Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Revolving Door

Manilow fans speak of the "revolving door" with fondness. It's that door at the Hilton (and now the Paris) that we enter every time we go to a Manilow show in Las Vegas. It's where "the door that we go out of is the door that we come in" and it's where we meet our friends and make those amazing Manilow memories.

For me, my Manilow memories happened at the Las Vegas Hilton. It's where I first saw Barry and where I met my very first Manilow friend. The Hilton is where those good times happened and as I think back, some places and events hang heavy on my mind and heart. It simply felt like home.

Ah Fortuna. I can still smell the coffee brewing and taste that delicious cappuccino that I treated myself to every time I went there. I remember sitting at the small tables watching the people go by, enter the revolving door and pass by on their way to the casino. It was the BEST place for human theater. I have the best memories of laughter at those tables.

The Hilton Theater
This is where the magic happened. It's where I had my first Manilow moment, met my first Manilow friend, and yelled and screamed when I heard, "right here, right now" before the show began. We hung out at the front of the stage before the show and waited until the last person left the theater after the show. We met our friends there, hugged, took pictures and even got some Manilow handshakes on occasion. The stage seats were where the most amazing moments happened; where the champagne flowed; and where we got "up close and personal" with the Shadowman himself.

The M Store
No trip to Vegas was complete without a visit to the M Store. We viewed (and purchased) all the new Manilow merchandise, watched the videos as they played, swooned over the gorgeous gargantuan photo of Barry on the wall, and stood around and chatted with the M Store staff.

The first time I went to Tempo was right after a fan convention. My friend Mandy and I were invited to join a couple after the show (he had left early and saved us seats) so that we could sit close to the "back" area and see Barry when he came in after the show. At the time, it seemed bizarre but going to Tempo after the shows became one of our routines. We christened the tassles with the tassle dance and were probably the first ones to come up with the idea of a dance floor before it ever appeared. I can taste the margaritas, champagne cocktails and bloody marys, along with that spicy snack mixture they always put on the tables. It was where we danced, and drank and acted generally silly, and it was where we were able to let go, forget our troubles and have some adult fun.

We nicknamed the band "the screamers" and had great fun there after Tempo closed down. Since we could never hear ourselves talk, we mostly laughed as the band got louder and the ancient guitar/keyboard player rocked the house. We named one of the guys "the Klingon" because he reminded us of the Klingons in Star Trek. It was the last stand before heading off to bed and often off to wander around the Hilton.

Paradise Cafe
The food there was average but it was where we ate while we were there. I think the Manilow fans felt some sort of obligation to eat there because of the name. I recall one late night meal (before they started closing at night) that we showed up and they were out of just about everything. We laughed when we asked for just about every item on the menu and the waiter said, "we're out of that." What 24 hour Vegas restaurant runs out of food?

Hilton Buffet
Breakfast wasn't breakfast unless you ate at the Hilton Buffet. Every fan ate there. Rumor had it that "Barry and his entourage" ate breakfast there, so that's where we went. I did see several of his band members and his backup singers there at times, but I never, ever saw Barry. I suspected that he had room service up in his Elvis penthouse apartment. We did, however, spend hours there talking and reminiscing about the previous nights shows, and looking forward to the shows ahead. It too was a great place for human theater.

The Hilton Staff
The people that worked there became our friends: Mattie, Larry, CJ, the Tempo dancers, the Shimmer screamers, the M store staff, the casino hosts. It was like a family and we treated them as such.

There have been some bittersweet memories there and when I go to Vegas next month, I'll walk through that revolving door again and have a cup of coffee at Fortuna and bask in the memories.

"I'll see you then when you and I have made it back from the people and the places we have been",
Texas Fan

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for reminding us of the great memories at the Hilton! Very nostalgic! Enjoy your trip back!

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