The pop master delighted glow-stick-waving “Fanilows” at KeyArena Wednesday with hit after hit from his extensive songbook.
Barry Manilow offered a master class in showmanship in his concert Wednesday night at KeyArena. And the “Fanilows” — fans of Manilow — were ready for him.
He opened with a bang, strutting down the catwalk while singing a medley of “It’s a Miracle” and “Could It Be Magic,” two of his early hits, in new disco-fied arrangements. That got the audience, armed with the complimentary glow sticks everyone was handed on entering the venue, up on their feet dancing.
He then led a singalong to the sunny “Can’t Smile Without You,” the lyrics projected on the screen behind him, though the crowd didn’t seem to need them. And when he came into the audience while singing Glenn Miller’s “Moonlight Serenade,” and picked a lucky lady to dance with, the audience shrieked with delight and waved glowsticks in approval.
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Manilow later mentioned that he first played Seattle in 1973. But more recently, he’s played extended residencies in Las Vegas, and it shows. The slick, well-paced show kept Manilow in near constant motion, moving among the catwalk, a keyboard on stage left, a standing microphone on stage right, and a grand piano near center stage.
He affected amused disbelief when met with the repeated standing ovations of the evening, as if to say “Really? For me?” He also had a nice line in self-deprecation. “This makes me feel so good,” he said when a pair of women’s panties were thrown on stage. “It makes me feel young!”
Manilow has said that this would be his last major tour, with a set list focusing on his best-known songs. He delivered; he performed 21 of his 25 Top 40 hits, putting 13 of them in one medley alone (“Those of you who know these songs will like it; for those of you who were dragged here, this medley is going to be agony!” he cracked).
The medley climaxed with “I Write the Songs,” a song made even richer due to an appearance by Seattle’s Total Experience Gospel Choir.
Manilow was clearly having as much fun as the audience. If this is his last time on tour, he’s making the most of it.