Guest Post: Confessions of a 19-Year Old Barry Manilow Fan

April 30, 2007 at 3:48 pm 14 comments


Anticipating “Music and Passion” at the Las Vegas Hilton

Every generation has their heart throb. Today Justin Timberlake titillates young women and gay men everywhere with his high sexy voice, smooth dance moves, and cocky demeanor. In the 80s George Michael filled girls’ rooms everywhere with his poster displaying his rough five o’clock shadow, black leather jacket, and skin tight blue jeans. Yes, every generation has a man to lust after. But as every decade comes and goes so does the heart throb attached with it. Their looks fade with time and they are no longer the sweet pieces of meat that they once were. This is pretty much the standard procedure for famous idols. They have their time in the sun and then they fade away as fast as the night. However, there are the rare few who go beyond all expectations and who linger around longer than they were supposed to. The elite that are still able to capture audiences in their old age and maintain the prestigious status that they held in their youth. While these men are uncommon, they can still be found. And one such man that has been able to captivate audiences for over 40 years comes in the form of Barry Manilow.

While no one has ever accused Barry Manilow of ever being a sexy young thing, he was and still is viewed as a heart throb. While many would doubt this claim, seeing as how Barry is a short Jewish man with wavy blond streaked hair and a face that has seen more botox than Joan Rivers, his popularity and heart throb status can not be argued, solely judged by his concert at the Las Vegas Hilton. I had the opportunity to not only attend Barry’s concert, but was fortunate enough to sit on the second row stage side at his April 26th show. Now I have been a Barry Manilow fan ever since the 8th grade. His songs have lifted me through rough, angry times and made me forget the world. I have an appreciation for him which runs deep and I am an avid fan and supporter. However, even with my profound respect and admiration for Barry, I was expecting a somewhat paraplegic performance from him. I figured that he would have a glass of water in his hand at all times and that I would be lucky if he stood for more than 3 songs. I also thought I would be stuck in an audience full of seniors hooked up to oxygen tanks and IV drips. It turns out that I was wrong about all of the above, well maybe except for the part about the ailing seniors.


Barry Manilow pauses and prepares for the Copacabana at the concert

What I am about to say is a great claim to make, but I am going to make it anyway. Barry Manilow is the greatest performer of the century. How can this be you may wonder? The man is ancient, he looks like the love child of Siegfried and Roy, and to be perfectly honest the man’s singing about his deep love for the opposite sex while he obviously bats
for the other team. Well even with all those factors playing against him let me just ask you this. Do you know any other 63-year old man who can dance and belt out songs for two solid hours with out stopping for a breather? Do you know any old man who can get away with wearing multi-colored neon jackets and shake his bony rear end to a crowd and still get sighs from 70 year old women in the audience? Do you know any man who can get people out of their wheel chairs and shaking what’s left of their decaying bodies to the Copacabana? Well the answer is that there is only one man who can do all this, and that man is non other than Barry Manilow.



Winding down at the end of the show

His performance at the concert was outstanding. He never stopped moving. He has a genuine compassion to his voice that can make any soul on this earth trust him with their life savings. This trust and compassion, mixed with a jaw dropping talent on the piano and a voice that still belts out the high notes for seconds on end, is all encompassed in what is Barry Manilow. Barry’s concert was in no way shape or form a disappointment. He sang all his hits one after the other. He riled up the crowd and even brought up one lucky soul to come up and slow dance with him. He won the crowd over within seconds and I got to see it all up close from the second row, with my very own Barry Manilow champagne glass (which I had them fill with orange juice) and a personalized Barry Manilow glow stick (all of which came free with the my seat, seeing as how I had to pay a pretty penny to get the upfront action). Looking in the crowd I was the youngest person there at the ripe age of 19. But being there made me feel sorry for my generation. The songs on the radio today are about the pure superficial nature of love, or I should say lust. No one is digging deeper. We get lyrics like “I saw you in the club! I’d like to go take you and make sweet love!” and that’s what my generation is plugging into, as where Barry is singing about something deeper, something more than skin deep. Sure it may sound a bit idealistic, but isn’t that what songs are for. To take you out of reality for just three or four sweet minutes and make you forget about the harsh reality that is life. Well that’s what Barry did for me. His concert was one mesmerizing two hour escape from the rest of the world. I could forget about school, problems, and all the other junk that life throws at you and just have a brief period where I could have hope. That is the magic that Barry can give. For anyone who thinks his music is facile and stupid you’re missing the point. The man has sold over 75 million albums worldwide and just last year his CD of 1950s classics topped the billboard chart at number 1. A man who is facile and stupid could never do that. But more than his impressive resume is the message that his music gives. It leaves you feeling good, uplifted and just plain happy. For anyone in Vegas I highly recommend that you give Barry a chance. You will not be disappointed.

*Thanks to JL’s little sister for this thoughtful review of Barry’s concert. While she is prepared to defend her pro-Barry stance, she maintains that this passion is certainly less bizarre than her older sister’s preoccupation with Manny.


Entry filed under: Celebrities, Fun Time Nicki, Music, Pop Culture.

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14 Comments Add your own

  • 1. lemare  |  May 1, 2007 at 12:29 am

    What is in Barry’s right hand in the “Winding down” picture?

  • 2. Jdon  |  May 1, 2007 at 11:23 am

    That was the most revealing thing I have ever read. I do feel a little gayer, but at the same time I feel comfortable with that.

    Oh, and I’m with you Lemare. Barry is totally honkin’ a doobie in his perfectly manicured fingers. It’s no wonder he looks so dang smug.

  • 3. Nicole  |  May 1, 2007 at 1:26 pm

    Don’t worry, it’s a fake doobie. Barry was just trying to get the crowd in the mood for some 60s music.

  • 4. lemare  |  May 1, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    This story keeps getting better and better…

    “And now, in honor of the song ‘Mandy’, I will hold this fake doobie as a prop.”

    My sis went to his concert in Vegas and procured a T-shirt that simply said, “MANILOW”. I’m half tempted to silk screen one for myself.

  • 5. IRF Weekly Wrap-up « In Rare Form  |  May 6, 2007 at 12:19 pm

    […] you should still tune in because we have guest bloggers who pitch in to write on anything from Barry Manilow to  The […]

  • 6. slalessi  |  August 26, 2007 at 4:36 am

    Cant agree more with all you say except on two points – just had to mention!! You describe Barry as “a short Jewish man” -Whilst it is true that he has the sexiest Jewish face / eyes you’ll ever see , one thing he ain’t is SHORT!!! Haven’t you noticed those long legs!! He’s 6ft +. Also I understand the jury is still out on the sexuality issue which is how he likes it – the ol’ enigmatic person!! But maybe I’m just wishful thinking!!

  • 7. Suzan  |  September 29, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    What a great review! You obviously had a wonderful time, and your writing style is excellent. I’ve seen Barry several times in Las Vegas as well, and you did a great job of capturing the fun, the excitement, and the emotions. My only disagreement is that most people aren’t 70 and in wheelchairs–they range from kids to grandmas but the average age is probably women, mid-40’s to early 50’s….which, I guess when you’re 19, SEEMS like 70!

    You should have taken the champagne–I doubt they would have asked.

  • 8. Charlotte  |  October 13, 2007 at 11:53 am

    I just came back from Vegas and Barry Manilow’s Music and Passion this last week and couldn’t agree with you more. I totally get how your generation is missing out on really well writen songs and Lyrics and I am in my 50s(mid). But Barry Manilow captured me with his music when I was just slightly older then you. It’s refreshing that you have such a open mind , eyes and ears for such music and for the Man who “writes the songs the whole world sings”(accept he didn’t write that one but made it his own anyway)! It just makes you feel GOOD!

  • 9. Cindy Connor  |  January 13, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    I, too, as you are now, a 16,17,18yr. & 19yr. old who was , and, still, is an adoring fan of Barry Manilow. I have seen him 4 times, live , in my life. I went to Las Vegas this past July and saw Music & Passion. I have thevideo and, also, saw it on PBS. I had seen the video about 100 times, before, I went to Las Vegas. I was, also, very lucky , to be sitting in the FRONT row on the left hand side of the stage. It was an experience I’ll never forget. I, actually, didn’t remember any of the songs or performances or even hearing them while I was sitting in that , first row. I realized , I had come to see the man up close, and personal. That’s what I did! I just watched every move he made and I could see his expressiions change being so, grateful, that I was sitting so close to experience and feel all of that from him. It was like a kid going to DisneyWorld and seeing their favorite character come to life! He was, really, real,! That’s why I didn’t hear anything! I just sat there and sobbed.

    He is , the most talented performer , I know. I listen to him in the car, all day long , as I am on the road , alot. It , always , relaxes me and brings happiness to me when I’m down or had a tough day. No other performer has, ever, had that effect, on me. I have so many of his Cd’s , and love them, all.

    I am going back to see Music & Passion the end of February in the sate that I live, where he is coming to perform. This time, I’ll be able to enjoy and hear the show, hoping I won’t be so overwhelmed by this genuine performer and human being. I believe he is as , sincere and grateful , to his audiences and fans as he says, all the time. You can hear and feel , so much of him , through his music. A true blue fan.; I will , forever, be.

  • 10. Maria  |  February 27, 2008 at 12:16 am

    Girl, your not the only young Barry manilow fan.
    I’m 17 years old and just went to my first Barry concert and sat in the first row!!!!!!!!!!!! *squeal* and also i became a fan of his when i was 5. pretty early huh.
    anyway what you wrote here about how his music goes deeper and how it helps you escape reality, i have been trying to get people in my class to realise that but they all think he just some old man who doesn’t know when to quit. this makes me sad. Barry always helps me cheer up when i’m down. he never fails

  • 11. Sheila lampke  |  May 17, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    I was born in 1972 and my mother was a HUGE Barry fan. She always said, “He’s just a nice Jewish boy from Brooklyn!” I’ve been listening to him for as long as I can remember – off and on. I’m going to visit my friend in Las Vegas this year and one of my conditions for getting on a plane (I hate flying) is that we go see Barry. It will be my first time seeing him live. All I can hope for is that I will be that lucky girl who gets picked to go up and sing with him! I love me some Barry and I KNOW I’m not the only young lady out there who thinks he’s still sexy as hell!

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  • 13. Jessica  |  October 4, 2008 at 2:01 am

    I LOVE Barry…and remember when I was the youngest Barry fan (I dragged my parents to my first concert at 10, in 1995) …as I look at the “winding down pic” I have to crack up…. a “fake” doobie…possibly. And, knowing how health conscious he has become, probably…even…
    but it reminds me of a story in Sweet Life (his autobiography! READ IT!)

    ..teehee…Barry tokin’ the good stuff…


  • 14. lemare  |  October 6, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    I had no idea Barry had an autobiography. I’ll add Sweet Life to my list of “must reads” 🙂


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