My Date With Barry Manilow (And 17,000 Other People)

Happy Independence Day, my fellow Americans!

As I previously mentioned, I made my way out to the Hollywood Bowl for the 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular last night with special guest performer Barry Manilow.

Ok, so technically not on the 4th, but it was still a great time and definitely had me feeling patriotic.  And a little starstruck.

Almost immediately after I sat down in the garden box to enjoy some barbecue and wine, I looked up and saw a familiar face in the premier seating area in front of the stage.

Need a hint?

Coach Beiste!

That’s right… Glee‘s Dot-Marie Jones was sitting front and center!  Sorry Jules, I didn’t see Second Husband there with her.  When I saw her taking some pictures with a few younger fans, I ran down there to get a photo with Coach Beiste.  I wanted to tell her how powerful her storyline was last season (she heartbreakingly played the victim of domestic violence who was too afraid to leave her husband) or how much I liked her rendition of “Jolene,” but by the time I got to her, she was headed back to her seat and I didn’t want to bother her anymore.

My not-so-stealthy way to get a photo with a celebrity.

Before I could finish my first glass of wine, I saw another semi-celebrity.

Don’t know who he is? Neither did I.

For those of you not in Southern California, that is Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca.  Looks pretty good for 70, huh?  Sheriff Baca was kind enough to chat with several people and pose for pictures.  There was actually more fanfare for him than Ms. Jones, which I found kind of surprising.

After the star sightings subsided, the L.A. Philharmonic took the stage under the direction of conductor Sarah Hicks and the night got underway.  Starting with the Star-Spangled Banner, there were plenty of American classics ranging from the Superman theme song to salutes to each of the five military branches.  Members of the Army, Coast Guard, Air Force, Marines, and Navy were invited to stand to the cheers of the 17,000-member audience.  Coming from a family with several members from different branches and working for the Navy myself, it is my honor to applaud the veterans and active members who serve in the name of freedom.

But the fun was still to come when Barry finally took the stage.  Now, I must confess, I was not a Manilow Maniac before this show.  I knew a few of the songs (“Copacabana” and “Mandy” are both on my iPod), but my mom was really the one who knew his catalog.  I was expecting to enjoy the songs that I knew and fumble through the rest.

Boy, was I wrong.

Barry belts it.

At 6669 (thanks Reb, for the correction!), Barry still knows how to work a crowd.  Though his mouth is the only thing on his face that moves and I think Martin Short could play him in the biopic, he’s definitely entertaining.  He plays the piano, dances with the backup singers, and humors the crowd with his suggestive jokes—nothing like acknowledging your songs put people in the mood for some intimate relations.  Oh Barry, you kill me.

Millions of Fanilows can’t be wrong!

In all seriousness, this was probably the best performance I have seen at the Hollywood Bowl.  The crowd went wild when he sang “Copacabana” and the entire audience was on their feet dancing to the music.  I was definitely shaking my booty to the beat pretending to be a showgirl named Lola and it had nothing to do with the bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon I had drunk.  It was just that good of a show.

Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl…

Looks like we made it!

No 4th 3rd of July show would be complete without some fireworks and the Hollywood Bowl never disappoints.

A Star-Spangled Bowl

Because what’s a holiday without some fireworks?

5 thoughts on “My Date With Barry Manilow (And 17,000 Other People)

  1. Go Jules Go says:

    Aw man, how awesome! I really don’t know what’s cooler – Dot Marie or how friggin’ SWEET that set-up is, with your own space/table/everything! I know you mentioned before you could bring your own food and drink, but seeing it, dang. I wish all venues were like that! Well, sigh, at least we have dine-in movie theaters in Jersey now, LOL

    I’ve heard Barry is a great performer. I’m so glad you had fun!

    • Jessica says:

      It was majorly awesome! I’ve never sat in one of the garden boxes before (I’m usually up in the cheap seats on the benches) so it was fun to be able to have enough room to move around a little more. The box was still pretty small and we shared with two other people, but it was definitely worth it to be that much closer to the stage and see the celebrities in attendance. Ross Mathews (of “The Tonight Show” and “Chelsea Lately” fame) tweeted that he was there too, but darn it if I didn’t see him.

      Hope you had a great 4th!

  2. Reb says:

    Just to clarify…Manilow just turned 69 years old. he was born in 1943 not 1946 as is sometimes reported. thank his old record company for that Misconception. I’m seen Barry over 60 times since the 70’s and he is by far the best entertainer that I’ve even seen live. it’s not just a’s a show! glad you had fun!

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