her". Isn't that what mothers are for?

Second: the Red Sox game. Can we get a HALLELUJAH! My beloved Sox won the game last night pushing the playoff series to a final game before they move on to play the Phillies in the World Series. We had the privilege of sharing some of the game with other Red Sox fans as well. That is always fun. And yes, there was a Yankees fan in the bar telling us there was no hope. There's ALWAYS a Yankees fan...ALWAYS. And..oh yes...we bet on the game and WON some cash!

Third: Johnny Mathis. This concert was in the Hilton Theater. It was strange being in there without Barry, but it was a packed crowd and boy can that man sing. I sat there reminiscing about the many hours spent with my mother listening to his music. She would have loved to have been there. Chances Are, The 12th of Never, and It's Not For Me to Say (the Holy Trinity as he called them) brought back so many wonderful memories. Enjoying the music with my daughter: priceless.

Today--champagne brunch at the Bellagio, the Red Sox playoff game, and the piece de resistance, Kim arrives from Australia!

Enjoying another day in FABULOUS Las Vegas,
Texas Fan

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Here's To Las Vegas

Today is the first day of my Las Vegas adventure. On the agenda: breakfast at the Paris Hotel, shopping, the Red Sox playoff game and the piece de resistance-Johnny Mathis tonight.

Enjoying the time with my daughter,
Texas Fan

P.S. Haven't been to Barry's house yet...that will be tonight!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

It's not over til it's over...

Amazing comeback

(Globe Staff Photo/Barry Chin)
It's the second-largest comeback in postseason history. Down 7-0, the Boston Red Sox came back to win, 8-7, on an RBI single, walk-off single by J.D. Drew in the bottom of the 9th that scored Kevin Youkilis. It's now 3-2 Rays with Game 6 Saturday night at Tropicana Field.

My beloved Red Sox just pulled it off AGAIN! Down 7-0 in the 7th and they came back to win 8-7 in the 9th. They are the COMEBACK KIDS!

I know what I will be doing in Vegas on Saturday afternoon. What a way to start my trip!

Vegas here we come..GO RED SOX!!!
Texas Fan

Hello Gorgeous!

Wowser! What a way to kick off my upcoming trip with a Hotline release of the new album cover and a track listing. Since I'm not an 80's music officianado most of these songs will be new to me, but if "Open Arms" is any indication of the quality of the song choices, I know this could very well be his best decade album yet.

Texas Fan

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Countdown Continues

It's getting closer to my Vegas trip and some have suggested I start counting the hours, but I have a better idea. I'm going to count the specific days:

3 days

until I get on the airplane to Vegas and see my daughter

5 days

until I meet my Australian friend for the first time

8 days

until I experience the all NEW Ultimate Manilow: The Hits

9 days

until my other friends arrive in Vegas

10 days

until our official Fan Club Bash begins with dinner at Bennihanna's

11 days

until our official Fan Club luncheon at the Hilton Buffet

Let the adventure begin...
Texas Fan

Monday, October 13, 2008

Slipping through my fingers...

Schoolbag in hand, she leaves home in the early morning
Waving goodbye with an absent-minded smile
I watch her go with a surge of that well-known sadness
And I have to sit down for awhile.

The feeling that I'm losing her forever
And without really entering her world
I'm glad whenever I can share her laughter
The funny little girl.

Slipping through my fingers all the time
I try to capture every minute
The feeling in it
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Do I really see what's' in her mind
Each time I think I'm close to knowing
She keeps on growing
Slipping through my fingers all the time.

Sleep in our eyes, her and me at the breakfast table
Barely awake, I let precious time go by
Then when she's gone, there's that odd melancholy feeling
And a sense of guilt I can't deny.

What happened to the wonderful adventures?
The places I had planned for us to go?
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Well, some of that we did but most we didn't
And why, I just don't know.

Slipping through my fingers all the time
I try to capture every minute
The feeling in it
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Do I really see what's in her mind?
Each time I think I'm close to knowing
She keeps on growing
Slipping through my fingers all the time.

Sometimes I wish I that I could freeze the picture
And save it from the funny tricks of time
Slipping through my fingers
Slipping through my fingers all the time.

Schoolbag in hand she leaves home in the early morning
Waving goodbye with an absent-minded smile...

In a few days I'll be blessed to spend some time with my daughter again. And although I'm looking forward to the "friend" time I will have in Manilowland, I have to say I miss my little girl and I can't wait to see her again. And this song by ABBA says it all. The time goes by so fast, literally slipping through our fingers, and I treasure every moment we spend together. Just yesterday I was holding her in my arms and now she's a beautiful young woman who makes me proud every single day. She brings me unspeakable joy and is God's greatest blessing in my life.

5 days and counting,
Texas Fan

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Time for the Countdown

Today broke the TEN DAY mark for my upcoming trip to Manilowland. It's going to be 10 days of a wild ride with my daughter (the first part of the week) and my friends (the second part of the week) and my very first "Barry friend" (to close out the 10 days). My friend Kim is traveling all the way from Australia to join us and we have a rip-roaring time planned of sightseeing, shows and getting acquainted. So today, I'm posting my TOP TEN list of things I wish for on this trip:

10. Some much needed relaxation and rejuvenation
9. Getting to know some friends that I have never met in person
8. Taking in some absolutely fabulous human theater
7. Indulging in some "Vegas only" epicurean delights
6. Spending some much needed quality time with my daughter
5. Enjoying the night life that is only found in Vegas
4. A "drama free" pre-and-post concert experience
3. Rediscovering the great sights and sounds of the strip
2. Some "girl" time with my best Barry buddies
1. Finally getting to enjoy the new "Ultimate Manilow" with my friends

10 days and counting,
Texas Fan

Monday, October 6, 2008

Hope for Harmony

This new news came from a UK Blog in the Entertainment business who recently met with Barry in Las Vegas:

But if Manilow - who at 65 years old still cuts an impressively slim and athletic onstage figure - is sometimes in reflective mood onstage, I also found him in reflective mood offstage, when I went to meet him privately after the show. While fellow pop singer-songwriters like Elton John, Paul Simon, Phil Collins and now Dolly Parton with the aforementioned 9 to 5 have gone on to write musicals for the Broadway stage, Manilow is yet to reach it with one of his own shows; in the West End we’ve had Copacabana (at the Prince of Wales in 1994), and right now Bill Kenwright is touring Can’t Smile without You, a new show that cleverly folds the Manilow back catalogue into a new story, with the engaging Chesney Hawkes providing a terrific stand-in for a Manilow-like (or maybe Manilow-lite) himself. So Manilow is still holding out hopes for his original musical Harmony, co-written with Bruce Sussman, that was aborted on the eve of its Philadelphia try-out in 2003 when its then-producer failed to raise the full investment to take it forward, even though the cast were in the midst of rehearsals already.

Right now he’s in serious discussion with a leading West End and Broadway producer about reviving it again - and I, for one, can’t wait to see it come to reality. Nor, I’m sure, can the Fanilows - as Barry’s legions of fans are sometimes known - and I met two of the youngest on Saturday at the show: Grace, 6, and Ella, 4, were brought to the show by their parents, who revealed that their kids listen to him every day - and that when asked which song is their favourite, one replied, “They all are!”

Hopes and prayers that Barry finally realizes his dream!

Texas Fan

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Poet Among Us

Take a side trip to this post on YBA's blog. It will be worth the trip!

Cracking up in Texas,
Texas Fan
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