Thursday, August 27, 2009

It's not personal, it's just business

"It's not personal, it's just business". Words from a very famous movie. I didn't buy it then and I'm not buying it now. It is personal. It's very personal. People always take the way a business treats its customers as personal. The best businesses treat their customers as they would want to be treated themselves. The worst businesses put the dollar before the customer and treat them like a number (or a dollar amount).

Unfortunately, as much as I'd like it to be so, it's never "all about the music". Those pesky business practices always interfere with the musical enjoyment. Those pesky business practices always taint my view of the music. I wish it didn't, but it does. And today, somebody who is very kind and giving, got the "business" side of the music and it wasn't pleasant. It never is. And another lifelong fan bites the dust.

I can only hope that the money that was saved and the rights that were protected will make someone more comfortable and happy knowing that the goblins who are trying to steal the music from them were squelched and silenced. I can't help but think to myself, what's the harm? Give and you shall receive...or is it slam the "not hurting anyone" fan to the ground and you win? Either way, the music doesn't sound so great right now. It's leaving a bad taste in my mouth again.

The ups and downs of being a Manilow fan,
Texas Fan

Monday, August 17, 2009

Fans, Civilians and Everyone in between

The Manilow world consists of people. And people are different. There die-hard fans. The occasional concert goers. The once in a lifetime attendees. And there are the civilians. Civilians is a term that the longtime fans have given to people who don't understand the man, the music or the concert experience. All these groups are continually clashing with each other over all kinds and types of drama.

  • The fans are out of control and rush the stage
  • The civilians yell at us when we want to stand
  • The fans sing loudly during the show and annoy those sitting next to them
  • The civilians get drunk and fall all over the fans during the show
  • The civilians won't be quiet during the ballads
  • The fans won't sit down and are rude to the people behind them
  • The occasional concert goers don't understand why the fans are yelling at inappropriate times
  • The once in a lifetime attendees can't believe how the die-hard fans behave
  • The civilians just want to sit and enjoy the show
  • The die-hard fans buy the same seats every show to get a chance at a dance or a handshake
  • The occasional fans don't understand why anyone would go to so many shows
  • The civilians won't "get into" the show and enjoy it

Everybody has an opinion. But here's something I've learned in the last few months: they are ALL valid points. What's the solution? Perhaps it is to empathize with the people around you; look at the concert from their point of view. What is it the French say, "C'est la vie

It's just a thought.
Texas Fan

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Manilow's Home in Vegas--all is not great in paradise

According to a recent article in the Las Vegas Sun:

The decline in visitation to Las Vegas this spring hurt business at the Las Vegas Hilton, which sustained a loss for the second quarter ended June 30. The 3,174-room Paradise Road property lost $10.552 million during the June quarter vs. a profit in the year-ago period of $3.394 million, a regulatory filing showed Thursday. Revenue declined from $75.5 million to $45.2 million.

These figures are not surprising. After spending a week there recently, it was obvious that business was in decline. It seems Vegas, like the rest of the country, is feeling the results of the recession. It was hard to see that at other properties. The NY NY Hotel was hopping with activity, as was Harrah's and the Luxor. I was at the Mandalay Bay hotel several days and the activity in some of the restaurants boasted lines waiting to get in.

The Hilton has some factors that are not in its favor. It's off the main strip. It's an older property. There are not that many restaurants or shows there to draw people in. There are just two bars, Tempo and Shimmer, with a few small ones attached to the restaurants. Tempo is dead except during Manilow nights and Shimmer draws a mostly male crowd.

I hope their marketing department has some innovative thinkers. It's time to bring the Hilton into the 21st century. Add a piano bar. Bring in a celebrity chef. Have a 24-hour restaurant that actually stays open all night. Offer some fun things to do past 11pm at night. It's obvious the convention business will not sustain them.

Here's hoping things improve in Vegas (and everywhere),

Texas Fan

Monday, August 10, 2009

Barry Manilow is NOT on the D-List,,,

...and neither is Kathy Griffin.

I'll admit it. Kathy Griffin is my guilty pleasure. I know she's crass. And vulgar. And has no shame. But she always seems to make fun of "celebrity" and that's what cracks me up. She's the antithesis of decorum and respect. She asks the questions that everyone wants to ask, but is afraid to ask. And she is not afraid to make a fool of herself for her comedy. Some people just need to lighten up and laugh.

So, there I was, sitting in my comfy chair tonight watching Kathy and Suzanne Somers call Barry Manilow. I could not stop laughing. Why? Because it was obvious he was NOT impressed and it was also obvious that she had absolutely no shame. Kathy, "Who is richer? You or Somers?"...Barry, "I think today it's me. But you know it's not about the money. It's about the heart." Gosh. He always has the perfect answer, doesn't he? Always a man of humility. Kathy, "Suzanne won't give me any of your personal contact information." Barry, "I wonder why? Bye." Gee, not even Kathy can get that info!

Of course, it's all in fun--scripted reality. And in the end, Barry and Suzanne show up at the reveal of her star. And, as always, Barry was smiling and laughing right along with her. But you've got to wonder, was it acting? I've seen that look before...many times "outside" of the theater. I wonder if Barry will indeed end up in her act. Now that, I'd like to hear.

At any rate, we all got a great cameo appearance on TV and what more could Manilow fans ask for? (a cameo appearance in person--but we can all dream, can't we?)

Crackin' up in Texas,
Texas Fan

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Heads up Manilow fans

Check out YBA's blog. The super sleuth that she is has discovered an interesting link:

You Begin Again

Thanks YBA for giving us an "early warning" sign. Here's hoping it's soon...and affordable (aka NOT a monthly subscription).

Holding my breath,
Texas Fan

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Wedding, The Hilton and a little Manilow

After a whirlwind week, a little Manilow, battling with wedding planners and some unexpected conversations, I'm sitting in my comfy chair in my room with a few minutes to write about my adventures on my "infamous" blog.

Who knew that planning a wedding in Vegas would be so emotionally draining. On one hand, it was exciting to be talking about it, discussing meals, doing the research and talking with a pastry chef. On the other hand it was frustrating dealing with an unbelieveably rude wedding coordinator and struggling with how to handle her unwillingness to meet me halfway. In the end, we were able to replace her with a supervisor and amazingly have all our requests honored. It's just a shame that once again, customer service makes or breaks your opinion in a business relationship.

Which brings me to the Hilton. It's obviously clear that the news about Vegas is represented there in the lack of staff, the closed restaurants, and the absence of gambling in the casino. The hotel was like a ghost town. Most of the restaurants weren't open. The tables and slot machines sat vacant. With the Star Trek exhibit gone, that part of the casino was completely unoccupied. Even the shops closed early. And, I was surprised to hear that my earlier prediction that the cancelled shows in June were Manilow related, was untrue. I was told by a very reliable source that the Hilton did indeed cancel the shows. And, when I'm wrong, I will admit it. So here it is...I was wrong. This is a perfect example of how past experience tends to taint the truth. (A side note--there is quite a bit of anxiousness over the fact that Manilow has not extended his contract yet for 2010)

The Manilow that I had the privilege to experience was priceless. I will never, ever, ever forget hearing and seeing him sing Talk to Me live. That man is a genius, not only musically, but also interpretively. If you just think about that song, the ups and down, the highs and lows, meshed in with the desperateness of those lyrics, you just melt when you hear it. And even though Sandra had its technical difficulties, Barry knocked it out of the ballpark. Those two songs made the price of my ticket worth every penny.

I was talking with my Manilow friend, Mandy (yes, named after the song) about the shows and how each one we had attended together had some special memories. We both felt that the fact that we did not attend every show, made the ones we did attend even more special. There was my first Vegas show, where I met Mandy and had a close encounter of a jacket kind with Barry. Then there was the next show we attended together when Mandy had her once in a lifetime moment of a dance that lasted the entire song (yes...the entire song)...those were the days. Then there was that time we heard him sing I Am Your Child live for the first time. I'll never forget the night he sang Memory for the first time, or sat down at the piano and sang Open Arms. Then there were those awesome shows in October when he first sang the high energy Islands in the Stream. For me, a "little" Manilow makes those Manilow moments much more special.

And I'd be remiss in not mentioning the time I spent with "the crazy Brit". She made me smile every evening as we sat and talked over drinks and got to know each other better. She is indeed a special lady.

Here's to Las Vegas!
Texas Fan

Monday, August 3, 2009

Censorship and the Manilow World

I would like to make clear my position on comment moderation and censorship. My policy: I will approve ALL comments, unless they are vulgar and vile. That means that there will be comments here that I don't necessarily agree with or condone. However, I do feel there needs to be a place where people can discuss differing viewpoints without fear of being censored. This has not always been my policy but I feel it is only fair to give differing viewpoints the opportunity to respond.

If you wonder where I stand on any issue, just read this blog. It is my goal to post about three things here: the music, treatment of the fans by the management, and anything that I find disrespectful or degrading to either Barry or his fans. And please remember that these are my opinions and everyone is entitled to disagree respectfully.

Texas Fan

PS I cannot approve comments until Wednesday when I return home so please be patient. If you leave a comment in the next few days it will eventually show as posted.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Not What You See

Perception is everything. The real problem is that we might not be how we appear but our actions sometimes speak volumes to others. If we want people to see the real us we have to be willing to be vulnerable, open and approachable. We may not feel like we are coming across in a certain way but if we are perceived that way by many, then odds are we are giving the wrong impression.

Looking beneath the surface requires honesty from both parties and a willingness to receive at times criticism and open up to the possibility that your perception might just be wrong. There is always so much more.

I will always have an opinion but I will try very hard to look beneath the obvious and ask myself if I am truly seeing what I need to see. If I have learned one thing in the last few months I've learned that the obvious is not always the truth.

Watching the sunrise from a different perspective this morning,
Texas Fan

Saturday, August 1, 2009

What a difference a day makes...

...24 little hours. Sounds like tonight's show was much "better" in regards to the audience participation and the seamless flow of things. "Sandra" was removed and some of the hits were reinserted (Ships, Somewhere Down the Road, and I Write the Songs) all reappeared.

Apparently adjustments were made for the faulty keyboard issues and everyone seemed noticeably more relaxed and at ease. There was no interaction on the right side of the stage, but the left side had several visits and acknowledgments.

All in all, it seemed that order has been restored in Manilow land and judging by the two Platinum photos I viewed (Jami Russell and her mom--lovely photos btw) Barry seemed to be happy this evening and enjoyed his visits with the fans.

There was no appearance in Tempo tonight although the area was "swept" prior to the show letting out AND the dancing tonight was (how should I put this) entertaining.

Time for some much needed shuteye,
Texas Fan
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