Saturday, January 16, 2010

Opportunity Knocks

I keep reading that Barry will be the last guest to appear on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien. This appearance is being compared to Bette Midler’s performance as the last guest of Johnny Carson as he took his leave of The Tonight Show by some of the media. If this is true then Barry has been handed a golden opportunity. I hope he makes the most of this rare gift.

This appearance will be the one that will be written about in the books on the history of television, rating right up there Jack Parr walking out on The Tonight Show. Clips of this show will not only be shown in the days after the show airs but for years to come. Barry, being the showman that he is, knows that this appearance has turned into much more than just a gig to promote his new CD. No, this appearance will be an event watched by a much larger audience than normal. It is up to Barry to make the show even more special by what he chooses to perform.

What should Barry perform? I don’t know. I’m not good at that sort of thing. Barry is the one who has expertise to make that choice. A very rich resource Barry could use is his loyal fan base. The Internet makes it possible for Barry to ask for suggestions from his fans as what special song they think would make his Tonight Show appearance memorable. As an added bonus, think what great interview material asking his fans’ input could provide for the talk shows Barry will be doing to promote his new CD. The dramatic story of how Barry wanted to do something extraordinary for the last Conan’s Tonight Show and his fans helped him chose what that will be.

I’m happy that a great performer like Barry who knows how to make something memorable will be the last guest on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien. I hope Barry closes this chapter of The Tonight Show history in a spectacular way.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Leaving the Building

It isn’t often that I get to write about my two favorite singers in the same blog post but thanks to a tweet by Garry Kief I get to do that very thing. December saw the end of Barry Manilow’s run at the Las Vegas Hilton, and to commemorate this event, his manager tweeted, “Elvis has left the building.”

Discussions on a few fan boards had some Manilow fans wondering if this tweet compared Barry and Elvis Presley. The Hilton is famous for the shows Elvis did there from 1969 until his death in 1977. At the end of each show Elvis did on the road, it was announced, “Elvis has left the building. Thank you and good night.” That was true. Elvis did no encore. He went straight off stage, into a waiting car, and was gone. After his death, the announcement came into popular usage. Was this a tweet that compared Barry to Elvis?

Not to brag but I am probably one of the few Manilow fans who could actually compare the two entertainers. I saw Elvis in concert around twenty-five time in the mid- 1970s. The Barry concerts I have seen are too numerous for me to count. Seeing concerts by both Barry and Elvis would put me in a good position to do a comparison.

I won’t do that. Both Elvis and Barry are great performers. They have different styles but both of them connect with their audience in a very special way. Sadly Elvis has left the building never to return. This is not the case with Barry. He is moving to a new gig at the Paris on the Vegas strip. Manilow fans can still enjoy Barry’s shows. As unbelievable as it is to me, the number of people who actually saw Elvis perform is rapidly shrinking.

Back to the question of if the Kief tweet was comparing Barry to Elvis. Personally, I think the tweet was just the use of a pop culture statement. It fit with Barry leaving the Hilton. My husband once asked my son the meaning of a post on Facebbook. His reply seems to sums up the meaning of the tweet about Elvis leaving the building – it’s only Facebook, or in this case. Twitter. Nothing more; nothing less. No hidden meaning. One good thing did come from this tweet; a few interesting conversations. That’s a good thing.