I {Heart} Barry

There’s no maybe about it. Those old songs did bring back the old times and MADE ME WANT TO STAY!

If you have no idea what I’m talking about then you’re probably not a Barry Manilow fan. If that’s the case, I feel bad for you because it’s SO MUCH FUN BEING A FANILOW!


Me and 6,000 of my closest friends were on hand Wednesday night to witness the showman himself in action. OK fine, I didn’t know all 6,000 people. I only knew like 35 of them.

Let’s rewind. 

Back in mid-January a co-worker mentioned that Barry was coming to Omaha at the end of February and tickets ranged from $7.99 up in to the $100’s. We all giggled at the thought of a Barry Manilow concert and then thought, hey wouldn’t it be fun to sing and dance the night away to the likes of Copacabana and Mandy? The more we talked about it, the more appealing it became. Particularly if we only spent $8 a ticket! That’s all the more money for food and booze!

Being the social butterfly and “woo” person that I am, I decided to send an email to female co-workers who may be interested, to see if we could get a group to go.

Little did I know 30 people would jump on board! People were not only interested but also signed up to bring their friends, moms, sisters and one even brought her husband!

So I bought us all tickets together and we were off to the races.

However, we had a lot of time on our hands between buying the tickets and the actual show, which got us to thinking.

T-shirts. We need t-shirts.

We didn’t just want to show up to the show. We wanted to make a statement while doing it. So we tossed some ideas around and then decided the best course of action was to keep it simple. We bought some iron-on transfers, 30 white t-shirts and made up a simple design that said “I Red heart Barry”.

barry shirts

We also planned out a dinner so that we could all stuff our faces with pizza eat before the show.

Finally Leap Day rolled around and the time was upon us! I actually wore my t-shirt to work, classed up with a red scarf. I’m loud and I’m proud!

me work

Dinner was fun and really helped us all get amped up for the show! While there, we took a picture of everyone wearing their “I Red heart Barry” shirts.


Notice the photo bomber in the background? Lovely.

Then it was time to head to the arena!

Our seats were actually not too bad for being super cheap. We were in the last row of the first “bowl area” in the arena.

We found our seats and got comfie. Out of nowhere, an usher comes up and says he has 7 tickets on the main floor if any of us are interested in going down.

Wait, that sounds bad. He wasn’t propositioning us. We didn’t have to “go down” to get the tix. He just handed them over.

So to the main floor we went!

We no sooner got to our new seats when the lights dimmed and all of a sudden a spotlight hit the stage. The curtains parted and there he was – Mr. Manilow himself! The crowd was on their feet and going wild. We all assumed there would be an opening act so when it went right in to the main show, we were thrilled!

brocade jacket

And what a show it was!


He sang our favorite songs, told all kinds of stories, showed old footage and even showered us with streamers.

You know those people at concerts who sit right behind you and are loud and obnoxious? The ones who yell things to the artist, dance like crazy and knock in to you, kick over the chairs next to you and sing at the top of their lungs?

Yeah, that was us.


To be honest, I wasn’t really a Fanilow when I decided to get a group together for this concert. I thought it would just be a good excuse to have a girl’s night. But I’m a Fanilow now!


Never mind the crazy ladies you hear in the background proclaiming their love…

Barry was so charming, funny and personable. He told us a story of how his Russian grandfather knew little Barry had music in him and so would take him to Times Square (they lived in Brooklyn) every Saturday. There, they would go to a booth where you could record your voice on a 45 record. He wanted 4-year old Barry to sing “Happy Birthday”. 4-year old Barry thought grandpa was nuts. He played us one of the actual recordings and you could hear his grandfather talking in his Russian accent and encouraging Barry to sing! Little Barry just jibber-jabbered, unsure what to do. It was really neat to hear that scratchy recording.

photo 1

Perhaps my favorite part was when he sang “Mandy.” He left the stage and it went dark. Then on the video screen they showed old footage of Barry making his television debut singing Mandy on “The Midnight Special”.

The audience became mesmerized by this young kid singing a song we all know and love when suddenly the spotlight hit the piano on stage and there was current day Barry, in a white jacket, and he started singing a duet with his younger self! At first he was singing off of what the video was doing (not sure if on purpose or because he couldn’t find the same rhythm) but then all of sudden they synced up and were in perfect unison. Even at age 68 his voice sounds great and together they sounded like one voice. It was so neat and actually gave me goose bumps.

photo 3

He talked too about the hip surgery he had a few months ago and how he was laid up in bed for 2 whole months. Though he walked around the stage a lot and even did a few hip shakes (sort of), you could tell he wasn’t moving as freely as perhaps he used to. He looked particularly stiff as the show drew towards a close. He could hardly bend over for his final bow.

But never-the-less, he gave it his all and his voice sounded fantastic.

I apologize for my off key singing in parts….

We had a lot of fun playing with the streamers too.



On our way out I grabbed some of them and wrapped myself up. I wanted to take Barry home with me!


To add to the excitement, our group was mentioned in the newspaper review of the concert!

“They gathered in groups of three and four [or 30], towed along husbands, wore T-shirts that said “I Red heart Barry” and waved signs that said “Pick me” hoping to get onstage.”

So there you have it – my night with Barry Manilow. In all seriousness, it was one of the best concerts I’ve been to. The singing was great, the songs were fun and he really connected with the audience. Hey, the man’s been doing this for decades….he’s a pro and it showed.

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My Night with Josh Groban

My Night with @joshgroban

Tuesday night I went on a date with Josh Groban. He was charming, he was funny and he sang to me. It was amazing. I think he and I really made a connection.

Along with the 5000 other people in the arena.

We’ll start back at the beginning. Josh has been to Omaha 3 times. And I’ve seen him each of those times, with my mom at my side. My sister was at two of them and CJ and my dad were at one.

This time, we debated because tickets weren’t cheap and we have to keep in mind our budgets, but we decided he was worth the splurge. I got us seats on the main floor, row 28 which is the 2nd to last row in the first section.


We got there and took our seats. As we waited for the opening act to come out, I noticed a message they were flashing that said to text a question to Josh with our name and seat location and he would answer some during the show. I asked my mom what question she would want to ask and she said, “Ask him if he finds 66 year old women attractive!”


Then she changed her mind and had me ask him what 3 things he would want with him if stranded on a desert island. I sent that in along with my question: what is your favorite Kanye West tweet?

This is freakin’ hilarious BTW and he actually sang some of it during the concert!

Just then the opening act came out and got the show started. It was a guy named Elew playing the piano. That was it. But it was awesome. He played it in such a unique way that I can’t really describe. He made piano rock again!

When he was done the crew began preparing the stage for Josh. My mom, sis and I had some snacks, chatted and tried to pass the time. At one point we heard the lady in front of us tell the couple next to her that Josh was going to come out and play on a stage in the center of the arena, which happened to be right behind us.


AT this point, it didn’t look like a stage. It looked like the sound area. My mom butted in and said, “Josh is going to be performing right here?” They confirmed it.

Oh my goodness! Suddenly we had front row seats! My mom was all giddy and demanded my sis and I get our cameras/camera phones ready. The guy in front of us (who would now be behind us) asked my mom if she was going to start jumping up and down like a teenager when he came out. She said that she just might. We spent the next 10 minutes wondering where he was going to come out and turning back and forth from the front to the middle and back again. Then they dimmed the lights and the crowd roared. The area behind us suddenly raised up to a stage and sure enough, out came Josh!


Seriously, the only thing between him and me was a row of chairs and a group of women (who I could have totally taken out if I wanted to – I’m doing P90X yo!). He sang right away and it was awesome. He also mentioned that he filmed a segment for the Dancing with the Stars finale the day before. (By the way, did you all know that Hines Ward won? Yeah, that’s right, the Steelers are winners no matter what they do! Booyah!)


After a few songs, he ran off that stage, down the aisle and up to the front stage. He said that he wanted the show to be intimate and it was. He told stories and jokes. He is funny too. Whether or not you like his style of music, you have to admit that he’s a charmer. Let’s just say I wouldn’t kick him out of bed for eating crackers in it (my grandma said that once about Kevin Costner after we saw The Bodyguard. I was horrified).

When it came time for him to read the texts, I got ready. I just knew they would pick mine because it was so witty and original. Alas, no. The first question was about how Oprah has impacted his career. He mentioned that he had actually flown to Chicago from Omaha and back again the night before to be a part of her final episode. The next question asked him if he could ride any animal, what would it be. Then the person went on to add they would ride a fire-breathing red panda. Since she took his answer, he settled on a Jabberwocky with a red licorice saddle and bubbles coming out of it’s butt.

You guys, my mom thought that was HI-LARIOUS! I mean she was guffawing. It was funny and the crowd loved it but you have to understand my mom. This is a conservative woman who thinks the word “fart” is uncouth. And she’s laughing about Jabberwockies who fart bubbles? That, my friends, is the power of Josh Groban.

The next question was about the Kanye tweets! But it wasn’t my text. Someone else had edged me out. GAH! The nerve! But at least it prompted him to sing us a few bars from the song.

After that he came down in to the crowd and said hi to people and chatted.


Then it was back to singing on the center stage – right by me! Ha ha baby!


Then he decided to bring some people from the audience on to the stage. First he asked for a couple that had been married a long time. He found one that had 25 years. The husband seemed less than thrilled to be there, which JG pointed out, but the wife was positively beside herself. Then he found a 10 year old girl and asked her up. Finally he called out for some single ladies. I got so caught up in the moment that I started jumping up and down waving my hands in the air and screaming. My mom had to remind me that I’m not single. Oops..ha ha. Sorry Ceige.

So it ended up with 7 people up on stage with him. He had the crew bring out couches, some wine for the adults and some milk for the younger ones. He sat with them and chatted. He even flirted a little with one of them. I have to admit I was a tad jealous. Then he sang a love song to them all and that finished the first set.

They came out for an encore and he sang “You Raise Me Up” which just so happens to be the song CJ sang to me at our wedding. I remembered then that not only was I married, but happily so and to an amazing man. I wished he was there to share that moment with me.

That ended the show and we all floated out to the car, high on the music of Josh Groban (and the down pour of rain).

Seriously, I think Josh is super talented and amazing. He’s also darn cute and charming. He has to be a new addition to my freebie 5 List. This concert, along with other recent events of the week have altered my list quite a bit. Here’s the new one ( in no particular order).

  1. Chris Hemsworth(the guy who played Thor. Hummanahummana)
  2. Derek Hough(I missed him on DWTS this season but hopefully he’ll be back next year)
  3. Hines Ward(he seems like such a gentleman and sweet guy – but he’s got the tough guy thing too)
  4. James Denton (he could come check my plumbing any day…Winking smile)
  5. Josh Groban (who doesn’t want someone who can serenade them while riding a Jabberwocky?)

And that was my intimate night with JG. I hope he comes back soon so we can do it again!

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Road Trip to Dallas