Last Night of the U.K. Tour
Wembley Arena London, England March 4th, 1990
Welcome to the latest episode of MANILOW TV!
Marc Hulett here, Barry’s assistant for the past 80 years, and cameraman for this amazing show. I still remember this night like it was yesterday….
This truly is buried treasure.
It was a thrill to watch this concert for the first time in 20 years. I had forgotten this surprising “one time only” set list, which was completely different than any of the previous 27 concerts he had performed on the this UK tour, and I honestly didn’t know what song was coming next.
And as great as Act One is, just wait until you see Act Two which is coming next month!
I didn’t know at the time, that I was about to record what would prove to be one of the most legendary concerts of Barry’s career, and how terrific that now, this “home movie” can be shared here with you …and not just live in the memory the 15,000 lucky people at Wembley Arena that night.
This show was added at the last minute, by popular demand, at the end of the sold out 1990 UK Tour.
This sold out tour started with two weeks at the London Palladium (he could have stayed there for two months), and included fifteen other packed concerts up and down the English countryside, and as a “thank you” to Britain, Barry agreed to return to London and do this one last show at Wembley Arena. It too, sold out instantly.
This night, as with most of the previous episodes of MANILOW TV, was taped exclusively for Barry – Because, sadly, he can’t see the show… He’s in it! He is the show!!
Barry has always said that it’s his goal to make the audience feel better when they leave a concert, than they did when they walked in….and so it is very important for me to document these performances when I can, and to somehow try to share with Barry a bit of the magic and excitement we are experiencing in the audience.
No one could imagine how much Barry puts into creating his shows. He is involved in every detail, every light cue, everything you see on that stage – it’s truly magic that the concerts look so effortless night after night, but it takes hours of preparation and rehearsal to make it look easy. And the amazing thing about Barry is that after he does all the directing, lighting, writing, rehearsing, he then has to get up on stage and perform for the audience – it’s mind blowing.
Finding time to rehearse was tough, as we were either doing concerts or travelling every day, but somehow, during soundchecks before the shows leading up to this final performance, his band, cast and crew tried their best to keep up with him, and make it look like they’d done this show a million times before.
Barry meticulously crafted a show full of excitement, heart and humor. He put in never before performed songs, a huge re-cap of all his “Shecky Manilow” jokes, and many more surprises that I’d forgotten about.
Technology in 1990 was not what it is today, and that night the crew put my camera, sadly, as far away as possible so as not to block seats, and you’ll see that I tumbled over now and again, trying to hold the camera over my head to get a good shot of the stage as people stood up in front of me…
I have to say that the quality of the picture, and the sound are pretty rough, but it’s such a one of a kind, and exciting performance, that you get used to it quickly, and if you’re like me, you just are happy this night was preserved at all.
Barry changed the show opening to showcase the whole band before he came out. The band took the stage one by one, playing and singing a special lyric Barry wrote, (which was a riot)…for the Shalamar song “A Night To Remember” and it was thrilling.
Debra: OH I LOVE THIS GUY BUT GOD HE’S SO DEMANDING MY POOR OLD VOICE IS AT THE MERCY OF HIS EVERY WHIM BUT HE MEANS WELL AND I’M OH, SO UNDERSTANDING BESIDES IT’S EASIER TO JUST GIVE IN AND LIKE ME I SUGGEST THAT YOU SURRENDER GET READY TONIGHT WE’RE GONNA MAKE THIS A NIGHT TO REMEMBER YOU BETTER GET READY TONIGHT WE’RE GONNA MAKE THIS A NIGHT TO REMEMBER
Billy: WE REHEARSE UNTIL HE’S GOT US IN A TRAUMA TIL THERE’S BLOOD AND SCARS AND BLACK AND BLUE BETWEEN HE AND I EVERY SONG BECOMES A CHALLENGE AND A DRAMA LIKE YOU’LL NOTICE THAT THIS KEY’S TOO HIGH! YEAH, HE’S CRAZY BUT I KNOW HE’S GONNA SEND YA… GET READY TONIGHT WE’RE GONNA MAKE THIS A NIGHT TO REMEMBER YOU BETTER GET READY TONIGHT WE’RE GONNA MAKE THIS A NIGHT TO REMEMBER
Barry arrives onstage: LET’S MAKE A TOAST TO THOSE WHO HELPED MAKE THIS OCCASION DRINK TO THE FACT OF LOVE CAUSE THAT’S WHAT BROUGHT YOU STRAIGHT TO ME NOW TO YOU I MAKE A LASTING DEDICATION I’LL SHOW YOU ALL THE LOVE THAT LIFE CAN BE AND EACH DAY THAT I LIVE I WILL DELIVER YOU BETTER GET READY TONIGHT WE’RE GONNA MAKE THIS A NIGHT TO REMEMBER YOU BETTER GET READY TONIGHT WE’RE GONNA MAKE THIS A NIGHT TO REMEMBER
Debra: WE GOT THE CLOTHES
Billy: WE GOT THE LIGHTS
Barry: WE GOT THE SMOKE AND THE MUSIC IS THE REASON THAT LOVE TAKES THE SOUL AND I’M GONNA SING YOU EVERY SONG I KNOW
Debra and Billy: HE BETTER SING THEM SOON …….BECAUSE HE’S VERY OLD HE’S VERY OLD HE’S THE OLDEST THING YOU’VE EVER SEEN….
Barry: WHAT’S GOING ON? STOP?
Billy: WHAT’S THE MATTER CHIEF? NEED A SHOT OF FILOSAN (Geritol in the USA)
Barry: NAFF OFF, WHIPPER SNAPPER ALL RIGHT, SO I’M THE OLDEST PERSON UP HERE BUT HAVEN’T YOU EVER HEARD THAT YOU’RE ONLY AS OLD AS YOU FEEL? REALLY, YOU’RE ONLY AS OLD AS YOU FEEL, RIGHT DEBRA?
Debra: WELL BARRY, HOW OLD DO YOU FEEL?
Barry: HOW OLD DO I FEEL DEBRA?
Debra: HOW OLD DO YOU FEEL BARRY?
Barry: WHY DON’T YA COP A FEEL DEBRA, YOU TELL ME!
And the night took off like a rocket from there! I have to say that this tour was full of love and magic.
After being on the road for the previous two years, (including two months at the Gershwin Theatre in New York) we were all having the time of our lives and these beautiful people in the band and crew had turned into a family.
No one involved with the LIVE ON BROADWAY tour has ever quite gotten over it. Seeing this show again, reminded me what an amazing ride I’ve been on for all these years. I wouldn’t trade one day. I continue to have boundless admiration and respect for Barry. He’s one of the great human beings.
He’s a stellar musician, an incredible performer, with a heart is as big as the ocean, and above all, he’s my best friend.