Barry Manilow didn’t quite know what to make of the idea of becoming a resident headliner when the Las Vegas Hilton offered him a major five-year contract seven years ago.
What he did know is that 30 years of touring had taken its toll — mentally and physically — on this light-pop heavyweight of contemporary music.
“Touring is a young man’s game, but after 30 years of it, I wanted to stay home,” Manilow told the Los Angeles Times during a June 2011 interview.
But was a long-term gig in Sin City a viable alternative to living out of a suitcase, alone in his hotel room? Manilow wasn’t sure.
“I said, ‘Oh, God, is this the end of my career? Is this where old singers go to die, Las Vegas?’” he asked rhetorically.
Turns out it was the exact opposite. His five-year run at the Hilton, followed by a two-year stint at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, gave Manilow the home life he’d always craved but had been denied. Eighty million singles and albums sold worldwide had made the singer and songwriter a prisoner of his own success.
For the first time since his debut single “Mandy” in 1975 had turned the former commercial jingle writer into a pop music sensation, Manilow was able to have something approaching a home life.
He spent weekdays at his 68-acre estate in Palm Springs, raising his dogs and hanging out with friends. On weekends, he’d hop on a private plane for the 25-minute commute to work, where he’d perform his show and then have the option of staying in the Hilton’s overly-opulent Elvis Presley suite or hopping back on his plane so he could sleep in his own bed.
The Las Vegas gig meant Manilow didn’t have to worry about packing up his big band and the dozens of support personnel and schlepping them and their hefty price tag on the road any more.
To keep fans happy in far-flung places like London, Manilow would occasionally book himself into huge venues for a few shows, and possibly book a one-night stand in Atlantic City on his way back from London. He did that in 2006 and again in 2010, which was the last times he performed in a town where he was once a showroom regular in the late 1970s and into the ’80s, when he was turning out chart-toppers like “Copacabana,” “Weekend In New England,” “It’s A Miracle,” “Can’t Smile Without You,” “I Write The Songs,” “Could It Be Magic,” “Looks Like We Made It” and more.
As both a songwriter and a performer, Manilow is, quite simply, a human jukebox. Between 1974 and 1983, Manilow racked up 13 No. 1 hits on the adult contemporary charts. Fifteen other singles that didn’t reach the top of the chart still finished in the Top 10.
But if Manilow’s fans miss his one-night-stand Saturday, Sept. 8, at Revel’s Ovation Hall, there’s no telling when — or even if — he’ll be back on the Boardwalk.
For starters, Manilow is 69. Granted, that’s not exactly ancient by today’s life expectancy standards. And a seven-hour operation last December that repaired damaged hip muscles has made his time spent on stage a pain-free experience for the first time in years.
"I've been doing that for years, way before everybody got together and decided to do standards," Manilow says. "After the first 10 years of No. 1 singles, I just knew I had to stop and play around with other facets, or I was just going to become bored, and the music that I made would suffer."
Covering the week of Aug. 19-25 with photos of the Somers Point beach concert, the Hooters in Margate, Barry Manilow, Cyril Neville and the Mardi Gras on the Boardwalk show Aug. 23, Bee Gees Tribute in Ocean City and more.
Covering Aug. 12-18, photos include Barry Manilow at Boardwalk Hall, B.J. Thomas in Ocean City, India Day celebrations in Atlantic City, Rhianna at Borgata, Superfly Snuka at Resorts, and more.
Fanilow Slater meets Manilow in Atlantic City, gets the VIP treatment. Doesn't curse out anyone (that we know of).
The French Canadian production team that put the "Best" in the Best In Broadway show that played at the Trop earlier this year is back with another terrific music revue at the casino. Premier Choix a...
Boardwalk Hall has been as hot as it can get for entertainment this fall. Already Elton John and Barry Manilow have played in the venue, with the Rolling Stones and Barbra Streisand on the way. That...
The audience was lit up with Glo-Sticks, given away at the Barry Manilow concert last Saturday at Boardwalk Hall. Natalie Cole at Caesars last Saturday night. At Smithville's recent 'Vette Show, Egg Harbor City's Nick Campagna shows off his 1960 Corvette. Tyrese performed his new single "One" at Borgata's mixx Saturday night. AtlantiCare's George Lynn (l.) and David Tilton (r.) with Metropolitan Business and Citizens Association president John Schultz at Thursday night's MBCA dinner at Bally's, attended by 1,000 people. Mark Sneed, John Knorr, Shirley and Brice Phillips, and CEO Steve Phillips, cutting the ribbon at the new Phillips Seafood Restaurant at The Pier at Caesars earlier this week. Lindsey Buckingham at Borgata. Paul Anka at Borgata last weekend....
It might simply be a �€�coincidence that Barry Manilow's first public performance since having hip surgery last August takes place at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall this Saturday, Oct. 14. But c...