This month’s video is a rare one…
Barry Manilow in Concert – The Legendary 1978 Concert at the Greek …
captured by HBO 42 years ago his month !
15 SOLD OUT nights…
67,500 people attended …
(not counting the people in the trees!)
It’s been out of print and unavailable for years …
and HERE IT IS!
This run broke all records for the most shows ever by a pop performer in one season at the Greek…and that record still stands to this day.
(FYI…Neil Diamond only sold out 10 for his storied “Hot August Night” run in 1972!)
Thankfully this concert was filmed for HBO, and on February 11, 1979 it aired on the series “Standing Room Only” which garnered a huge viewing audience and was the first cable special to pose a serious threat to network primetime specials, topping all three networks in the ratings !
It’s amazing to realize Barry’s dizzying rise to this high point, took only four and a half short years and six albums…
Here are excerpts from some reviews:
The Hollywood Reporter – August 29, 1978:
“Fifteen performances sold out in advance at the Greek’s 4,500 seat theatre. Such popularity must be deserved, and Barry Manilow proved it with his smashing opening night performance.”
Manilow the performer overshadows the excellent Manilow the songwriter. He is sheer personality and charisma onstage, and a fine talent. Whether singing tender ballads, or tearing up the place with his style of pop, Manilow excels.
Pasadena Star News – “Manilow proves it may be magic”:
No single performer commands so much obeisance as Barry Manilow – the modern day musical magician.”
“Much of what was said touched people in the telling”
“The consistent sell-outs of the Manilow mania is easy to understand. He’s a gangly Jewish kid from Brooklyn, who rode Lady Luck to fame, spurred on by sheer musical talent. It can still be done. And that feels good.”
LA Herald Examiner – “Mellow Manilow worthy of tremendous popularity” :
“Since Manilow now sells millions of records, he is the poison pen’s No. 1 target, supplanting even John Denver. I refuse to join the sinking critical ship, because Manilow is simply too good at what he does. Undoubtedly, his fans think so too. All of his 15 shows at the Greek Theatre are sold out.”
“The wonderful songs “Weekend In New England” and “I Write The Song’s” not only provide the showcase for Manilow’s street singing sensibilty, they perhaps identify him as the most brilliant pop arranger of this decade. That’s where his real talent lies.”
The LA Ledger -“A Spectacle At The Greek” :
“By the time he got around to singing “Copacabana” there was no question in anyone’s mind that he had LA in the palm of his hand.”
Well, they say it all…
I was in LA working that Summer of ’78, and I couldn’t get a ticket to save my life, so I’m happy to be able to see this again myself!
Assistant to Barry Manilow