Once in awhile, the boys on the Strip will throw the locals a bone. This week they threw us a bone in the way of Barry Manilow. Yes, I know what your thinking, and apparently Labor Day weekend is a slow weekend for high end shows. I also like cheap entertainment and the price was right.
So off we went to the Paris. For you Vegas people, here’s a tip… Valet your car at Bally’s. The valet people there are much friendlier and it’s faster to get in and out after a show…
After all these years living here, I had never seen a show at the Theatre des Arts at Paris. Big words for a very intimate concert hall. So I was looking forward to it. I have to say, not a shabby place to hold a concert. Only 1,500 seats so there can’t be a bad seat in the house.
After talking to those on our sides, I figured they really felt sorry for the locals this weekend and put us all in the orchestra seats. Not complaining, these are normally the $200 tickets! Had my cell phone battery decide not to take a sleeper, I could have gotten some really nice pics of Barry Manilow’s dimples to post here.
Come to find out once we were seated this close to the stage, that unlike most other stars on the strip, Barry actually likes his fans to take his picture. Imagine that! He even stops to pose on occasion. As long as the camera does not have a detachable lens, you’re cool.
So there we were. Ms “Barry Who?”, me and a whole row of Vegas locals wondering what the hell we got ourselves into. Surrounded by blue hairs, gay couples (Paris markets heavily to the g/l crowd) and a lot of unattached groups of really hot women!
Apparently since we are now a “non smoking in public” society, they give everyone glow sticks so we can leave the lighters at home. The red color gives a unique glow to the theater as the show went on and more people figured out how to fire them up.
Since Barry is the poster child for cheesy romance music and catchy commercial jingles, I was expecting some group hug therapy session with a soundtrack. Ok, some left over feelings from a recent trip to see “Defending the Caveman”…. But I am sure you understand what my expectations were.
By Vegas standards, he started on time (twenty minutes late) and keeps the hits and the stories coming for the next 90 minutes. He has been performing since he was about 6 and is credited with some of the most successful commercial jingles in the world on top of a hundred or so hit songs. So he has a very interesting story to weave as he entertains the throngs of fans and converts! Yes, converts.
At one point he performs with a video of one of his first television performances and he still has that “what in the hell am I doing here” look he had when he first. Like he was surprised people still show up to hear his hits. Joking after doing “Mandy”, that if it wasn’t for karaoke bars, nobody would know who he is today! He might have a point on that one.
For all the dancing, singing and entertaining, you know there is only one place he is most comfortable and that’s behind the piano. So towards the end, he takes command of the stage with his white suit and the white grand piano that made him a TV star and belts out his best known hits. Bringing the house down as he closes in truly Vegas style.
Got to give the man credit for still giving it 120% every night after all these years. He truly does entertain. To those of us who make fun of him and the cheesy music he is know for, let me just say that after spending an evening with him, he is a first class entertainer worthy of a place on your Vegas show list.