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Oh, Man - What a Show! Barry Manilow Brings All His Biggest Hits Back to Smashville

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Oh, Man! Barry Manilow still knows how to put on a show. Mr. Manilow was the master of ceremonies at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee on January 20, 2023. His unparalleled career is made up of virtually every facet of music, including performing, composing, arranging, producing and most of all - showmanship. In Nashville, the icon was supported by a horn and rhythm section along with a talented team of backing vocalists. Barry has recorded and released 51 Top 40 singles on the Adult Contemporary Chart, including 13 that hit number one, 28 that appeared within the top ten, and 36 that reached the top twenty. He has released 13 platinum and six multi-platinum albums so his current and possibly last tour is rightly called MANILOW: HITS 2023!

Barry Manilow had them "Dancin' in the Aisles" in Nashville.

As fans entered the Bridgestone, they were given green glow sticks that were enthusiastically waved as the curtains parted and the man himself appeared ready to entertain. He opened with "It's a Miracle" followed by a delightful "Daybreak". Throughout the concert Barry chatted with the crowd and early on expressed his thoughts that the music that came out of the 70's had melody which modern music seems to be lacking. To prove his point Barry presented fan favorites "Looks Like We Made It" and the classic "Can't Smile With Out You" which evoked more movement of the glow sticks - certainly safer than the lighters of earlier decades.

Manilow later shared that he grew up in a "rough part" of Brooklyn, NY. He was raised by his mother along with his grandparents. He reminisced that it was his grandfather who recognized that Barry was musical. Every weekend that wise man would take his grandchild into New York City to visit a recording box and for 25 cents they would leave with a scratchy recording. For a while, the youngster did not get it but one day it occurred to him that music was his destiny. Years later, just a few blocks away from where that booth was, Barry would perform at the prestigious Carnegie Hall where his grandfather led a standing ovation. In honor of that memory, Manilow sang "This One's for You" and a snappy "New York City Rhythm".

A sold-out, enthusiastic crowd greeted the legend at the Bridgestone Arena.

"I am so glad you still like these songs," enthused Barry after performing the subtle ballad "Even Now". The concert was a good mix of slower standards and up-tempo pieces including a new tune called "Dancin' in the Aisles" which as the title implies was quite animated. He added that this song is already a Tik-Tok hit even before it's been officially released thanks to the enthusiastic response from a new wave of technologically inclined fans. Effective use of choreography, lighting, and videos added to the overall polished production that Barry is well-known and respected for.

Manilow apologized a couple of times for not visiting Music City for awhile with his last appearance at the venue coming over seven years ago. But, he remarked that Nashville was very important to his success and recalled that a booking at the Exit/In on his first tour was a really big deal for him. Of course, now Manilow himself is a really big deal and a seasoned performer who brought an ample amount of that Sin City flair to NashVegas - and, as promised the night was packed with hits.

Towards the end of the show, we were treated to a disco version of "Could It Be Magic" and yes Mr. Manilow danced. Yet, after jesting that he is still a sex god it was time to sit down, so he strolled over to the piano for "I Made It Through the Rain" and "Mandy / Could It Be Magic" that featured a film of a 1970's Barry on the Midnight Special that was juxtaposed with 2023 Barry. "I Write the Songs" was a winner as was the lively closer "Copacabana" that had fans on their feet as this celebration of the 70's came to a close proving that Barry Manilow still knows how to put on a show.

Manilow brought the hits to Smashville.

In addition to being an entertainer Barry is also a philanthropist. On December 7, 2022, he announced that his Manilow Music Project would donate cash and instruments to deserving music instructors and school programs. Boards and arenas were invited to participate in this contest by electing educators in their area worthy of this award.

In each city of Barry's winter arena tour which included Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, Savannah, Atlanta, Nashville, and Charlotte, the winning teacher received 5K cash with another 5K in "Manilow bucks" presented by Mr. Manilow to purchase musical instruments for their school's music program. The winner also received VIP tickets to the concert. In Nashville, an educator from Nolensville High School was the recipient of this generous gift. Since its inception the Manilow Music Project has donated over ten million dollars' worth of funds and instruments to keep music programs alive and hopefully inspiring a new generation to follow in the foot steps of artists like Barry Manilow.

SETLIST: It's a Miracle | Daybreak | Looks Like We Made It | Can't Smile Without You | This One's for You | New York City Rhythm | Even Now | Tryin' to Get the Feeling Again | The Old Songs > Ready to Take a Chance Again > Jump Shout Boogie | Weekend in New England | Dancin' in the Aisles > Dancin' in the Street | Let's Hang On! | All the Time | Could It Be Magic (Disco version) | I Made It Through the Rain | Mandy > Could It Be Magic | I Write the Songs | Copacabana (at the Copa) > It's a Miracle (Reprise) > I Write the Songs (Reprise)

Barry shared his music and life story for the Music City faithful.

Related Links: For more information on BARRY MANILOW and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Barry Manilow | Bridgestone Arena


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