Barry Manilow saying farewell to UK with emotional last gigs | Celebrity News | Showbiz & TV

Singing superstar Barry Manilow begins his farewell to UK audiences tonight (May 19) when he takes to the stage of the beleagured Manchester Co-Op Arena for the first of a serries of dates which will mark his final ever concerts this side of the pond. Following tonight’s performance he will head to London to end his UK concert career where it all began with a 14 night residency in the London Palladium in the West End .

Barry first took to the stage there in October 1978. Speaking about his decision to perform a final run there he said: “In 1978, The London Palladium is where I began my love affair with the British public. These shows will be my last full concerts in Britain and I wanted to end where I began – at the London Palladium.”

Barry finally broke though in the UK that same year with the release of his album Even Now. It was his fifth LP and reached number eight on the UK album charts attaining silver status.

With the theatre booked they expected to perform two nights but ended up doing a two week run. Ever since then British audiences have held a special place in his heart and he in theirs.

Now 80 he has said these will be his last ever UK concerts, although he could still pop over for the occassional special or one off appearance. He last toured the UK in 2022 where he took in several cities including Birmingham and Leeds.

Throughout the 46 years since he first played on British shores he has had many memorable performances. The one that particularly stands out for him is his 1983 concert in Blenheim Palace.

In a 2014 interview with Harrow Times he recalled it as one of his favourites: “My brilliant manager, Garry Kief, somehow convinced the Duke of Marlborough to allow us to stage a concert on the grounds of the Palace.

“It had never been done, but the Duke had listened to my music and said, ‘Yes. I think he’s a nice fellow making some nice music. His fans are probably nice too.’

“He expected a few hundred people to attend the concert. Frankly, so did I. 50,000 people showed up! It was a night I’ll never forget. And, I’ll bet, nether will the Duke.”

He was also afforded the honour of an ITV An Audience With… special in 2011 with guests including TV Chef Gino D’Acampo, then Dancing on Ice judge Jason Gardiner, and friend and daughter of showbiz legend Judy Garland, Lorna Luft in attendance.

As for what fans can expect from these final shows it will be hits, hits and more hits. “I’ve stopped performing album cuts and medleys of big bands and stuff. I know what the audience wants. They want the hits. And I am happy to give that to them.

“I’m one of those lucky guys who has a catalogue of hits that can fill up 90 minutes. I don’t know how that happened, but I’m very grateful. And I want to give them every song they know. So it’s a very happy audience out there …” he told USA Today in 2019:

“I could see the difference. When I would do something, they didn’t know, they would be very polite. And then when I would do Looks Like We Made It, the roof would cave in. They were telling me what they wanted. And it’s my pleasure, honestly. It’s theirs. They gave these hits to me. So I’m happy to do it.

“I don’t mind it. I really don’t. You would think that I’d be sick of them by now. But I really am not because they make it brand new for me. It’s as if they’ve never heard these songs before.”

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