A Good Yarn

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A Lifelong Dream Fulfilled

When I was a pre-pubescent, I spent hours listening to Barry Manilow Live on my record player. I loved that man and I loved his songs and after 30 years, I finally got a chance to see him live for real. And I LOVED it! Yes, call me a Fanilow.

The show was pretty much exactly what you would think it would be. He played almost every song off of Barry Manilow Greatest Hits (another album I played over and over again in my room). Remember that meme that went around a few years ago where you were supposed to list five songs you know every word to? Turns out there's about 20 Barry Manilow songs I know all the words to, even though I haven't heard them in a while - the wonder of the young brain. The stuff you put in there at that age really sticks! Barry has been releasing albums that are standards from the 50s, 60s and 70s, so he did a few of those songs, as well.

The spectacle wasn't quite as big as I was expecting, but I think that's because this isn't a full on tour. Everyone got a Manilow green glow stick to wave around all night (well, almost everyone. Due to my Irish luck, I didn't get one). It looked very cool. Barry wore a dark suit, as you can see above. He changed the jacket about a half dozen times, though and his background singers had a bunch of costume changes. There was a few neat video presentations during the show, including Barry on the Midnight Special singing Mandy - which eventually became a duet between live Barry and video Barry. At the end there was a big streamer cannon. Fantastic.

Despite the fact that Barry is 64, he's still a pretty amazing performer. Yeah, he's had a little bit too much work done, but he didn't look as weird as he has in some photographs I've seen. And he had an amazing amount of energy - he sang and danced around and was totally upbeat. He's not the stringbean he was in the 70s, but he's definitely still lean and fit. And his voice is still strong and amazing. The man has perfect pitch and he can still belt out a tune. Yes, it was really cheesy, but I loved every minute of it.

My own personal favorite was Weekend in New England. He sounded just amazing on the song and it brought me right back to being 10 years old and dreaming of the Prince Chearming who was going to be pining for me. I'll admit to feeling some sadness too that 30 years later I'm still waiting for that Prince Charming. My life certainly isn't what I thought it was going to be when I was that 10 year old girl living in South Dakota. But I guess, whose life is? In any case, if you've ever thought that maybe you might like to see Barry Manilow and you have a chance, I strongly recommend you go for it. I'd like to see him in Vegas next time I'm there.

Here's the setlist, if you're interested:

1. It’s a Miracle
2. Daybreak
3. Somewhere in the Night/This One’s for You
4. The Old Songs
5. Jump Shout Boogie
6. Chattanooga Choo Choo
7. Moonlight Serenade
8. Weekend in New England
9. Bandstand Boogie
10. I Made it Through the Rain
11. Can’t Smile w/o You
12. Looks Like We Made it
13. Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed
14. Even Now
15. NYC Rhythm
16. Could It Be Magic
17. Yesterday
18. Cant Take My Eyes Off of You
19. Where Did Our Love Go
20. What the World Needs Now Is Love
21. Mandy
22. I Write the Songs
23. Copacabana
24. Old Friends
25. Forever and a Day

Before the show, we had dinner at a Chinese restaurant I'd never been to before, The Tea House. It's on the east side of St. Paul, just off of 94, almost on the border with Woodbury. It's a really lovely restaurant. Once you step inside, you can't believe you're in a stripmall Chinese place. The food was really delicious, too. We started with the juicy buns and Shanghai pancakes, as recommended by Dara Moskowitz in the City Pages - they were both really good. I'd love to go to the restaurant for dim sum some weekend. For entries we ordered the Sweet and Sour Chicken and the Gui Chou Chicken. They both were really good and they were a good compliment to each other. The Sweet and Sour Chicken had nice, meaty chicken chunks and was pretty light on the sauce. The Gui Chou Chicken was chicken strips with roasted chilis and bamboo shoots and it was nice and spicy - I was happy to have the sweet and sour to cool off my mouth, though I liked the Gui Chou Chicken better. One caution if you decide to try this place - it got a great review in the Pioneer Press, so they've been really busy. They ran out of food last weekend and we had quite a wait for a table on Friday night. I'm sure in a few weeks it'll calm down again. I'd definitely recommend trying this place out if you're in the east side of town.

I have also been knitting a bit, too. I've made good progress on the hoodie for Jessica:

I've finished the back, the pockets and have started one of the fronts. Maybe I can get this finished up before the weather stays warm for good.

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