He writes the songs…just not all of them

Maybe I should just roll all the Manilow experiences into one.

There have been a few, and there’s at least another one on the way.

It was inconceivable a few years ago for me to think that there would come a time when I would have seen Barry Manilow more times than Morrissey.

Yet, next year, Baz will pass Moz on the chart of gigs I have seen. He’ll actually go third behind Echo and the Bunnymen and Terrorvision.

And it’s all because I met and married a very big fan.

I’ve seen him in London, in Bournemouth, in Manchester, at Blenheim Palace and in Las Vegas – in a couple of those locations, more than once.

At the time of writing there’s a rumour he will be the Sunday afternoon legend at Glastonbury. I have a ticket.

I also have a ticket for his `last ever’ tour.

In Las Vegas, I kid you not, I was actually on stage. In a seat rather than performing, but close enough to shake the great man’s hand and touch the piano he was using.

I also got to see him rehearse. The wife and I had mooched along to the venue as she wanted to pick up her tickets and we thought we’d check out the theatre at the Hilton at the same time.

Finding one of the entrances we just wandered in and could see the band in full swing, so sat down. As the music stopped, from out of the shadows came a familiarly thin figure passing on a few instructions before the band struck up again.

We watched for a while before a  security man came over and said we’d have to leave.

Either side of that show I’ve usually been miles from the stage in some enormodome or other, usually London’s 02 or Manchester Arena.

But the size of the venue doesn’t diminish his old-time showmanship and all-round entertainment craftsmanship.

After a couple of gigs I grudgingly admitted he was better than I thought he would be. Now I think it’s great to see someone with his kind of old school magic.

Not faux old school like Buble, but properly honed songwriting, band-leading and performing skills.

Of the gigs I’ve seen only one – at the 02 – was a bit duff when his voice seemed to be starting to give out. Otherwise he’s been the epitome of star quality.

If he does do Glastonbury, he’ll go down a storm.

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