Wednesday, March 5, 2008 | 10:50 p.m.
Geographically speaking, the Las Vegas Hilton may be to the north and off the Strip proper, but when Barry Manilow is in residence, it automatically becomes the magnetic center of the city.
After a three-month hiatus, Barry Manilow took the stage at the Hilton Theater last night and showed this town how much fun and heart can be packed into 90 minutes.
A true-blue spectacle, intimate and humanly scaled, Manilow’s "Music and Passion" might just be the most effective antidepressant on the market.
And the elfin Manilow himself — our national Peter Pan — is chipper, cheery and endearingly corny at 64, with his twinkling permagrin and frosted mullet-mop, gleefully and passionately tearing through a decades-spanning trove of irresistible tunes. It’s OK — actually almost involuntary and autonomic — to sing along during a Manilow show. Everyone knows the words and the melodies. Even the snootiest snobs and the hippest hipsters could find themselves smiling in the dark, thinking, “I loved these songs.”
The show premiered in 2005, and Manilow has signed to appear through 2009 at his custom-built, 1,700-seat jewel box theater. A full review will follow sometime soon in the Las Vegas Sun. But for tonight, here’s a warm welcome back to the delightful Mr. M.