Sunday, November 30, 2008

Taking a Break

For those of you who follow my blog, I am taking a break from the Manilow world. I need some personal time, spiritual renewal and much needed distance from the drama.

Have a great holiday season. Hope to be back in 2009.

Texas Fan

The 80's Album-ALL about the LYRICS

I spent my Thanksgiving holiday listening and re-listening to the 80's CD. Musically, for me, it's a home run. The orchestrations in each of the songs are stupendous. The way Barry takes each one of the songs and makes it his own always amazes me. I feel in love with "I Just Called to Say I Love You" and I absolutely detested the original version of that song. There isn't a song on the CD I skip over. They each have their own flavor and appeal and I would have to agree with YBA that this is more than a remake of 80's songs--it's an original work for all intents and purposes. I have my favorites for different reasons, most involving memories that they evoke. Many because of the uniquely genius arrangements.

But for me, this work is all about the lyrics. When he was being interviewed on QVC, Barry mentioned how important the lyrics were in these songs. He commented on how he looked for the lyric to define the arrangement and the orchestration of each of the songs. So, in that vein, I'm going to do something unusual with my review--choose the lyric that spoke to me. It might be possible the same lyric spoke to Barry (emphasis on the "might be").

Islands in the Stream
"Everything is nothing if you've got no one, and you're just walking the night, slowly losing sight of the real thing ."
One of my favorite lines of all time is "To love is to live." Having someone to love is the real thing.

Open Arms
"Living without you, living alone; this empty house seems so cold."
Loneliness plagues all of us at one time or another. We can even feel lonely when we have someone. We can feel lonely surrounded by people. My father used to say that even though I lived within a few feet of him, he was so lonely without my mother.

Never Gonna Give You Up
"We know the game and we're gonna play it."
I have a friend who is playing games with a guy. They are both adults, and yet they can't seem to tell each other how they feel. It's sad to me, but I guess we all play those games with the people we care about.

Have I Told You Lately
"You fill my heart with gladness, take away all my sadness; ease my troubles, that's what you do."
Kindness is something we all need and something we should all be willing to give to others. When we receive kindness, it eases our pain and trouble and brings happiness to our hearts.

I Just Called to Say I Love You
"But what it is, is something true--made up of these three words that I must say to you..."
Some of us find it hard to say those three words: I love you. We all need to hear them, however; and those three words can make all the difference in someone's life. I say them as often as I can to the ones I love.

Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)
"You're the only one who really knew me at all."
We all wear masks. Usually, there aren't many people who know us. If we find that person we can trust with the good and the bad of who we are, we should never let them go.

Careless Whisper
"Tonight the music seems so loud, I wish that we could lose this crowd."
Sometimes it's hard to get lost in a crowd, and then sometimes you are never truly seen.

Right Here Waiting
"I wonder how we can survive this romance...but in the end if I'm with you I'll take the chance."
Any relationship involving love requires work. It requires commitment and perseverance. It's so much more than just romance.

Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)
"When you get caught between the moon and New York City..."
New York is one of those places that evokes the best of emotions and the most pleasurable memories for me. I'm a city girl at heart and New York brings out the best in me. While this song is about finding love in the most unusual place; to me it is about the love affair I have with New York.

Hard to Say I'm Sorry
"It's hard for me to say I'm sorry..."
It really is hard to say I'm sorry. And honestly, those two words are the most healing words anyone can hear. It means you recognize that you've hurt someone and you want them to know that you are repentant. Hopefully, with that comes forgiveness.

Time After Time
"You're calling to me, I can't hear what you've said..."
I find myself finding it hard at times to express what I'm feeling. The person I am speaking to is not hearing me because they have either closed themselves off to me or they aren't listening. It's frustrating and leaves me feeling like my words (and my feelings) don't matter.

(I've Had) The Time of My Life
"I've had the time of my life...and I owe it all to you."
There are people in my life that have touched me in ways I can't begin to explain. Some are no longer living; some have come and gone; and some still continue to do so every day. This song reminds me of all the wonderful times I've had with the music. I owe that all to Barry--in the good and the bad, I've had the time of my life!

Listening to the lyrics,
Texas Fan

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Thanksgiving Story

(Disclaimer...those with weak stomachs might want to stop here)

About six years ago we had a full house for Thanksgiving. That rarely happened since my brother and his wife usually traveled to my sister-in-law's family's home in Dallas. My father and great aunt with Alzheimer's were both still alive. For those of you who haven't lived with an Alzheimer patient, it's always a challenge and you never know what to expect. This day was like every other day--the unexpected happened.

We were all sitting around the kitchen table after a huge feast. I had gotten up to prepare the whipped cream for the pumpkin pie. I'm not sure when it happened without anyone noticing, but my great aunt got up from the table and wandered off. I guess everyone was talking and since I was busy she was able to slip away.

I digress for a moment. When I got cancer, my friends got together and bought me a bassett hound named Lightning. Lightning was my great aunt's baby. She fed him everything. One Christams she received a box of Godiva chocolates and sat it on the floor. When she went to eat one, the entire box was gone. You guessed it...Lightning actually lived up to his name. He could steal food so fast you never knew he was there.

Back to the great aunt had gotten up from the table. She had decided to avail herself of the ladies room. Not a good thing. Why? Alzheimer's patients frequently lose control of their bowels. So my aunt was wearing a diaper. She got into the bathroom and neglected to shut the bathroom door. When she removed the diaper, Lightning was right there to snatch it up.

Everyone is sitting in the kitchen talking and Lightning comes charging around the corner with my aunt's diaper and slams through the dog door as fast as he can go. And right behind him comes my great aunt, unclothed from the waist down, chasing him and yelling for him to "bring that back!"

After a satisfying meal, some good conversation, and some live entertainment, we thanked God for the blessing of family and a sense of humor that found us laughing at one of life's most embarrassing moments.

Here's hoping you have some wonderful (diaper-free) Thanksgiving memories,
Texas Fan

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What Happened to the Music?

I was in my car today driving from store to store and put in the one Barry cd I have in my car. It's a cd that I made after the Dallas concert. The first song that came on was Weekend in New England and I recognized a feeling that had long since been forgotten. The feeling that I used to get when I listened to him sing. I sat in the parking lot and closed my eyes and listened to the music. And as I listened, I wondered what had happened to take away the joy that I once had at the shows in Las Vegas, at the arena concerts, and at home simply listening to the music.

What happened to the music? Simple. It got drowned out by the drama. At some point about a year ago I realized that for so many, it's so much more than the music. It's about vying for attention. It's about jockeying for the number one spot in line. It's about sitting as close as you can as often as you can. It's about stalking not only Barry, but the fans. It's about harassing those who voice their disdain for this type of behavior. It's about name calling, and all kinds of vicious hateful emails and inuendos. It's about grabbing, and pulling and stretching to try and touch the one who so graciously gives and gives of himself for the music. Knowing all of this and witnessing it first hand, tends to detract from the music.

This kind of behavior offers such a negative connotation of fandom. Now, when someone says, "Oh, you're a Barry Manilow fan", it's not uncool anymore, it's downright humiliating. When a group of concierges witness this behavior can you imagine what they are telling their guests when they ask about the show? When the press witnesses this type of behavior, the fans become a cult-like following. When other fans (those who have some sense of balance in their lives) witness this over-the-top behavior they leave the theater in shock.

All of this drama not only distracts Barry, and causes everyone to have a less than positive concert experience; but it causes turmoil in the audience. And when turmoil and dissent occur, the drama overpowers the music. A week of shows always brings new drama from those fans who consistently insist on letting their obcession motivate their actions. What will it take for them to stop?

I don't know about you. But I miss the music.
Texas Fan

Thursday, November 20, 2008

QVC-My Review

Last year during the QVC special, a friend and I spent the entire hour yelling at the television for "Chatty Kathy" to stop talking. I'm unhappy to say, this year I was yelling alone. I understand that it's her JOB to sell the product. But seriously...does she have to inform us about every little detail of the song. "Don't you just love Jeff Bridges???" Are you kidding me? We all saw Barry's look on that question.

For some reason, however, he always seems to love these QVC sales events. He loves previewing his new album and singing those songs for the first time live. This time, he got an audience full of fans. And you could tell he was enjoying himself and keying off their excitement.

Now for the important stuff....the songs.

My favorite of the evening was Arthur's Theme. That song was made for him. I won't ever think of the original version again. It was pure heaven listening to him weave those lyrics and that melody. Not only was the performance exemplary, but the arrangement shined. The sax solo blew me away (kudos to Brandon).

I thoroughly enjoy hearing these cover albums when they are first debuted. Barry takes someone else's song and makes it his own. He listens to the lyrics to understand their meaning or the story they tell and he uses that to arrange the song musically to do what he does best, tell a story in the song. Many times, you don't realize what the original song was about until you hear his rendition. It's truly remarkable each time he does it and so many times the songs take on new meaning for me.

For those of us that haven't heard the entire CD, it will be a few more days of waiting. Then, I'll pop it in and begin another journey of "listening" to the music and discovering the absolute genuis that is Manilow.

Right Here Waiting,
Texas Fan

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Must be various sizes
Will pay for shipping to maximum security facility

Must be isolated--at least 2000 miles from Las Vegas, Nevada and Palm Springs, California
Island preferred
Full time security trained to respond to group riots and uncontrollable, unexplained behaviors
Facility must be ready for immediate occupancy

WANTED: Full time Psychiatric Professional
Must be well experienced in psychotherapy and cult deprogramming
Previous experience in addiction intervention and gang behavior a must

Please respond by email to:

Sometimes life is stranger than fiction,
Texas Fan

Monday, November 17, 2008

Terror in Las Vegas

A special report on fan gang behavior at the Las Vegas Hilton--

Fueled by money, online internet groups, celebrity worship and easy accessibility to said celebrity, fan gangs have flourished at the Las Vegas Hilton and spread across the Atlantic and beyond, thanks to inadequate intervention strategies and frequent gang meetings and strategy sessions online.

In the face of those tepid efforts, fan gangs have exploded, manifesting themselves in the evening hours within the Hilton Theater and at the small, yet intimate bar Tempo adjacent to the theater. Some gang members have also been seen in large groups following, threatening and harassing others on the casino floor. At the same time, gangs have grown more brash and outspoken in a level of obsession that holds many concert goers and non-gang fans in a state of shock and disarray—not to mention fearful for the safety of the celebrity.

Most members are proud of their gangs and freely admit membership. Many dress in a style identifying their particular gang and use hand signs or signals. Personal belongings are frequently covered with graffiti and bear the gangs’s logo and the member’s gang name. Individuals on the fringe of gang involvement are reluctant to identify themselves as gang members. They often state that their friends are gang members but they are not. However, rival gang members make no distinction between a gang member and his associates.
Gangs frequently gather in dark areas to avoid being seen. In these locations they will often drink, stalk and harass those who are not like them.

While clothing alone cannot positively determine individual membership in a gang, color and style serve to identify each gang. Preferred clothes include sparkly tops, evening dresses, clothing brandishing cleavage.
Gang graffiti, gang symbols, messages or names are written or embroidered on jackets, pants and baseball caps, belt buckles, key chains, t-shirts, starter jackets (team jackets).Expensive or gaudy jewelry like heavy gold rope chains, earrings and large rings are favored.

Used to identify gangs and mark their ‘turf’ or territory. Can indicate status or power.Many include gang name, nicknames, declaration of loyalty, threats against rival gangs or a description of criminal acts in which the gang has been involved.


Signs that fans may have joined gangs include crude and elaborate tattoos, females wearing heavy eye makeup and dark lipstick, females congregating in large crowds outside certain areas of the theater, harassing and pressuring those who are not in the gang to join because they are the most influential and powerful.

Fan gangs tend to develop a sense of power manifested by large numbers.These gangs are empowered by secret signs, private telephone conversations, and sticking together to fend off those who try to attack the gang or its leaders.They tend to be rowdy, disrespectful, rude, and generally brash in their fan behavior, especially when spending hours together prior to the scheduled gang activities.

Success has been achieved in combating these gangs by employing extra security, identifying the gang members by their photos, tracking through use of the internet and other security measures, and utilizing non-gang members who are also fans to apply pressure during gang-related activities. While fan intervention and psychiatric treatment is recommended, it has been found that most will not admit this behavior and claim normalcy.

What we have is a situation out of control. It's like entering a danger zone. Not just for the non-gang fans, but for the celebrity who has become the target of their dangerous behavior. While everyone wants to get rid of these crazy psychopaths, the consensus is that the more they gather together, the more they draw strength in numbers. These fan gangs have become a security issue, a celebrity issue, and a threat to the enjoyment and safety of non-gang fans.

**a parody of an online article on gangs and gang behavior**

Educating the public,
Texas Fan

(special thanks to YBA, Peachy, Just Life, and Redcat for the being the voices of sanity in this crazy world of fans)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Have the fans gotten out of control?

Last night I got a phone call from a friend of mine who hadn't seen the new show and hadn't been to see Mr. Manilow since April of last year. She was sitting next to a nice British lady who hadn't been since 2005 and shared her absolute shock. What was she shocked about? Big surprise here...the behavior of the crazy fans. She proceeded to tell me how out of control the women were and how one woman in particular was making a huge scene about sitting on the front row and not being dressed appropriately. She was loud and brash and stirring all the other fans into a frenzy. This phone call was prior to the start of the show.

In about two hours I received another phone call from her swearing that all sense of decorum and reason had left the theater last night. It's her theory that it's a "gang mentality". I rather agree with her. There is strength in numbers. And the more of them there are the more out of control they become. Apparently last night one of them charged the stage, only to be intercepted by security as Barry gave one of his "I'm not pleased with this" looks. You can tell when he's not happy with the fan behavior. We've all seen it too many times recently. And true to form, there was no fan interaction again last night on either side of the stage.

So here's my question: have the fans gotten out of control? I think they most definitely have. I think the easy access and the frequent shows have created a rare form of fan. I don't think these existed in the days prior to his Vegas run. Why? Most of the fans were confined to local fan clubs. They received their news via these clubs and the fans were a close knit group that lived within driving distance of each other and saw one another often and the "frenzy" was contained in living rooms and fan club get-togethers in basements.

Since the widespread use of the internet, the fan base has changed. While it's brought people together that might not have met otherwise, it's also created a much larger "club" that only sees each other in Vegas. The hype and excitement over the shows, the friends and the Tempo visits has created a different type of fan. One that obsesses over much more than the music. One that lives and breathes bamms, ass shakes, hip lunges and the like. One that wants to sit on the front row every show just on the off chance that they will get a handshake. One that can't wait to get a glimpse of him as he enters Tempo and leaves, and one that follows him into the theater area as he exits. This type of fan keeps score and considers it a competition of sorts with notches in her belt as to the number of hugs, handshakes, dances, smiles, looks, and photo ops, meet and greets, and Platinums they have either received or experienced.

All this hype has almost obliterated the shear pleasure of enjoying the music at the shows. When you can't hear the music over the talking that goes on or the yelling that comes at the most inappropriate times by overzealous fans, it's out of control. When there is always someone behind you singing so loud you can't even hear Barry, it's out of control. When you have a woman literally knock you over on the stage trying to get a handshake, it's out of control. When he can't have any interaction with the fans on the stage (mind you--those seats were created for that specific purpose), it's out of control. When security has to sit in the corners of the theater and run across the front at the end of the show to protect him, it's out of control. When fans are at the Hilton so much they might as well take up residence there, it's out of control.

One has to wonder how much is too much? Because right now, I've reached my limit. And honestly, I can't help but wonder if Barry has too. No wonder he stays in the shadows.

Wishing for the "good ole days",
Texas Fan

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Some Thoughts

I was sitting outside enjoying the cool breeze this afternoon, reading a magazine. I've been in an introspective mode today so I thought I'd post two quotes, and a third that I thought we could ponder on this Veteran's Day because today is about freedom and the price we pay to have it.

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

A government big enough to give you what you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.
Gerald Ford

I believe that we are who we choose to be. Nobody is going to come and save you. You've got to save yourself. Nobody is going to give you anything. You've got to go out and fight for it. Nobody knows what you want except you, and nobody will be as sorry as you if you don't get it. So don't give up your dreams.
Barry Manilow in "Sweet Life"

Texas Fan

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Memories of our life

Tonight my daughter and I went to the late night showing of Mamma Mia at the dollar cinema. She hadn't seen it yet and since we saw the play together I wanted to see the movie with her as well.

On the way home we were listening to her new favorite radio station--the oldies. They play Barry, Johnny Mathis, Abba, the Carpenters and many others. The people she car pools with every day cant understand why someone her age listens to this music. She told me tonight its the music she grew up with and all her best childhood memories are tied to those songs. It's the music of her life. Every song has a memory...a moment she can recall a feeling.

Tonight they played 'Knock Three Times' and she reminded me of our recent trip to Vegas and walking along the strip singing that song together one night on the way back to our hotel. From now on, that song will remind her of our wonderful trip together and all the great memories.

Tonight the muisc made a memory again,
Texas Fan

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Give Us a King

Straying off topic for tonight...some somber words:

I Samuel 8:4-10, 19-21
So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, "You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have." But when they said, "Give us a king to lead us," this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: "Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up over Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do." Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king...But the people refused to listen to Samuel. "No!" they said. "We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles." When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the Lord. The Lord answered, "Listen to them and give them a king."

Feeling a bit tenebrous tonight,
Texas Fan

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Why I'm Proud to be a Barry Manilow Fan

On February 14th, Barry is doing a concert in NYC at Nassau Coliseum:

The proceeds from the concert will be donated by Stand Up for a Cure to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, founded by Evelyn Lauder in 1993. The foundation is credited for creating the infamous “pink ribbon.”

This cause, hits home for me. Why? My mother died from breast cancer in 1986. And in 1997 I found a stage 2 lump in my breast. It's been 11 years in September and every day I feel blessed that I was a survivor. I'm hoping and praying they find a cure for it for my daughter's sake and for every woman who wakes up one morning and finds her life turned upside down. So many have battled it and lost their lives. But all the recent medical advancements and the detection techniques funded by these charities have made a huge difference in the mortality rate.

Barry just gives and gives. He doesn't have to give any of his hard-earned money or his valuable time away. But he does. He doesn't have to care about cancer victims, but he does. He doesn't have to care about people with cystic fibrosis. But he does. He doesn't have to care about aids victims, but he does. He doesn't have to care about students who need instruments, but he does. He sets the bar high for all of us to give our time, our support and our money to those who need our help.

And that, is why I'm proud to be a Barry Manilow fan.

Texas Fan

Footnote: You've got to read YBA's blog on this...the medical perspective!

Monday, November 3, 2008

The 80's Album

I've just spent the last few minutes listening to "Islands in the Stream". Boy, did that bring back some great memories from the shows I attended last month. That song just makes you smile ear to ear and you can't help but get excited toward the end of it. Barry outdid himself with this one. He took a country song and amped it up 1000 percent to give us a rocking rendition that keeps running around in your head weeks after you have heard it. I think seeing Barry do it with the girls just made it even more special and now when I listen to it I can't help but remember all the fun they were having with this song; along with audience who couldn't possibly stay seated during the performance.

The other song he sang in the show was "Never Gonna Give You Up". It was tons of fun as well. Uptempo and true to the Manilow magic, the arrangement made you want to stand up and sing along. He used that song on several nights for the "fan interaction" and it seemed to be the perfect moment to insert a little snuggle during the song.

When I heard "Open Arms" in June, it moved me beyond belief. I know it wasn't polished but even in its raw state it gave me goosebumps. When I listen to that performance now it takes me back to that night in June and I remember every emotion I had when I heard the first few chords of that song. The arrangement of it leading to the crescendo at the end shows that Barry knows how to build a song and deliver at the end. I've watched Journey's version online and it can't compare to Barry's in my opinion.

I've heard three songs live from this new album. And I have to say if the rest are that good he's going to have another hit--maybe his biggest decade album yet! I truly can't wait for the release of this one.

Waiting for the 80's,
Texas Fan

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