Last night, Barry Manilow took the stage at the Amway Center as he began a 5 city Florida tour, replete with a symphony orchestra.  It was a super-sized show to be sure, but is bigger always better?

In the case of Manilow, who’s been a fixture on the pop scene for over 35 years (beginning with Mandy in 1975), bigger definitely works, and it’s what the fans have come to expect.

But the oversized Amway Center, along with the accompanying Charlotte Symphony Orchestra of Punta Gorda, put a strain on Manilow’s vocals.  Granted, the voice was never what made Manilow a star, but the raspy growl which started out the show on classics such as Daybreak, This One’s For You, and Somewhere In The Night, wasn’t exactly what one would expect.

His vocals did seem to grow stronger throughout the night though, with his brightest moments showcased on the ballads Even Now, Weekend In New England and Memory (where he was tickling the ivories) and his posthumous collaboration with Johnny Mercer, When October Goes, performed seated on a stool.

The lack of vocal subtlety was hardly an issue for the majority of the audience, who were sometimes encouraged, and other times took it upon themselves, to sing along. I’m still a little befuddled though by the woman behind me who insisted on singing “Coca-cabana”.

Manilow’s Florida concerts are also helping to support music education in the state.  Manilow reinforced the importance music education played in his career and announced that his Manilow Music Project had donated 10 Yamaha keyboards to Orange County Public Schools.  Additionally, a drawing was held for tickets and hotel stay for Manilow’s show in Vegas from those who had donated used instruments at the concert.

Here are the remaining dates for Manilow’s Florida shows:

  • January 21st, Tampa- St. Pete Times Forum
  • January 26th, Jacksonville- Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena
  • January 28th, Sunrise- BankAtlantic Center
  • January 29th, Miami- BankUnited Center


  1. Alfredo says:

    Great show, but very short, just an hour and 30 minutes

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