On Thursday night Barry Manilow came to town to remind all of us that happiness, love, inclusion, and joy still exist in the world.
A nearly sold-out Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse came together as one to rejoice in the spirit of the 70’s and partake in what became basically a 20,000-person sing-along led by the man who owned the airwaves back in the day.
Opening with IT’S A MIRACLE and bringing all his Vegas showmanship to the Cleveland stage he and his band showed the world why after 50 years he is still able to not only fill an auditorium but also to have every person in attendance singing, dancing, and remembering what the power of music can do. I’ve been to a ton of concerts, but I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve felt like I was watching something truly special – after this show I’ve added another show to that list.
Manilow steamrolled through an impressive hour-and-a-half set that featured several truly stand-out moments. The first is a touching tribute to his grandfather during THIS ONES FOR YOU that honestly seems to move the performer emotionally.
A little later in the evening while seated behind his piano he performed WEEKEND IN NEW ENGLAND and brought the house down – a powerful, masterful performance that led to one of the longest-standing ovations I’ve personally ever witnessed at a live show – and it was certainly worthy of the adulation – it was one of those “hair stand up on your arms” moments.
That was followed up with another powerful song ALL THE TIME, whose message is so needed right now. If you’ve never heard the song, Google it.
I MADE IT THROUGH THE RAIN also deserves a mention – this song of perseverance and individualism is a much-needed message these days.
The remainder of the show brought the one, two, three punch of MANDY, I WRITE THE SONGS, and of course, COPACABANA.
For his Encore Manilow stood alone in front of the drawn curtain, towel over his shoulders, and performed WHEN THE GOODTIMES COME AGAIN – a perfectly underproduced moment that brought the evening to the perfect end.
Manilow is the consummate showman whose music defines a generation and whose message is just as, if not more relevant now than it was 50 years ago and it’s a message that is still being heard loud and clear by those who choose to listen. Thursday night was an auditorium filled with people who got it and all I witnessed were smiles and happiness from every person I passed.