Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Mar 29th 2010 11:00AM by Steve Baltin
His new Vegas show at the Paris Hotel is a perfect union of performer and location. Opening with Manilow coming out to the center of the cavernous stage alone, the crooner performed the ballad 'Could It Be Magic,' which developed into a disco version. As it sped up, the curtain rose and the back of the stage was filled by his band and four back-up singers/dancers.
Though Manilow is best known as a balladeer, he showed off a few dance moves throughout the 90-minute set directed by Jeffrey Hornaday, who's done multiple tours for Madonna and Paul McCartney and is directing the upcoming 'High School Musical.' Hornaday brought plenty of Vegas glitz to the proceedings, using framed art as stage backdrops in several motifs and throwing in some top-level technology that would impress many filmmakers. The show has plenty of highlights, like three pianos onstage for a roaring piano jam during 'New York City Rhythm' and a French museum theme with the dancers posed as sculptures and more framed art during 'Love Is Here to Stay,' from his new 'The Greatest Love Songs Of All Time' album. But the autobiographical elements were surprising and maybe the highlight of the impressive show.
Before 'This One's For You,' Manilow spoke of his grandfather taking him to Times Square to visit one of those recording studios where anyone could make their own 45. He then played that recording, which featured his grandafther egging him on ("This went on for 10 minutes," Manilow quipped) and his four-year-old self singing the beautiful classic, 'Nature Boy.'
The autobiographical stuff continued during a tribute to 'American Bandstand,' for which Manilow wrote 'Bandstand Boogie,' the opening and closing theme on the show from '77 to '87. Manilow dueted with video versions of his first television performance, sitting in the center of the stage playing piano for both 'Mandy' and a reprise of 'Could It be Magic' as the 'Bandstand' footage of his much younger self played.
He also had some fun with his age, quipping at one point, "This was from my first album, recorded in 1821." After getting down with the dancers, he again poked fun at his age, saying, "Should I be doing that anymore?" That self-deprecation is part of the charm that makes Manilow such a great performer, and while many may poke fun, there isn't a young pop star today who couldn't learn a thing or two from the 66-year-old legend.