Sunday, September 6, 2009

The SMSSG vs The Artist

It's happened again. The SMSSG has re-emerged full force and the fans are all worked up into a frenzy over the weekend of shows. I will never understand that mentality. It's not that I don't enjoy those songs or the way he performs them. But when the SMSSG emerges, it overshadows The Artist. Those songs are crowd pleasers and I'm sure it's great to hear the applause and see the excitement that they bring. But I can't help but wonder what The Artist thinks when people are leaving during Talk to Me and on the edge of their seats for Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed.

Unfortunately, The Artist is a business. And the business makes more money when the SMSSG appears and the fans are worked up into a frenzy. I would much rather hear the full version of Could It Be Magic vs the one with the bamms. I would much rather hear him sing Every Single Day or Where You Go than Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed. I'd much rather see him sit at the piano and sing If I Should Love Again with that beautiful piano accompaniment than watch him writhe around on the stage during Looks Like We Made It.

I have ENORMOUS respect for The Artist. And even as much respect for The Showman. And the SMSSG can be fun to watch, but in the end, I would much prefer that he were known for his music and not for the way his fans respond to him. And trust me, that's what the world sees. Those crazy Fanilows...

I hope that some day The Artist will be comfortable enough and secure enough to show the world that he is so much more than a SMSSG. Otherwise, it's all a bunch of hype to me.

Because, believe it or not, that's the man and the music I fell in love with so many years ago,
Texas Fan

Note: Here's another fan's take on this subject. Time for those of us who feel this way to stand up and be counted!
Michelle's Blog


Bonnie said...

All I can say to your post is "AMEN"!!! I for one would love the original version of "Could It Be Magic", all 6:50 delicious minutes of it, without all the gyrations. It's a brilliant piece of work and it's the song that got me hooked.

In my book the Artist always out-shined the SMSSG and still does.

texas_fan said...

I just wish The Artist could see that there are so many of us out there that would LOVE to see more of it, and less of the other.

Jill said...

I agree. It would be so much better without out SMSSG which to me tends to more show for the sake of "show" than the creation and delivery of the incredible music.

you begin again.... said...


One of the comments I was saving for one of my upcoming posts was, "I get the medleys - how they're done, and why on several levels, but enough already."

You can't please everyone - that's not being sarcastic, that's the God's honest truth. I'll bet it's frustrating for *everyone* too.

Survivor said...

I so agree...I read the many reviews with mixed feelings! I question myself as to whether I am being a 'killjoy' by feeling uncomfortable with the SMSSG image or what!. Bonnie what I would give to see the full 'Could It Be Magic', it's the one that got me hooked too.
I also think that the many others who would love to see more of The Artist are not the ones who attend the shows all the time, they are possibly the ones like myself who can only attend once or twice a year! But as you say the business side wins over very time!!!
What about 'Fools Get Lucky' or 'Let's Take All Night To Say Goodbye' or 'Why Don't We Try A Slow Dance' or 'One More Time'....there are so many more!

Anonymous said...

The group that now calls themselves'the front row girls' are so predictable it is pathetic. They behave like sex starved frumps. How sad that Barry is the central part of their lives..their spending is excessively wasteful. Like I have said before their behavior is a sad commentary on their lives. Professional help might be worth their consideration.


texas_fan said...

Avery, Honestly...this wasn't meant to be a "bash the ladies" post. What they do with their money is their business. It was more along the lines of wishing there was more music and less hoopla.

YBA, You're so right. No matter what Barry does someone complains. I would just like to see him do what he enjoys, which by every indication, truly is "all about the music."

Survivor, It's hard not to feel like a "killjoy", but the voices who speak up the most are the ones that are heard. And if we don't ask, as they do, for the music, he will never know how much we crave it.

Jill, for me, it is and always has been about the music. The music can stand on its own. But the crowd that's there all the time, craves the hype. So that's what he delivers in an attempt to satisfy the crowd. Actually, he nails it when he does that. And I suppose, when you get right down to it, that's the mark of a true showman.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Suzanne..its just my gut reaction when the topic comes up.

When in Vegas, the Artist is there to make $$$$$ and does what he feels he has to to do that.

I hope he leaves the Hilton and Vegas all together.

I would rather see him less, than have to deal with all the hoopla that Vegas has brought.


texas_fan said...

I agree with you. It's the "Vegas" thing and you have to make the crowds happy. You have to give him that, he's good at what he does.

Sue said...

Look pass "The Artist" to the person. Everyone has a boss. For Barry Manilow, it's the audience. Fame and wealth comes at a price. The prices is compromise or playing to the screaming ladies. Screams equal money. When that doesn't matter any more, then the music will come back. With a new Vegas deal looming, that day could be very far away.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you. I never needed the "moves" that have obviously become so important in Barry's show.
I'll never forget the one night my daughter came to the show with me and Barry started singing that song that goes along with all the infamous thigh rubs and gyrations. Then the yelling and screaming began. Women were yelling... Oh, my God.. Oh, my God.. My daughter looks at me laughing and said, Mom what the heck is going on? These women are acting like immature teenagers. Then she said, I'm so glad you are nothing like them and that you know that it is the music that matters, not the moves.
Can't even tell you what she said to me the first time she saw Barry grab himself during Copa.. Yikes, I didn't know she knew those words ;)))
I think it is a shame that Barry feels all these "moves" are necessary to please his fans.
I know this is Vegas and a show needs a little something extra but,
I also wish he would just get back to the music. That's what hooked me over 35 years ago and that is what keeps me hooked!!
Bonnie, I also agree with you. "Could It Be Magic" is a fantastic piece of music. I would love to see him perform that just sitting at the piano and doing what he does best!!!


texas_fan said...

My daughter went with me last year to see him in Dallas. She had pretty much the same reaction. Which I think is the reaction of most people when they see it for the first time. He played Could It Be Magic that night, the full version. Wow. That was worth the price of the ticket. We didn't need all the moves to sell us, we just needed the music. He's one of the most talented musicians and performers I have ever seen on stage. Why muddle it?

Survivor said...

I would just like to add for what it's worth, that if only Barry realised that he is 100 times sexier without all the bamms and grabs!!
That smile and those eyes make my heart melt every time I see even a picture never mind up close!!

Dawn Bushman said...

All I can say is... AMEN!!!!

anotherSue said...

You've brought up some interesting discussions lately, Suzanne . . . I've keep intending to write, but something always seems to get in the way. Anyway . . .

I think it's important to point out that MOST loyal fans would also like to hear the full version of CIBM or "If I Should Love Again", but Barry is reluctant to do these kinds of songs in Vegas (and sometimes elsewhere) for fear of "losing" the civilians. He has voiced this concern over and over throughout the years.

Although it's fun to think that Barry & Co. occasionally reads the internet for song ideas, I really don't think a few women on the Bnet have the power to change Barry's performances in Vegas. Even when it appears "requests" have been granted, it is usually just for a single show, and it is only an additional ONE or TWO fan-favorites like WBSIMB. Honestly, I think that is a wonderful treat for fans that travel from around the world to see Barry in Las Vegas.

Fast versions of CIBM and WBSIMB, or large scale productions like NYCR or Come Monday/They Dance/Hot Stuff have always generated a positive, fun reaction from Barry's audiences . . . and it appears that Barry is going to keep doing them until he can't! Frankly, I'm grateful that Barry can still dance around that stage (and sing) - and better than most young performers. I do feel the current "Ultimate Manilow" show lacks some of that fun energy of "M&P", and I think these songs add some needed uptempo production numbers. . . and don't forget that many of the same fans that love an occasional bamm also wrote about their admiration for the slower, longer, more emotional HATM numbers.

If Barry or Garry (or whoever)are reading the internet for show inspiration, I'd recommend everyone continue to write about their passion for some of these older, non-hits. Like an occasional WBSIMB, maybe we'll eventually hear one or two of them in a show, as well. Look what happened with "Talk to Me".

Believe me, I do understand your concerns about "The Artist"; given the make-up of the average paying audience, however, I don't know how often we can expect to see a full version of a song like CIBM. Hey, I even think it would be great to even hear the entire version of "TGTF" or "This One's for You". Some of these older songs are so beautiful, and I too, miss hearing them. Given I'm only in Vegas about three times a year (no, we're not there all the time), when I'm home I tend to listen to my concert DVD's (lately it's the Greek). Many of those performances are priceless, and I can play my favorites (WINE) over and over!

I'm not diagreeing with the subject matter . . . I'm just concerned that some individuals want to "blame" a few female fans for this situation. I'd recommend keeping this topic alive on here and other sites . . . maybe Barry will eventually add a "Lucky Strike" extra once in a while . . . and when he he does sing one of those other "uptempo" songs, (maybe) just try to have fun with it. Afterall, if you are not enjoying the music and the performances, why bother?

Sorry for the long length-

texas_fan said...

Thanks for commenting. As I have said I can see value in both points.

Just to clarify. It was never my intention to blame any one group of fans. My intention was to say that I felt it was a shame that some of the best numbers have been discarded to simply please the audience. And while I understand the need for uptempo songs (I love Islands in the Stream and Never Gonna Give You Up) I never feel there is a need to add a sexual undertone to any of it. But...not beating a dead horse...everyone knows how I feel about that.

I grew up in a different time. I still believe that you can have a good comedy show without vulgar jokes and you can have an entertaining show in Vegas without sexual innuendos. My daughter and I attended a Johnny Mathis show last year that was every bit as good as Barry's. He sang and the music was the entertainment.

I love Barry's shows. I love how he draws the audience in. I love how he makes us feel with the music. But honestly, things have changed since I started going in 2006. It just seems the focus has been on "arousing" the audience and working it into a frenzy. Perhaps it's the nature of Vegas, or perhaps the audience has changed. Either way, I will continue to voice my disdain for the sexual content and the frenzied response. But, I will not point fingers and blame anyone. It's Barry's choice and he's a big boy. I'm a customer, and I can voice my opinion if I so choose. He doesn't have to listen, and neither does anyone else.

anotherSue said...

Just a clarification, Suzanne. I was not saying YOU were blaming anyone, but as history indicates (as well as a few of the responses to this topic), some individuals seem to think otherwise. The Bnet is not for everyone (including me), but I don't believe a few women are the reason for the change in focus. I think the reasons are more complex.

Maybe some of this is about
ego (??). . . most of Barry's performances are fantastic, but most long-time fans have already realized the "value" of a loud reaction . . . whether that be clapping, standing ovations, dancing along, or even yelling at the "right" moments. We've all seen the shows on "quiet" evenings (usually Weds/Thurs), and then the difference when the "fans" fill the first 4-6 rows of the Hilton on the weekends. I realize Barry is a performer, but it has to be tough getting the same kind of response from the "cement mixers". Even though it is Vegas, I have to believe it's more rewarding (and fun) to perform for loyal fans. JMHO.

Believe me, I'm all in favor of free speech . . . I just prefer that one's opinions are based on reality (not perception). You've recently done a good job discussing this issue, so I'd prefer not to start that discussion again. . . Hopefully the majority of fans will find a "place" that they can comfortably add to Manilow-related discussions . . . take care.

Survivor said...

I was going to leave a comment on the MMN blog but was too late so thought I would put it here.
There are some who will just not understand what I'm about to say but..
First of all I want to make it clear that I think that Barry Manilow is absolutely the sexiest man on the planet. I can't imagine a day going by without thinking about him or having him in my life somehow or other! He does all the things like make my tummy turn somersaults, make my heart ache not knowing when I might see him again or just make me smile.
Having said that I do not like the sexual innuendos in his performances. They do nothing to turn me on, as I said in a previous post his smile and those eyes when he looks at you is more than enough to do that. I much prefer the sensuality he just has when he does some songs like Tito! When I saw him perform that with the look on his face and those dance moves wow!
A few people said on MMN that they wish they had been there last weekend, I am glad I wasn't! I would have felt uncomfortable watching all of that. I laugh a little at the small bits but to have had almost a whole show with all the screaming etc to go with it, no I can honestly say I wouldn't have liked it. I have been at shows with some of this and the screaming etc puts me off, I can't hear the music! Neither am I a prude, snob, or anything else people might think, in fact the complete opposite.
I have been right on the front row when he has done the bamms and I laughed at myself because I closed my eyes...........
So I am one of those who will never 'get' the overt sexual bits or enjoy them but that doesn't make me love him any less. Give me sensual every time, yes please!!!!

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