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Manilow sprinkles some Vegas magic in Forum show

Barry Manilow graced Tampa with a bit of Vegas.
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Barry Manilow graced Tampa with a bit of Vegas.

The legendary performer came to the St. Pete Times Forum on Friday night flanked by Punta Gorda's Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and four singer-dancers from his show at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino.

Manilow set nearly 9,000 glow sticks atwitter when he appeared onstage just an hour past show time, dapper in his white sport coat and trademark grin. Blowing kisses and bounding across the stage, Manilow opened with "Could It Be Magic," a song reprised when transitioning between subsequent numbers.

After teasing he could sing all night, Manilow winked and said, "So leave your troubles outside, and come with me. I'm gonna make you feel good!"

Manilow peppered his hit-laden performance with self-deprecating chatter and reflections, frequently thanking the audience and encouraging them to support music programs for youngsters.

"I wasn't very good at sports, and I wasn't going to join a gang," he said of taking the high school orchestra class that spurred his career. "Can you imagine me in a gang?"

Manilow's performance of "Mandy" spurred hushed sing-a-longs, and "I Write the Songs" sent the glow sticks into a frenzy. "Weekend in New England" inspired Beatles-worthy shrieks from a few fans and compelled Manilow to cry, "I still got it!"

Most of the crowd contained their enthusiasm in their seats, popping up for "Copacabana (At the Copa)" and settling back down for the encore, "Forever and a Day."

Manilow departed to the orchestral rendition of "Could It Be Magic." Unfortunately for Fanilows, "all night" meant about 90 minutes.