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Archive for the ‘Barry Manilow’ Category

    Happy New Year!

    I know I have been away far too long from my AI friends and fans so I guess this is as good a time as any to start cranking up the creative wheels again and get this blog back on a regular schedule. Speaking of schedules, I’m sure most of you saw that FOX has released the broadcast schedule for season 7 of Idol and I was VERY glad to see the Hollywood rounds getting two episodes again instead of last season’s disappointing one. Now in case you’re one of the three people who haven’t seen the press release, I’ll post it here so you can reference it throughout the season:

     

     

    2008 American Idol Season 7 Schedule

    Tuesday, January 15

    Auditions (Philly)

    Wednesday, January 16

    Auditions (Dallas)

    Tuesday, January 22

    Auditions (San Diego)

    Wednesday, January 23

    Auditions (Charleston)

    Tuesday, January 29

    Auditions (Omaha)

    Wednesday, January 30

    Auditions  (Miami)

    Tuesday, February 5

    Auditions  (Atlanta)

    Wednesday, February 6

    Auditions (Could be “Best of the Worst” – I hate those!)

    Tuesday, February 12

    Hollywood Part 1

    Wednesday, February 13

    Hollywood Part 2 – Top 24 Revealed

    Tuesday, February 19

    Top 12 Males

    Wednesday, February 20

    Top 12 Females

    Thursday, February 21

    Top 24 Elimination

    Tuesday, February 26

    Top 10 Males

    Wednesday, February 27

    Top 10 Females

    Thursday, February 28

    Top 20 Elimination

    Tuesday, March 4

    Top 8 Males

    Wednesday, March 5

    Top 8 Females

    Thursday, March 6

    Top 16 Elimination – Top 12 established

    Tuesday, March 11

    Top 12 Perform

    Wednesday, March 12

    Top 12 Elimination

    Tuesday, March 18

    Top 11 Perform

    Wednesday, March 19

    Top 11 Elimination

    Tuesday, March 25

    Top 10 Perform

    Wednesday, March 26

    Top 10 Elimination

    Tuesday, April 1

    Top 9 Perform

    Wednesday, April 2

    Top 9 Elimination

    Tuesday, April 8

    Top 8 Perform

    Wednesday, April 9

    Idol Gives Back 2

    Thursday, April 10

    Top 8 Elimination

    Tuesday, April 15

    Top 7 Perform

    Wednesday, April 16

    Top 7 Elimination

    Tuesday, April 22

    Top 6 Perform

    Wednesday, April 23

    Top 6 Elimination

    Tuesday, April 29

    Top 5 Perform

    Wednesday, April 30

    Top 5 Elimination

    Tuesday, May 6

    Top 4 Perform

    Wednesday, May 7

    Top 4 Elimination

    Tuesday, May 13

    Top 3 Perform

    Wednesday, May 14

    Top 3 Elimination

    Tuesday, May 20

    Final 2 Perform

    Wednesday, May 21

    Season Finale & Winner

     

    Other than another installment of Idol Gives Back, which I have mixed feelings about, it should be another interesting year of bad auditions, questionable judging and America getting it wrong at least ten times, if not more. Has Idol become predictable? In a way, yes — but it still manages to provide enough angst and raw emotions from both contestants and viewers to keep it the main topic of water cooler conversation from January to May. Couple that with the lack of any viable competition due to the writers’ strike and it should top the Nielsen’s easily again this year. There will, however, be some changes and additions and I am looking forward to them. From what we already know:

     

    ****Less focus on guest mentors and more on the contestants themselves in an effort to get to know them better. I would hate to see the producers do away with mentors altogether (especially the music god himself, Barry Manilow, who is due for another visit this year) because some of them, like Barry, really do care about the kids and want to see them do their best. However, last year’s over-emphasis, I believe, did take away from getting to see the contestants as regular folks just like us and allowed one very charismatic individual to get more attention for his non-singing antics than he deserved. Let’s hope the producers have learned a lesson from this.

     

    ****Allowing the contestants to show other sides of their musical abilities is certainly a welcome addition. Most of the other big Idol franchises already allow this and I believe it does help show how musically well rounded an individual is or isn’t. As a musician myself, I think it takes a lot more than a pretty voice to make it BIG in music or to achieve longevity in this field. Building on skills and gifts, as well as the occasional reinvention of the artists, helps to keep their creativity alive and, hopefully, keeps them out of becoming boring or trite to the listening and buying public. Since most Idol contestants haven’t traditionally had much experience or “dues paying” prior to being on the show (there are exceptions, obviously), they seem to lack the staying power of others who have taken awhile to “make it.” However, the public seems to think that if a musician isn’t ALWAYS in the news or on TV or on the radio that they have somehow “failed” at making a career of music – which is not necessarily true. Being able to judge a contestant’s full musical potential may begin to tip the scales away from those with just great voices and towards the “total musical package” types – something that may not be a bad thing. I guess we’ll have to see what the producers put forward this year for us to judge (and it had better be better than last year…).

     

     

    If you’re like me, with the holidays now a fond memory and the writers’ strike making TV more of a vast wasteland, you’re just as anxious for Idol to get going. It’s only a little longer, folks… get those TiVOs and DVRs primed and ready… we’re almost there and I’M READY! Are you?

     

    Carry on!

    J

     

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Howdy!

With the 7th Season of American Idol looming the distance, the Rewind of Season 2 just about to premiere, and other Idol competitions going on continually around the globe, I’ve been doing some thinking about the franchise in general and our version in particular. From what I’ve read, not all Idol competitions are conducted in the same way – for example, contestants in other countries are allowed to play instruments while performing. Also, over the last 6 seasons, there has been a lot of adjustments made in the American format, some good and others not so good.

Since the last season brought much criticism and lower ratings, perhaps this is a good time for the average fan like myself to play “Thursday morning director” and make some suggestions as to how the show can improve before it begins its next outing. Who knows – maybe someone will be listening…?

Here are three suggestions for the honorable producers to consider – if they haven’t already done so:

1) Bring back the Wildcard round!
I believe this step in the competition was used for the first 3 seasons and then dropped in favor of the 12 guys/12 girls elimination. I think it could still be used because it could give one guy and gal, particularly one who may not have gotten a lot of air time up to this point, another chance at the final 12. Remember, if it weren’t for the wildcard, Clay Aiken would never have made the finals in Season 2.

2) Bring back the Guest Judge/Mentor!
I know I’m bias but Barry Manilow is the best example of this. When he was asked to be a judge in Season 3 he asked if he could work with the contestants and the rest is Idol history. However, probably because of Simon’s alleged dislike of guest judges, the mentors only show up to work with the group and then disappear (or reappear on the results show to hawk their new CD). I believe if a mentor has spent time helping the cast, he or she should get a final say on their performance. It also gives the fans another view of the performance, especially during the middle of the season when we are sick of the usual “I’m feeling it, dawg,” “You’re so special” and “You’ll never make it in this competition” type of dribble. A fresh set of ears is a blessing at that point. (BTW, Barry was on Seasons 3 & 5 so that means he should be back again this year – especially if there is a 70’s night! He has proven to be the best mentor on the show.)

3) Give us less bad auditions and more of the Hollywood Rounds!
Last year the producers, in perhaps a drunken stupor, decided to chop up the Hollywood Rounds and condense them into one night because it wasn’t “good TV” – thus not allowing the fans to see more of the talent or back stories of the contestants (a HUGE complaint about Season6 in general). The editors should be able to combine and compile enough film on these rounds to both keep us interested and provide us with the emotional angst to get us behind our favorites. On the flip side, the ever increasing number of bad audition shows really don’t keep fan tuned in the rest of the season because the folks who fancy those episodes are all about watching train wrecks than good singing. The fans who vote passionately are the ones that should be served or they will continue to fall away as they did last season.

Ultimately, the main focus should always be on the contestants and their quest for the title. The more we know about them and their road to Idol, the more invested we become in their outcome. The show has proven that it can produce that type of TV and get both great ratings and loyal viewer. They can do it again. I’m sure of it. Sometimes returning to one’s roots is the best thing.

Now, may some of you out there have your own “three wishes” for the upcoming season so why not share your vision with the rest of us? Let us and TPTB know your concerns and maybe it will help to give Idol the boost it needs going into Season 7. Leave your comments below and let the voice of the people be heard!

Carry on!

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If I could only find the words then I would write it all down,

If I could only find a voice I would speak.

Oh, it’s there in my eyes, oh, can’t you see me tonight —

Come on and look at me and read ’em and weep

 

Ok, so I have to use Barry Manilow to frame my final remarks in this three part tome. Sue me. But this is the part where I get to give my $1.98 on what Clay might consider doing to “turn the Titanic around” (yet another song reference) and get on better footing with his career. Others share their opinions, sometimes liberally, so why not join them?

 

Before I go any further, let me say this: I have been called out as being too judgmental and negative in my comments about Clay. While this is typical treatment for anyone in the fandom who dares to criticize Clay in any way, those of you who have known me since the beginning of all this know that I love Clay’s voice and think that he has a promising future as a performer.

 

He intrigued me with “Always and Forever;”

blew me away with “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”

and made be believe he had a real chance at stardom with “This is the Night.”

 

I always try to be affirming in my comments but also honest because I believe that there are too many people around Clay who say “yes” all the time – fans included. I’ll admit openly that it is really uncomfortable for me to do this in such an open forum. You see, if Mr. Aiken and I were real friends, I would take him out to dinner and discuss this in a non-threatening way over some great meal and wine. I prefer to talk of such things in private because I never want to embarrass anyone or make them feel badly in front of others.

 

Problem is – I don’t know the man and have no way of communicating with him in private so I am left to toss these ideas out into cyberspace and with any luck, he may just hear about them and give them a read. I will understand if it upsets him but I will try to be as gentle and constructive as possible – it’s the way I would like to be treated if in the same position. My objective is to share some of my insight being an older and wiser musician myself. While I cannot claim to fully understand the celebrity end of it, it’s the human side I’m more interested in.

 

To put this into some kind of frame work, I’d like to use the article I alluded to in the last installment, the one written by the son of a Claymate, that compared Clay to Barry and was looked upon by more than a few fans as a slam to Clay, which it really wasn’t. If you are wearing Claymate glasses, please take them off now because you need to see this through realistic eyes and know that what I say next is meant to be constructive criticism, the kind that helps a person grow.

 

Note: my comments will be in red

 

Presumably Clay has much more control over his live output than he currently does with recordings, and still he has presented himself as an old-fashioned entertainer, the sort who might regularly put out discs like “A Thousand Different Ways” and then embark on a slow-songs-with-orchestra outing like this one. Only during “Measure of a Man” (which got me to clap when his covers didn’t) and his co-written but shakily executed song “Lover All Alone” did Clay seize the opportunity to veer into something different – something to suggest he really wants to be contemporary. I don’t think Clay himself is certain as to which musical path to wander down but he can sing both classics and contemporary genres well – WHEN his voice is in top form. He was spot on the night I saw him live at Meadowbrook but some of the other clips I have seen and heard have shown a more fragile and tentative performance on more than a one occasion. I have posted my concerns over his voice over the years and so far, what I have predicted is playing itself out – and that pains me to no end.

 

Otherwise, he behaves like Barry Manilow, the soft-pop icon who has undertaken similar tours in the past – and whose routine now plays best in Vegas. There are MANY similarities between Barry and Clay – so much that it warrants its own separate subject heading. It’s a topic I’ve been meaning to write about and if you look below you’ll see that the writer picked up on some of the same ones I was thinking about. Maybe I’ll expand on these in a future blog.

 

Clay invoked Manilow’s name twice Saturday to top off self-effacing quips: “Only me and Barry,” that’s who gives you nights like this. I agree here – both performers know their audience (both are comprised of mostly women) and try to give them what they want. Difference is, Barry has a much tighter show than Clay but that’s because Mr. Manilow is a major control freak who needs to have everything as perfect as possible because he believes he owes that to his fans. Clay is still in the experimental stages of performing and he’s trying out things constantly to see what works for both him and his fans.

 

At times, though, it seemed as if he’d been studying Manilow’s playbook, incorporating some old tricks into his shtick. His talented, naturally engaging supporting vocalists, for instance – Quiana Parler and Angela Fisher – are not unlike Ladyflash, Manilow’s toned-down version of Bette Midler’s Harlettes. I noticed that from the beginning and when he had Jacob with him it was reminiscent of when Barry had Billy Kidd with him when he only had two women in back up (one being the very talented Idol singing coach Debra Byrd).

 

Just as 30 years ago Manilow would detour into his “Very Strange Medley” (a hodgepodge of jingles you’d never have guessed he wrote), so does Clay indulge his TV tribute and “uncool” roundup. I think that’s what’s bothered me about the medleys – difference is that Barry wrote about half of the jingles and sang the rest for the TV spots so he really OWNED these pieces. Then there is the GONZO medley of Barry’s that is a romp through his greatest hits – Clay’s no where near that yet.

 

He even repeats the master’s stock lines, placating husbands who got dragged to his show by reminding them they might get lucky later that night. That’s straight out of Manilow 101 – as is decrying radio with these-kids-today disdain, which Clay did more than once to hearty applause from a largely older and female crowd (a devoted fan base that nonetheless fell far short of filling the Greek). I’m finding out more and more that there are a bigger number of younger Clay fans around that no one accounts for. If he was on more radio playlists this segment would grow by leaps and bounds.

 

But, see, Manilow can get away with bagging on the new because he once dominated – and still co-rules his domain. He remains a soft-pop maestro, a gifted pianist of considerable variety, and a strong, distinctive vocalist. Clay is just Clay – a nice charmer with an undeniably powerful (albeit hardly to all tastes) voice that is already showing signs of strain and aimlessness when he goes for glory notes these days. Barry IS the superior musician, hands down, yet even he admits that Clay has the better voice. The one thing Barry can do with his voice is use it as an interpretive tool better than anyone I have experienced in all my years as a singer. He is my musical Idol for this reason and I have spent years trying to emulate and perfect that ability in myself. Do I think Clay has the same talent in him? Yes, I do but he has yet to fully develop it. When he finally does and if he can develop a more solid musical foundation, then he will rival Barry as the “greatest showman of his generation.”

 

Clay will never be but a fraction as talented as Manilow, something he surely realizes, – Don’t be so sure and don’t count him out yetbut you can’t deny he’s on the right track. He’s got a witty way about himself, and banters off-the-cuff exceptionally well. Mind you, he almost talked here as much as he sang – not entirely a bad thing – and his habit of tumbling into and out of songs while chuckling isn’t cute so much as unprofessional. This is where his lack of musicianship shows the most. I was taught never to let the music suffer – to always know both my notes and my words and never cheat the audience out of the best I could offer. But I found his asides more appealing than his songs, just as I enjoy his interviews with Jimmy Kimmel more than his performances whenever he’s on. Clay needs to pay attention to such critique, unless he wants out of singing and wants more of a non-musical career.

 

If he’d just settle into this as a career path – and maybe he is – he still has a very promising future as a new sort of Wayne Newton. Only Clay knows the answer here and, then again, maybe this is what he is struggling with. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with a Vegas career unless he really wants to concentrate on television. At some point he will have to choose or he could end up with neither.

 

So, if I were to advice Clay on what he should do next, this is what I would tell him:

***get out of the public eye for at least a year or more to give all this hoopla a rest – reinventing oneself has worked for many people, Barry included

***while on hiatus, work on a new sound and hone your craft with professionals – Barry took acting lessons to help his stage performance and Clay could use some formal music training to help him feel more comfortable contributing to his overall “sound” instead of relying on someone else’s vision

 

***learn that “no comment” says more than you’d like it to say because it leaves others to fill in the blanks – defending one’s “honor” is still a good thing to do in measured doses

 

***surround yourself with people who are HONEST with you about everything – you need to “keep it real” and while stroking is nice, it only leads to a distorted view of life (and you don’t need to be a celebrity to learn that lesson)

 

I don’t have all the answers. I’m not perfect myself. I have no hidden agenda whatsoever. However, I have and always will believe in Clay and his talent and only want to see it reach it’s full potential. That’s all.

 

It’s there in my eyes and coming straight from my heart,

It’s running silent and angry and deep!

It’s there in my eyes, and it’s all I can say,

Come on look at me and read ’em . . . and weep!

(READ’EM AND WEEP – Music and lyrics by Jim Steinman – Sung by Barry Manilow)

 

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    It would appear that this cartoon is a perfect illustration of how Clay’s life has been unfolding over the last 18 months. Seems that no matter what he does or doesn’t do, no matter what choices he makes or doesn’t make and no matter how the public at large hears it, he always seems to make the WRONG decision for his life or career. When those times occur there is an ever-ready posse of folks poised to help make the situation worse – some are “fans” and others are “foes.”

     

    Can’t this poor soul catch a break? Is this what reality TV has done to the average Joe?

     

    Since Clay burst on to the scene in American Idol 2, he has been one of those performers who seems to polarize individuals – in other words, one their loves him or hates him with no in between. As with all things, zealots live at the extremes of these feelings towards him, using their version of the “facts” to support their positions. Just what ARE the facts about Clay Aiken that get folks all shook up?

     

    Here are some “facts” as we know them –

     

    Name: Clayton Holmes Aiken

    Age: 28

    Hometown: Raleigh, NC

    Education: Graduate of UNC-Charlotte w/degree in Special Education

    Claim to fame:

    Runner-up American Idol 2

    Recording Credits:

    This is the Night/Bridge Over Troubled Waters

    Measure of a Man

    Solitaire/The Way

    Merry Christmas with Love

    All is Well: Holiday Extras

    A Thousand Different Ways

     

    Solo Tours:

    Independent (w/Kelly Clarkson)

    Not-a Tour

    Joyful Noise 1

    Jukebox

    Joyful Noise 2

    Holiday w/Orchestra

    Soft Rock/Hard Place

    Philanthropic Endeavors:

    The Buble/Aiken Foundations – co-founder and Chairman of the Board

    UNICEF Ambassador for Education

    Presidential Committee for Disabilities

     

    All of the above are documented and indisputable (there are more facts but these are enough to make a point). What frosts my cupcakes, however, is when other things that are passed off as facts really aren’t — yet folks believe them as if they were gospel.

     

    Things like:

    Clay initiates fight with woman on airplane

    Clay is gay and we have a washcloth to prove it

    Clay’s charity is mismanaged

    Clay has a love child he is not supporting

    Clay never shows up for meetings of the presidential commission of which he is a member

     

    My Google alerts are filled with such drivel and after awhile I start to get angry and wonder when all this foolishness will stop. I want to know just what Clay represent or embodies that brings out such polar emotions in people. I haven’t got a clue.

     

    While I continue to ponder the above conundrum, let’s take a look at the two extremes that are a constant source of concern for Our Man Clay:

    The Clay Haters

    This group is made up of both former fans who no longer “drink the Kool-aid” (their favorite expression) that keeps them delusional towards him or those who were never fans in the first place or fans of other idols. The basic bottom line is that they have some kind of “beef” with Clay that they just can’t or won’t let go of. They seem to have taken up residence on a number of message boards and have developed a Community of Hate, communicating to anyone who reads them their gospel that Clay is “fake,” that he is not who he appears to be, and that all who believe he is or defend him in any way are they themselves targets for the same type of ridicule and slander.

     

    My question is:

    Who died and left them to play God?

     

    No one has the right to make themselves judge and jury over someone else’s existence. If you “fall out of like” with a celebrity, or anyone for that matter, you are free to walk away and let them go their merry way. Continuing to churn up the waters until they get total satisfaction that they are in the right or just plain old revenge is morally wrong. Period. However, our society today is so devoid of moral standards and simple social graces that this type of behavior is not only condoned but encouraged by wrapping itself in the flag of “free speech.” Gimme a break. I get it that you don’t like Clay – just let it go and move on. You must have other things in your life to obsess on. He’s just not worth it and, frankly, doesn’t deserve it no matter what he’s allegedly done.

     

    The Rabid Claymates

    This group is comprised of the most zealous and, sometimes, overly lustful group of Clay fans in the Clay Nation whose sole purpose in life, it seems, is to promote, protect and endlessly photograph Mr. Aiken. They will join any website to vote for Clay, trash any writer who makes Clay look bad in the press or online and record every nanosecond of his life on and off stage. They probably mean well but their actions are stalker-ish and their devotion is off the charts. The way they attack others, even those who ARE fans, is mean and selfish. Clay appears to “egg them on” and that only makes matters worse. If they were in the Star Trek universe they would be known as the BORG.

     

    My question is:

    Who appointed them Clay’s collective Mommy?

     

    May I be frank here? These women are NUTS! I can’t wrap my mind around the way these women think and I have been a devoted fan of one Mister Barry Manilow for thirty two years and have NEVER behaved the way these gals do. Most of them are old enough to be Clay’s mother (eeewww) and the others don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of ever getting any real time with him. To help prove my point, check out this article that came across my path recently:

     

    Published: Thursday, August 2, 2007 Nashua Telegraph (NH)

    Fans protective of star

    I’m a Clay Aiken fan. But I know now, I’m by far not the biggest Clay Aiken fan.

     

    My sister, three friends and I bought our tickets for the Clay Aiken concert in Meadowbrook months before we learned the Nashua Symphony Orchestra was playing with him. But when I found out the NSO was playing, I thought it would be a great idea to tell our readers about our hometown symphony playing with a world-famous pop star. OK, that’s half the truth. I was hoping that doing the story would also lead me to meet Clay. Yes, Clay face time. That’s what I was hoping for, and I was so close.

     

    Alas! It was not to be. For a series of reasons that are way too pedestrian to list, I not only didn’t get to meet Clay, I didn’t even get to see the orchestra rehearse. What I did get was permission to take photographs at the foot of the stage for the first two songs of the concerts.

     

    It wasn’t face time, but I would get to take a few photos for the newspaper, as well as have six minutes to get an upfront and underneath view of Clay’s remarkably long and remarkably blond eyelashes.

     

    I, along with real photographers with real cameras, positioned ourselves in front of the stage and readied ourselves for Clay’s and, of course, the Nashua Symphony Orchestra’s appearance.

     

    Meadowbrook’s videographer warned me that when the music started, the fans in the front row would do their best to get us to sit down. I was prepared for some snaky remarks. But I was not prepared for the army of gray-haired women who found it their duty to tell me and the others with cameras not once, not twice, but perhaps 20 times that “the flash hurts Clay’s eyes.”

     

    For a second, I thought of asking them how they know this. I’ve been on Claymate sites. I have been to four Clay Aiken concerts. I didn’t know his eyes hurt. But these women who looked like maniacal grandmothers (I swear one of them had a rolling pin in her hand) fancied themselves Clay’s personal protectors.

     

    Far be it from me to hurt Clayton’s baby blues. I turned off my flash but somehow that didn’t assuage these women, who admonished, “That’s quite enough” after we took three photographs.

     

    The concert was great. The orchestra was great. But I was so freaked out by the Fake Clay Mommies that I didn’t even get time to admire Clay’s eyelashes.

     

    I happened to be at this concert and I know who these women are, too — they are the same ones I spy sitting in the front rows of EVERY concert I have attended for the last 4 years (and that would be NINE total). Not wanting to get into how much money they are wasting spending on attending multiple concerts of the same tour ( I recently counted that one women had video taped 10 of his last 13 shows on this tour alone) or how much “clack” they view on a daily basis, I am ashamed for them that they could treat others they way they treated this fan in the above article. Just today it was brought to my attention that they are now going after a “negative” reviewer whose mother is an active Claymate because he didn’t say what they wanted to hear. I’ll use that article in my final installment but I can tell you that what he wrote had a lot of truth in it (I read the article) and in my experience, Claymates “can’t handle the truth.”

     

    If Clay is who he says he is (and I have no reason yet to believe anything different) then he would not approve or condone this type of treatment, especially when done in his name. But then he’ll make comments about having his Claymates beat up people and I want to shake him because some of these gals actually BELIEVE him and feel justified to go out and “obey” the master. This type of fan is NOT , repeat – NOT helping Clay, except to get him more negative press than he needs. They are terrorizing other fans, causing legitimate writers to either pander to them or use Clay as a whipping boy to get hits and making people in the music business look down on Clay even more. They, as the “haters” they detest, need to be muzzled and their power taken away. In my next installment I will give my opinion on how that could be achieved.

     

    Now, I fully expect to have a target on my back with these two extremes and I guess I’m ready for the fallout. But, remember, it’s MY OPINION and MY BLOG and if you don’t like it, then don’t read it and spread it around. It’s that simple.

     

    Carry on…but be nice about it…

    J

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Ok, I spent all that $$$ last Friday on Manilow tickets but I didn’t think the seats were too grand. So, I went back to the site this past weekend and they had regular FLOOR SEATS with no added extras on sale for $20 more. My concert buddy suggested I contact the fan club and see if I could exchange my seats and they were very happy to oblige.

What does that mean?

I now have two tickets IN THE FREAKIN’ 4TH ROW (they’re not center but who cares – I can see him spit from there!)!!!!!!

This may be the closest I ever get to the MAN and I am one very happy camper! That made my month!

And, thus, I am still certifiably insane…but what a way to go!

Carry on!
J

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…because I just spent TWO HUNDRED & THIRTY hard earned DOLLARS on a BARRY MANILOW ticket for his only New England appearance in September!!!!

In fact, it’s only one of two concerts he’s giving on the east coast this fall and it wasn’t even the MOST expensive ticket!  Those were FOUR HUNDRED AND TEN DOLLARS!

Only for Barry, my friends, because he’s not getting any younger and this might be my last chance to see him live (it’s my ninth, overall).

I wonder if I’ll do this much for Clay or any of the other IDOLS in 30 years or so…

Carry on while I get carried away in a straight jacket…

J

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