Thursday, December 20, 2012

My first Western Concert- Barry Manilow

Growing up, I have never really taken any interest in anything that is Western-related such as Western movies or music even though I was born in America. The things I only found interesting is if it’s Asian-related. I guess the reason why I’m Asianized is because I grew up being surrounded mostly with Chinese movies, dramas, and music which my parents would watch and listen at home. However, thanks to a friend, my view towards Western media has recently changed as I started to become interested in Western music. It’s good to try something that you were never really interested in because you might end up liking it. My interest in Western music initially sparked from a blog post my friend had written about in which she talked about Barry Manilow, a legendary American singer who was really famous back in the 1970’s, when I didn’t even exist yet. She had talked about how one of Barry’s song “Somewhere Down the Road” was very memorable to her. Like always, curiosity got the better of me so I decided to google up this guy and tried listening to a few of his songs on Itunes. I find his songs to be very romantic, something that would remind someone of their first love. My personal favorites are his hit songs, “Can’t Smile Without You”, “Copacabana” and “Somewhere Down The Road”.
When I heard Barry Manilow is going to come perform at my hometown, I decided to give it a try since I wanted to learn more about who this legendary singer is and also on behalf of my friend who was not able to make it to the concert. On the day of Barry’s concert which was held at HP Pavilion, San Jose on December 6, 2012, when my dad and I arrived at the HP Pavilion an hour before the concert started, the line was already formed with a lot of people from the older generation. I was probably one of the youngest fans there. Well, you’re never too young to listen to Barry Manilow, right? Age difference doesn’t really matter; what matters is doing whatever makes you happy. They were selling Barry Manilow merchandises: CDS, T-shirts, etc. I would’ve bought something if the line wasn’t so long. Also, they were selling green glowsticks which I find interesting since glowsticks were very unusual at a Western concert. I wonder why Barry chose green; maybe it was to match the Christmas theme?
The stage was covered up with a red curtain which reminded me a Broadway play. When the concert officially started, the curtain opened up with Barry Manilow appearing in the spotlight; everybody was screaming, cheering, and throwing love out to him. I was touched by how many people of the older generation is still a fan of him after all those years. I don’t recall what Barry’s opening song was but I remembered it was a very romantic song. He first appeared in a red suit which goes along with the color of the curtain and the green glowsticks. Ha, I guess I was right about the Christmas theme.
One of my favorite songs from Barry is “Can’t Smile Without You” which he has performed at the concert. This was actually one of his top hits from back in the days and is still famous as of today. Almost everyone was familiar with this song since they were singing along to it, including me! The song brought a smile to my face when a happy face appeared on the screen during the performance. I liked how Barry said that he likes to make positive and uplifting songs to lift up people’s spirits since he thinks life sucks and it really does. He was full of energy and enthusiasm and was able to interact well with his fans. If I didn’t know he is 69 years old, I would think he is in his 50s since he still looked very handsome as of today. Another thing I liked was how he cracked some jokes to make the audience laugh. The one that really got me was when he said he was the Justin Bieber of the 70’s which I have to agree with him on. Here is a performance of "Can't Smile Without You". Look at all the green glowsticks!

Another one of his hit singles I liked was “Copacabana” which was the cha-cha dancing song. Everybody became more livelier when he performed this song. Here's a fancam of "Copacabana":

There were a few songs he played on the piano and on the keyboards such as "Weekend In New ngland", “Trying to get the feeling”, “I’m your child”, and “Mandy”, which were also his top hits. He played all the songs very beautifully and smoothly. Here is a fancam of his performance of "Weekend In New England" at HP pavilion:

The part that was very enjoyable to watch was the part where he and his band took turns playing the piano, rotating after one another. When he played “Mandy” on the grand piano, at the same time, a video clip was shown on the screen of him performing the song back in 1975 during one of his concerts. I thought he looked really handsome back then with the long hair and his prominent, sharp nose. With his good looks, I bet a lot of fan girls fell for him. If I existed during the 1970s, I would probably went crazy over him too.
Another interesting thing was when Barry showed us some of his previous album covers on the screen. The first album cover showed a picture of him in his 20s when he first debuted. It was hilarious when he said a lot of people thought he looked like Mona Lisa in the picture. Another thing Barry talked about was how his grandfather was the one who had made him into a musician. It was his grandfather who first saw music in him. In dedication of his grandfather, he played a song on his piano with a picture of him and his grandpa shown on the screen. Some people are just born talented; I wish I had that kind of talent too.
A very nice thing Barry did was starting a charity to help music schools to get more instruments. He told us that if we have any instruments we don’t use anymore which is lying at home and collecting dust, then we should do a good cause by donating them to his charity club. This reminds me, I have my older keyboard lying at home which I will probably donate later on. Overall, the concert was very satisfying. Although the concert lasted for only an hour and a half, which was shorter than expected, it was still a very satisfying experience. I have to admit that I have learned quite a lot of Barry Manilow now than before I attended the concert. The next time he comes back, I would be very likely to go again!

1 comment:

  1. You're right about being never too young to enjoy Barry's evergreen songs. Good music lives on and I'm so happy that you got to attend his concert. Hope your dad enjoyed it too!