Review: Barry Manilow brings the magic at Co-op Live

With a sold out audience all waving illuminated glow sticks to techno beats, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were at a rave at the brand new Co-op Live. But no, this was the scene to greet Barry Manilow to the stage in Manchester for this, billed as his “Last, last tour”.

Barry cuts a remarkable figure on stage - looking, dancing and sounding like a man half of his 80 years. Rather fitting then that his opening number is to belt out “It’s a Miracle”.

He looks genuinely touched by the response from this audience of die hard fans saying “I really can’t believe this”.

READ MORE: 'We want people to feel like they’re walking into Disneyland': The huge new festival coming to fields near Hale

He’s also pretty impressed with the Co-op Live arena saying: "It's a beautiful place, I'm really glad we're here at the beginning of it," he says (with all memories of the opening dramas now seemingly a thing of the past). He even says he’s looking forward to coming back here in a bit of a tease to fans that this may not be the last, last tour after all.

It was also a remarkably seamless entry for most fans heading to the new arena - just at the same time Man City fans were pouring out of the neighbouring Etihad Stadium celebrating winning the league.

Although there was to be no impromptu chorus of Blue Moon or any mention at all of the footy from Barry.

Instead Barry’s set is a choice mix of his classic ballads and biggest hits, mixed in with his witty banter and willingness to laugh at himself.

“I have a question for you guys does anybody like the music that came out of the 70s?” He says to huge cheers. “Well you’ve come to the right place for that,” he adds before launching into Looks Like We Made It.

As anyone who’s ever been to a Barry show will know, there’s also the heart-warming stories of how this Brooklyn boy’s music career all started.

It includes the tender moment on record when young Barry first sang for his grandpa, building to an emotional crescendo of This One’s For You.

“I’m so glad you still like these songs!” He exclaims. And he looks like he’s still having a ball up there singing them.

He explains to his adoring audience that after “a million albums” he wants to play some rarely played songs for this tour. It means some choice treats for fans as well, of course, as the big hits.

There are standing ovations and a thunder of feet for the likes of Bermuda Triangle, Can't Smile Without You and Tryin' to Get The Feeling.

“I first played Manchester in 1982, I was only 16,” he quipped. “I hadn’t even grown into my nose at that age.”

He says just how important Manchester has been for his gigs over the years.

“I never thought I’d have a relationship with a city,” he enthuses before launching into, what else for Manchester, I Made it Through the Rain.

Naturally the glow sticks (given away free at the door) were deployed to full effect for the Copacabana finale, with Barry returning to stage in full on feathered blouson.

Before taking his final bows he insisted “I’m not retiring” so maybe this is not quite the last, last tour after all. When he looks and sounds this good why stop now though?


It's a Miracle

I’m Your Man

Can’t Smile Without You

Somewhere in the Night


Looks Like We Made It

Sweet Heaven (I’m in Love Again)

Sing It

This One's For You

Bermuda Triangle

Even Now

The One That Got Away

Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed?

Tryin' to Get The Feeling

Dancing in the Aisles

Dancin' in the Street

Could it Be Magic

I Made It Through the Rain

Mandy /Could it Be Magic

I Write the Songs


It’s a Miracle (reprise)