Sunday, December 12, 2010


Courtesy of assorted posters in Europe who got the footage of the Nobel Peace Prize concert on YouTube.
For as long as TPTB allow it to stay.  (Come on guys, make an exception for this, OK?  Please?  The world won't end and more will see the HUGE impact Barry's music has made at yet another level.)

Barry's the master of arranging.  This presentation in this setting are the ultimate.  Nothing is going to beat this version.  I don't want to say retire it, but every performance from now on will be compared to this one.

Dammit.  You sonofabitch....  I said in posts before that I wasn't going to let you make me cry and now I'm crying.  Shit.  You win.   ;-)

Gotta lighten up a little bit.  What good is hope and freedom without joy and fun for the helluvit?  This would have been a good time to reinstate the random duet.

Barry, I wonder how many times when you were making these "commercial" songs written by someone else you wondered what the point was.  From a Chinese dissident winning the greatest honor bestowed on this planet, to the misfits on the alt.newsgroup and the blogs (like this one....) telling stories of how a song or two turned their lives around, every note made a difference.  Our little fan stories may not be as great an honor as the concert you gave here, but it still meant the entire world to each of us.  Even if it was just a simple commercial song or yet another typical show that you didn't think much of at the time.

So now that you've performed in honor of the Nobel Peace Prize, do you believe us now???

Here's more....

Thursday, December 9, 2010

More Conversations

Hi Everyone

Well, I’m alive!!


This horrible flu/bronchitis/head cold was a real big one. It’s gone through the band and crew like wildfire. It’s going through all the shows in Vegas. Even Donnie and Marie had to cancel their show.

Doesn't surprise me in the least.  Those resorts are petri dishes, I swear.  The older ones are the worst.  I have come home with something every time I stayed at the Hilton. I won't set foot in the Sahara.

On Thursday, I came in especially to light and stage the new Christmas segment with Chris Medvitz, my media/lighting designer.

Keely and a few of my crew told me that during the two weeks between Paris weekends, they were in bed feeling awful.

The whole country has it.  I won't bore (or sicken) you with the details of what it was like when three kids in the same house catch the same bug with different results.

But I was feeling fine all day Thursday. On Friday, I was still okay and started run-through’s with the adorable children’s choir from the schools in Vegas.

At 5:30 I did the very last run through with the kids and as I got to the last few notes of “Because It’s Christmas” I could feel my chest and vocal chords tighten up.

Within one hour –ONE HOUR- I had 102 degree fever, and I could barely speak, no less sing.

I will do anything not to cancel a show. I have performed with fever, flu, broken toes, death in the family, hurting hips – but if bronchitis hits a singer, there’s nothing to be done.

Two doctors said to me: “Barry. Go home.”

Ya didn't listen to the first one, did you?  He had to call in reinforcements to get you to rest?

So, feeling horrible Jewish Guilt, I canceled the show. And the entire weekend.

Just like when I passed on my "Vegas Bug" to my eldest and she came down with walking pneumonia.  Excet that was Catholic Guilt.  Same guilt, different holidays.

I want to apologize to all those people who planned on seeing our show. I am so sorry I had to cancel that weekend.

When you're sick, you're sick and since no one wants to watch you barf or pass out on stage, an apology isn't necessary.  But it's nice to hear it and the words mean a lot to those who had to miss you.

We all came back and did last weekend, but by the way, half of the band and crew are still suffering with this nasty strain of flu. Thanks everyone, for understanding.

I read that BMI printed the titles to the songs on Fifteen Minutes. The only titles that are part of Fifteen Minutes are the songs that were written by Enoch Anderson and myself.

Hey, we need something to chew on until the big unveiling.  Do you blame us?

The album is moving along. Very exciting.

Speaking of albums, Sony in Australia, is releasing a CD of all of my duets over the years. Listening to them all back to back is very entertaining and pretty powerful. From singing with Sarah Vaughan on “Blue” to Bette Midler on “Slow Boat To China” to Lily Tomlin on “The Last Duet”. The list goes on and on and it’s such an honor to have been able to write, arrange and sing with these great talents. I hope you like this CD.

Any chance it will hit iTunes in the USA?  Or maybe on as an import? "Slow Boat to China" is my favorite in that list.

And by the way, the duet with Elaine Paige is out and I think it’s great. A beautiful song (“The Prayer”) and Elaine is just wonderful on it. I loved singing the song and singing with her.

I finished doing a very interesting project last week.

The BBC2 in Britain offered me to host my own series about great composers of the Great American Songbook. I’m calling it “They Write The Songs”.

Ten weeks. Tuesdays at 10:00PM.

Each week I talk about the life of a great composer – Leonard Bernstein, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, etc. – play their music sung by great vocalists and play and sing now and then as I describe why their songs are different and lasting.

It was like writing a thesis on each composer, but I learned so much about these talented men who gave us some of the greatest songs ever.

It begins airing in the U.K. and on line in March. If you can find BBC2, check it out. I love it.

This is going to be great!  For the Yanks, bookmark this and listen online:  Someone post when they go up, 'K?
I'm glad you're into these types of shows.  I listened to your stint on "Desert Island Discs" as many times as I could before it was pulled from the BBC site.  I can't tell whether you were just talking or trying to teach the crowds something more about music than they (we) casually here, but I learned a lot from it.  In your book you talk a lot about Laura Nyro and well.....  I had no f*cking idea what you were talking about.  On the radio when you're describing what you liked and why, and the impact the music had on you, it made a lot more sense.  I can hear why she's one of your favorites.  I don't have the words, they probably exist, but it's something that even someone like me can hear.  Because of the music you made, new worlds opened up to me and others like me who otherwise wouldn't pay attention to these types of music that are outside of the mainstream. 

Have a great holiday, everyone and thanks for another wonderful year.

Same to you - especially that last part.  I think you're in Oslo now for the Nobel Prize presentation.  (Or lack of presentation.  We'll be perched by the news seeing how that plays out.)  Congrats also on the Grammy nomination!  You've gotten so many is it something that becomes routine?  Or that you get tired of?  Or is it still exciting when your name is on the list in the press release?

Just got an email from your people at Stiletto about your performing at the Grammys as well.  Not that you need any ideas but these "insider" type of shows would get a good response on Manilow TV.  Somehow it's easy to imagine that you perform differently for your peers and other "industry people" than you do for the average fan audience. 

We're not going to forget about "Fifteen Minutes".  If your heart is in that work the way it was in "Paradise Cafe" or "Mayflower" it will be incredible.  That's the way it always is with your music.  I know you're not going to "rest" so I'll just say I hope you have a good holiday season (whatever you're celebrating) with family and friends.