Barry Manilow certainly knows how to say goodbye in style.
The piano-pop superstar brought his career-spanning “One Last Time!” show, which the 71-year-old says will be his last, to a packed Nassau Coliseum on Friday night, entertaining the crowd from start to finish.
“It’s gonna be magic tonight,” Manilow said to open the show. “I can feel it in the room.”
The Brooklyn native said the concert felt familiar because he had played Nassau Coliseum so many times before. “Finally, I’m home,” he said. “Finally, I can talk as fast as I want to.”
And Manilow, or “Cousin Barry” as he introduced himself, did his best to make sure the 90-minute show felt familiar, with a few technological updates. A bouncing smiley emoticon led the crowd through the lyrics of “Can’t Smile Without You” on a video wall behind him. Later, using video from his first appearance on “The Midnight Special,” Manilow does a duet with himself for “Mandy” and “Could It Be Magic.”
Even when he introduced relatively unfamiliar material, like songs from his “Here at the Mayflower” album, Manilow added bits of Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff” and Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” to ensure his fans were still with him, which shouldn’t have been a worry.
During “Weekend in New England,” his fans whooped their approval during the line, “When can I touch you?” The applause grew so loud that Manilow even stopped the song, saying, “Really? Still?”
For the past four decades, Manilow has formed a powerful bond with his fans. They related to his triumphant ballads like “I Made It Through the Rain” and enjoyed his stories like “Copacabana.”
Though Manilow hasn’t always been seen as cool, no one can argue that he isn’t a great musician. His voice is still strong and his 90-minute show at the Coliseum was as tightly scripted and entertainment-packed as any Broadway show or Las Vegas spectacle, brimming with humor and charm.
He’s a masterful showman, even if the shows may be coming to an end. “What a ride it’s been,” said Manilow, who will end his tour on his 72nd birthday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
SETLIST: It’s a Miracle/Could It Be Magic / Somewhere in the Night / Can’t Smile Without You / Jump Shout Boogie / Moonlight Serenade / Even Now / Brooklyn Blues (w/Dave Koz) / Do You Know Who’s Livin’ Next Door? / Medley: They Dance / Boogie Wonderland / Hot Stuff / Signed, Sealed, Delivered / I Am Your Child / Weekend in New England / Let’s Hang On / Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You / I Made It Through the Rain / Mandy / Could It Be Magic / Medley: One Voice / The Old Songs / American Bandstand / I Don’t Want to Walk Without You / New York City Rhythm / Some Kind of Friend / Read ‘em and Weep / Ships / Somewhere Down the Road / This One’s For You / Tryin’ to Get the Feeling Again / Ready to Take a Chance Again / Looks Like We Made It / Daybreak / I Write the Songs / Copa Cabana / It’s a Miracle