The man who makes the not unreasonable claim that he was the “Justin Bieber of the 70s” is hanging up the sequined tux after this farewell tour, prompting every woman of a certain age in the room to ponder his Weekend In New England lyrics: Barry, tell me – when will our eyes meet again?
Barry Manilow | Rating: **** | Hydro, Glasgow
Barry Manilow’s One Last Time tour was not dissimilar to the one he did last time. Following the unlikely clubland intro, with fans waving glowsticks in front of a plush red curtain, Manilow and his Vegas-issue band powered straight into a seamless old school showbiz extravaganza, featuring the high-kicking glitz of Can’t Smile Without You, flawless vocals of Somewhere In The Night and signature schmaltzy/melodramatic piano ballads Mandy, I Made It Through The Rain and the triumphant I Write The Songs (which was actually written by Beach Boy Bruce Johnston).
There were few surprises – although he did roll out the rarely aired All The Time – and not everything was a solid gold nugget, but Manilow delivered with conviction, or at the very least a professional commitment to, say, the cheesy theatre of Bermuda Triangle and Copacabana.
There were duets with screen incarnations of Judy Garland and his younger self, a comedy tussle between the ballad and disco versions of Could It Be Magic and some foggy memories of kilts and haggis (insert relevant cultural cliché here) – nothing which would stand comparison with today’s high-concept pop spectaculars, but wall-to-wall entertainment value all the same.