Submitted Date 01/16/2023

He puts the words and the melodies together, he is music, and he writes the songs.

Saturday night Barry Manilow did just that at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. Celebrating his 50th anniversary as an entertainer, the decades long crooner of hit songs such as Mandy, I Write The Songs, Looks Like We Made It, Copacabana, and many, many more, Manilow brought his music, his flare and his still incredible voice to the stage in front of 15,000 adoring fans. And yes, he still sings the songs that make the young (and this not so young) girls cry. The Tampa concert was the second stop in an exclusive 7 city arena tour that I have a feeling could be his last tour. If not, I hope to see him again on another tour very soon.

My first Barry Manilow concert was when I was about 13 years old — my mom took us to see the then young and golden haired balladeer dressed in a white tuxedo with tails. He sang with the same vigor and sentimentality back then that echoed throughout Amalie Arena last night.

With a crowd spanning all ages who sang along with each and every song, the arena was aglow with green glow sticks provided to attendees. During a particularly magical and emotional rendition of I Made It Through The Rain, Manilow asked the audience to turn on their cell phone flashlights so he could see everyone. Instantly the arena was lit up with the shine from thousands of phone lights which I am not ashamed to say brought tears to my eyes.

Attending the concert with one of my besties Laura provided a wonderful opportunity to sing and sway to the music as the nearly hour and twenty minute concert filled us all with memories of our youth, of a different time, a different place, when we all heard our first Barry Manilow song on the radio.

His voice was perfect, I overheard someone say his voice sounded better than it did five years ago at another concert. The stage numbers were wonderfully choreographed, Manilow interjected song sets with humor, nostalgia and sang duets with himself from years gone by, even playing a recording of his grandfather and him singing happy birthday when Barry was maybe five years old. He had numerous costume changes which consisted of a variety of colorful and sparkling jackets that reflected the spotlights as he moved around the stage with the energy of someone half the age of his approaching 80th birthday.

Last night was something we will probably never see again, to quote his song, It's A Miracle, "I'll tell you what I believe — It's a Miracle, a true blue spectacle, a miracle come true." It was indeed a magical night for all who attended.

The concert closed out with Barry Manilow singing a pounding rendition of Copacabana, replete with all his stage dancers, the orchestra in full swing, colored lights beaming all around the stage and crowd as he danced across the crowded floor, we were young and we had each other, who could ask for more — at the Copa, Copacabana…sorry, lost myself for a moment.

If I never see another concert again I can rest in the fondest of memories from the various times I've been fortunate enough to have seen Barry Manilow perform live in concert. From that young teenager to the now middle aged woman who delighted in his performance last night, Barry Manilow will always be the one who writes the songs that make the whole world sing…even now.


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