For the first time ever, Barry Manilow took his Christmas show on the road. This special concert typically only takes place in Palm Springs, where Manilow resides. But this year he decided to bring it to a handful of locations, including New York. I made it a point to attend Manilow’s New York performance, and it exceeded my expectations.
When the signature red curtains parted, Manilow stepped on to the stage while his backup singers blended music and lyrics from “It’s A Miracle” and “Happy Holiday.” Over the next 90 minutes fans were treated to Manilow’s biggest chart-topping hits, a deep cut (“I Am Your Child”) and so many Christmas songs that I quickly lost count.
Having attended approximately 10 Barry Manilow concerts so far, I was there for the Christmas music. The stage was adorned with giant Christmas trees that were beautifully decorated, as well as poinsettias, snow and a gargantuan screen that featured stockings, a fireplace and additional iconography associated with the season of giving.
The band included a terrific horn section, fantastic backup singers that have been with Manilow for a very long time and other masterful musicians that never missed a beat.
Highlights of the night included performances of “I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm,” “River,” “Because Its Christmas,” where Manilow was accompanied by a local children’s choir, and “Even Now,” which always results in the singer receiving a well-deserved standing ovation.
From Santa Claus coming on stage to it snowing during “White Christmas,” Barry Manilow puts on a Christmas concert better than anyone in the business. I had the opportunity to speak with him backstage after the show and I told him the concert was spectacular. We also discussed his duet with Melissa Manchester on the track “For Me And My Gal,” which is on her new album: The Fellas. He also asked me if I saw their music video for the song because he thought that turned out great too. Before posing for a photo, he thanked me, once again, for my interview with him from earlier this year, saying it was excellent. His assistant and publicist concurred with this sentiment, adding to my delight and gratitude. It was a very Barry Christmas, indeed.