Sunday, July 12, 2009

Barry Manilow- The Today Show, November, 1997

I visited New York City for the first time in 1997. Not only did I take my first trip to the Big Apple but I went again that same year. Both trips were related to appearances by Barry Manilow. I went in the spring to see shows at Radio City Music Hall. Then in November, I went back to watch Barry on The Today Show. That’s the trip I’m going to write about in this picture blog. This was a fun trip, as well as my family’s national television debut.

My kids had to miss a few days of school for this trip, but hey, it’s educational to go to New York and see Barry isn’t it? Anyway, we knew there was to be a sound check. We just didn’t know at what time. Someone we knew had the information about what time the sound check was but he said if he told us he’d have to kill us. As we’re all still here, he didn’t tell. To be sure not to miss the sound check we got to The Plaza where the outdoor concerts are staged around one in the morning the day of the show.

Mind you, this is November in New York. The Plaza is in between buildings in Rockefeller Center. Can you say freezing? I might not have been able to say it but I sure felt it. We were among the first fans to arrive but not the first. Picking a place to stand was hard. The stage wasn’t up yet. It was a matter of making a choice and hoping for the best. Turned out we made a good choice.

Sound check was at 6 am. For awhile the crowd was so small that we could walk around and visit. As the crowd got bigger we had to stay in one place to keep our spot. Our freezing was rewarded when Barry did sound check. This was around the time of the release of the Sinatra CD. Now I’m not a big fan of Sinatra music but Barry singing it live is great. It was also fun to be able to watch the show being mapped out. My sons found it especially interesting. So much so that it is now what they do for a living- production. (See, it was an educational trip.) I was very impressed by how respectful the crowd was of Barry. He came over to have a conversation with someone he knew in the crowd. Everyone stood quietly not interrupting or asking for anything until the conversation was finished.

Between the sound check and the show we got some heat! Big heaters were brought out. Of course they were for the guests appearing on The Today Show but until the show started, they were pointed at the audience. That small gesture was much appreciated. Barry’s performance was high energy and super. I even danced with him during “Copa”. When the show was over, we were tired, cold, hungry, and I had an urgent need to go to the bathroom.

Finally it was into the car and the drive back to the hotel. If I am remembering correctly, we stayed in Allentown, PA. Don’t ask me about the drive back to the hotel. I can’t even remember driving out of New York City. I conked out fast asleep between my two sleeping sons in the backseat of the car. Needless to say, we all went to bed when we got back to the hotel. That night when we woke up, we called home.

All everyone kept telling us was that we were all over TV. My husband said our friends said that because they knew us and were looking for us. By us, they meant my sons, our friend who went with us, and me. So where was my husband? No one saw him. Long time fans remember that 1997 was the year of the famous camera ban. The Today Show was exempted from the ban. All my husband was interested in was getting good pictures. He didn’t stay with us. We picked a spot at the side of the stage. He chose to stand in front of the stage. When the pictures were developed, his choice proved to be a good one. His pictures were beautiful.

On our return home, we found our friends had been right. We were all over the tape we left in our VCR. We had known that our friend Kathy, who was with us got some camera time. They kept shooting the “Ho, Ho, Ho, Manilow” sweatshirt she wore. The only disappointing thing was my dance with Barry got cut. The show went off before it got to it. Not to worry. Manilow fans are the best.

A fan in Australia emailed me when I mentioned something about not being able to see my dance on an email string we both were members of. Seems “Copa” was not cut when The Today Show was shown there. I didn’t even know The Today Show was shown in Australia. She was kind enough to send me a tape of the show, which I had converted. Thanks to her, I have that moment.

That’s my picture history from The Today Show in 1997. I’m glad I was able to give my sons the experience, as well as myself. It is amazing how they remember these trips we took on a shoestring. Nice hotels or fancy meals didn’t matter. They were centered on what they were interested in and got to see many facets of the industry they were thinking of going into. Plus we all love Barry and his music. Fun at the time and great memories we all share now.


texas_fan said...

Great story, Sue. Thanks so much for sharing it. Missing those moments, it's so wonderful to hear about them from someone who was there. Did anyone take a pic of the Copa dance? Or is the recording the only thing you have?

Tell me more about the 1997 camera ban. What was that?

Dawn Bushman said...

That is too cool. I'm glad you guys were able to have a good time in the cold. Your husband was so nice to go to such lengths to get the pictures!



Kathy said...

I remember that trip to NYC and The Today Show. What a COLD, exciting night/morning that was! Thanks for helping me reminisce. (but could it have been 1998? it was a year after Jacksonville, and THAT was 1997 - i'll never forget that date!!!)
Will continue following your interesting Manilow blog! :-)