Gig review: Barry Manilow

Manilow provided perfect old school entertainment. Picture: Getty

Manilow provided perfect old school entertainment. Picture: Getty

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BARRY Manilow is showbiz for life, both out of time and timeless.

Barry Manilow - Hydro, Glasgow

****

But in the run-up to showtime at the Hydro, it appeared that even he had made concessions to the modern pop age, supplying glowsticks for his all-ages audience to brandish during a ravey megamix overture.

Mercifully, when the red curtains swished open, it was meticulously rehearsed old school entertainment all the way with Manilow, in an effulgent blue jacket, plus slick band and fun, finger-popping backing vocalists attacking It’s A Miracle and Could It Be Magic (the latter performed at Take That pace) with great verve.

Those glowsticks kept on swaying all the way through 90 minutes of almost non-stop classic pop, with only a brief dip into smooth jazz and blues territory, and some non-essential covers medleys.

Otherwise, Manilow played to his strengths, giving over the majority of his set to a succession of fabulously overwrought piano ballads, including a barnstorming Memory, and delivering easy, slightly cheesy listening crooner numbers Can’t Smile Without You and Sweet Heaven (I’m In Love Again) and Caribbean corkers Bermuda Triangle and Copacabana with straight-faced relish.

There was pathos to spare as he duetted with footage of his younger self on the tender Mandy and a slow reprise of Could It Be Magic, and a surplus of sentiment (and Fanilow hormones) on Weekend In New England, but the crowning moments of this joyous concert were his epic versions of I Made It Through The Rain and I Write The Songs.

Seen on 19.05.14

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