Written by Dave Clements
Jun 30, 2013 at 08:00 PM
ImageBarry Manilow was coming to The Woodlands earlier this year, however, he got sick and had to postpone his show. Perhaps he should have just cancelled it, depending on your point of view. He didn’t cancel so let’s fast forward to this pre-4th of July Sunday night when he showed up to perform for his Houston-based fans, who came out excited to see him.

Barry hit the stage a little late but he came out nonetheless ready to do his thing. What this writer didn’t realize was his thing included track vocals rather than getting the REAL Barry Manilow. It didn’t really work for me but most of the  crowd either didn’t mind or didn’t realize what was going on based on their attentiveness to him and reactions at the end of each of his former hits!

He was very engaging and personable; there was no doubt he was trying to entertain. On some level he did, very well. However, I found it superficial and miss leading.

Recently I have seen Ray Price, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Leon Russell, all who are older than Manilow, and they are all ACTUALLY singing their tunes rather than lipsyncing, or whatever Barry was doing. I can only assume that he can’t sing anymore, perhaps because of all the plastic surgery he has obviously had or perhaps he can’t remember the words. If that is the case I’d personally rather see him use a teleprompter than what I observed last night. It just wasn’t real and I could sit back and enjoy knowing it wasn’t him singing. Ok, I’m done with all that, let me move on.

The Barry I know is the real thing. He has a terrific resume. According to my research, and I quote, in 1978, five of his albums were on the best-seller charts simultaneously, a feat equaled only by Herb Alpert, Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen and Johnny Mathis. He has recorded a string of Billboard hit singles and multi-platinum albums that have resulted in his being named Radio & Records’ No. 1 adult contemporary artist and winning three straight American Music Awards for favorite pop/rock male artist. Between 1974 and 1983 Manilow had three No. 1 singles and 25 that reached the top 40. Several well-known entertainers have praised Manilow, including Sinatra, who was quoted in the 1970s saying, “He’s next.” In 1988, Bob Dylan stopped Manilow at a party, hugged him and said, “Don’t stop what you’re doing, man. We’re all inspired by you.”

Perhaps more importantly Manilow does some terrific stuff through the Manilow Music Project. At every town he plays he donates a piano to the local school system and he encouraged all of us to donate any used instruments that weren’t being used to the schools (through Fort Bend Music in Stafford ). For that Barry I take back all the negatives I suggested in the aforementioned paragraphs.

Back to the show. Manilow played twenty-three songs including Mandy, I Write The Songs, Even Now It’s A Miracle, Looks Like We Made It, Could It Be Magic, This One’s For you, and, of course, Copacabana. Manilow obviously has lots of material to choose from and this Sunday night in The Woodlands, he made some very nice choices to entertain the very large crowd.

My final remarks have to do with a story he told about his Granddad, who encouraged him to sing at a very young story. I found the story very touching and hope others in attendance did as well. It is so important to encourage our youth to reach out and learn, pursue their interest plus their formal education. We must take, every chance we have, to reinforce its importance.

Until next time remember there is No Time To Kill.