Friday, November 14, 2008

A Tale of Two Cities

For background on this post, please visit Manilow Musings: Have the fans gotten out of control?
I agree with the hypothesis in the article and the observations below are the reasons why.

Dateline: October 24, 2008 11:00 PM PT
Objective: Relax in Tempo after Barry's concert

My Experience:
  • Leave the showroom
  • Enter nightclub
  • Find seat with group
  • Notice heavy cigarette smoke
  • Decide to sit at bar instead
  • Find empty barstool
  • Sit
  • Flag down Rafael to open a tab
  • Drink
Barry and the band's process:
(As observed from aforementioned barstool)

The side entrance to Tempo is roped off and guarded. The entrance to the back room from the main lounge is also guarded.
About 15 security guards fan out through the casino outside the showroom and Tempo.
Two guards are flanking a man with Barry's hairstyle and color job - was he a decoy?
Assorted band members trickle into the side entrance as an occasional fan calls out their names. They smile, wave, and keep it moving.
Keely and Kye slowly creep out of the showroom entrance. Visualize canaries in a coal mine: if the canaries don't pass out from mine gasses, it's safe for the miners to enter. If no one acosts the backup singers, it's probably safe for Barry to emerge.
The parade starts: Garry and a number of unfamiliar men line up against the wall between Tempo's side entrance and the showroom hallway. Barry follows with Monica at his side. His eyes are down and every fiber of his body language says, "Please do not approach me." Following him is Marc and other assorted staff.
Between this parade and the rest of the room, are six security guards, also walking in a tight line. If someone in the public can't take the hint by the way these people are standing together that they wish to be left alone, the guards will clear it up for them.
The entourage disappears into the back room. You can't tell what they are saying or doing because they all remain in a corner that is the least visible to the bar and the rest of the club.

Now why were these two experiences so different?
Because TPTB decided that Barry needed to be protected.

Protected from what?
People who don't know how to express themselves appropriately and don't know when to leave well enough alone.

Which means that these people without self-control must exist in some significant numbers.

That little procedure was expensive in terms of both payroll and time taken to analyze the need, plan the personnel and timing, and rehearse the movements. This wasn't spontaneous; it HAD to be choreographed. Which is why I compared the security guards to the Blue Angels in another post - precision like that takes time and effort and doesn't come cheap. No one is going to subject their accounts payable department to that kind of expense without a legitimate need. From the outside looking in, it's funny like a bad sitcom or a junior-high school play. I imagine that if I had to live with it every day, it would be anything but funny.

As long as there are audience members who do not know how to contain themselves while indulging in their fun and fantasies, there is going to be more distance between Barry and his admirers. That means clinging to him while shaking his hand, rushing the stage and similar behaviour that would make a security guard pop out of his seat to protect his boss from a possible threat.

What bothered me the most was the fact that to express my appreciation for Barry as a human being after the show, the best I could do was stay in my seat and say nothing. That is sad on so many levels I don't know where to start.

More interesting reading: Just Life: Celebrity Worship Syndrome


  1. Sad doesn't even begin to describe it. Sad for him because he can't just "be" and if he cares to approach could. Sad because those fans who are content to just let him "be" are the ones he might approach but can't. After watching the frenzy at the last Birthday Bash (the same look and entourage) its even more sad because everyone in that room adored him but the ones who grabbed and pulled and yanked and rushed are the ones he came in contact with. Sad doesn't even begin to describe it.

  2. I can totally relate after reading your descriptive experience. Unfortunatley, this same scenario will continue to play out as long as Barry attempts to visit Tempo. I find it a shame that Barry cannot enjoy HIS time without having to be paraded with a security detail fit for the President of the United States. Barry holding his down and not giving any type of contact.....Does that not give these people the hint? I guess it will just take a blount remark to get the point across as he has done before right from the stage.

    Glad you liked reading the study. I found it to be very interesting.

  3. YBA, it is a shame. The things that we take for granted (spending time with our friends after work) - Barry cannot do because he is stared at like he is on display. Even backstage during Platinum there is a HUGE security presence. There were only 10 of us, and I know there was at least one guard for each of us. I was a little surprised that there were so many for such a small group then again, I should not have been seeing that his "fans" are worse than any stranger ever will be.

  4. What's even more scarier are the "fans" who have moved to either Vegas or Palm Springs in the recent years because their fantasy world has taken over and become their reality. I really do fear for Barry's safety.