Friday, August 20, 2010


(I lied - one more post before I retreat under my rock for a few weeks.)

When Chris announced the current Manilow TV episode was from 1975, I thought of 3 things:
1)  Leisure Suits
2)  Rhinestones
3)  Mullets

I was right.  Although the good ole boys warning the audience they were being taped won the Mullet Contest hands-down.

What's cool about this is the set list and chatter are basically the same as the Troubadour show in Los Angeles that was taped a couple of months earlier and that I linked to back in February.  (I haven't been back to that link in a while so I don't know if the file is still there or if it's since been taken down.)  So at least we not only get the show through "official" channels, there's visuals now.

Warning:  not only the dresses got the Ronco rhinestudder treatment.  So did the girls' EYELIDS.  OUCH!!!

Nobody looked "broke" up there.  (Barry's word, not mine.)  Although the girls looked like they just walked out of King Herod's scene of Jesus Christ Superstar and everyone and their dog wore flannel shirts, that's just what everyone looked like at the time.

Highlights:  again, "Somebody's Baby".  I hope he's playing it like this at the Paris.  It's one of those songs that doesn't need a lot of window dressing, it stands on its own.

More highlights:  the Martha & the Vandellas medley.  Those of you who are upset that he's "doing all covers" now, here's a reminder that that isn't a new tack for him.

The VSM reminded me of when I got to see Barry's show for the first time in Atlanta.  I didn't know if this would be part of the act or not, so I prayed constantly, "Please, PLEEZE do NOT do the Pepsi or Tropicana things."  You see, the venue was three blocks away from the Coca-Cola Global HQ.  People are fiercely loyal to that brand (or at least loyal to the stock in their portfolios) and anyone who flaunts that by waving "the other company" around does so at his own risk.  TPTB would have to pan the Chattahoochee just to find enough of him to bury.

I love comparing and contrasting these shows from different eras.  Not to see what's different necessarily, but how much is similar.  Some bits just work - always.  You can also see that Barry may have gotten more comfortable with himself and his presence on stage over the years, but the core was always there.  Though he may not have known it at the time, or even thought about it.  It's just there.

This one is worth the price of admission and fun to watch.  That's what grabbed me about the set list, including the songs you don't hear much anymore:  it's just fun.  You couldn't tell that they were broke, or if someone was pissed off at someone else, or something else was going wrong.  The show took all of that away.

If TPTB are taking requests for ManilowTV, I'd be obliged if you'd put this in the queue.  How about something from the 80s?  Between Paradise Cafe and the purple album.  Lots of great music made in those years and not all of us got to see it live.  (ahem)

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