Hordes of women over 40 howled like teenagers and were easily reduced to tears. Who could cause such a commotion? Yes, Barry Manilow was back in Southern California for a sold-out Forum gig. It was originally scheduled on Mother’s Day, but postponed due to the veteran singer’s sprained vocal cords.
The average age of “Fanilows” in Inglewood actually skewed much older. No surprise there: Barry Manilow’s successful run on the Billboard pop singles chart began in 1974 (adult contemporary radio hits continued throughout the ‘80s). Since then, he’s put out more than a dozen concept albums that continue to resonate with longtime followers. During the 2000s, a “Greatest Songs” series of love songs and standards all went gold or platinum.
Last spring, Manilow released “This is My Town: Songs of New York,” a great musical love letter to his hometown of Brooklyn and surrounding areas. Manilow mixes impressive originals such as “Coney Island” and “Lovin’ at Birdland” with covers made famous by The Crystals, Petula Clark, The Drifters, Billy Joel, Frank Sinatra, Jay-Z & Alicia Keys (!) and others.
On Friday, an electronica mashup of Underworld’s “Born Slippy” and past Manilow hits served as a festive introduction. Then the 95-minute show kicked off in standard fashion with the jubilant “Daybreak.”