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Image Entertainment presents
Manilow Live! HD-DVD (2000)

"I couldn't make up my mind as to what songs I want to do, so we're going to do all of them tonight."
- Barry Manilow

Review By: Mark Zimmer  
Published: February 09, 2007

Stars: Barry Manilow
Director: Lawrence Jordan

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild innuendo)
Run Time: 01h:55m:09s
Release Date: December 12, 2006
UPC: 014381380149
Genre: pop

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ A-A-A B

DVD Review

Barry Manilow tends to be a tremendously polarizing figure in music; he has utterly rabid fans, and utterly rabid detractors. It sometimes seems as if there is little middle ground regarding the pop music icon, who generated dozens of hits some consider saccharine.

But even those who don't think much of Manilow or his music usually concede one point: he loves to put on a show. A consummate entertainer, Manilow throws everything into songs that he has performed every day for 30 years, and he loves interacting with his audience. That symbiotic relationship is amply demonstrated in this recording of a 2000 concert in Nashville, which includes much of the Manilow catalog of hits as well as a few lesser-known songs.

His enthusiasm is stoked by the almost cultlike devotion of his fans, who sport Let's Make a Deal-style signs to catch the singer's attention and possibly get that coveted spot duetting with him on Can't Smile Without You. He's both bemused at their antics, but quite obviously truly loves them back. This affection in turn fuels his performance that keeps even familiar old chestnuts sounding lively.

Touring with a full orchestra rather than synthesizers, the concert is quite a production. It's very attractively shot, making good use of colored lights for mood (captured nicely by the HD video). Manilow has a good deal of fun with the format, at one point pulling out his childhood accordion and playing while he chats with the audience, and at another playing Flight of the Bumblebee on the kazoo. While 1970s music stars often have no range left, Manilow still has most of his intact. Every now and then he slips into a mild falsetto to cover, but the crowd doesn't mind one bit. The song selection covers all of his major songs, as well as selections of covers of Sinatra tunes (since he had then recently released a CD of such covers), as well as two numbers from his ill-fated musical, Harmony. Even if you're a confirmed Manilow-hater, the enthusiasm on display here is infectious and enjoyable. And if you're a fan, well, you don't need me to tell you that this disc is a must-have.


Could It Be Magic?
Somewhere in the Night
Tryin' to Get the Feeling
Can't Smile Without You
Bandstand Boogie
Even Now
Flight of the Bumblebee
All the Time
New York City Rhythm
Every Single Day
I Am Your Child
This One's for You
Sinatra Overture
Chicago (My Kind of Town)
That's Life
When October Goes
Weekend in New England
I Made It Through the Rain
One Voice/I Write the Songs
Stars in the Night

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The program was shot on HD video, and as a result it comes to HD DVD with plenty of sparkling detail and dazzling colors. Texture is very nice, as are black levels. Few stage shows on DVD look anywhere near this good. The shots of the audience in particular have a startling clarity and crispness. There were only two shortcoming I observed: mild aliasing was occasionally visible on violin strings, and the head of the microphone sometimes suffers from modest moiré effect. But on the whole this looks marvelous.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: Both DD+ 4.0 and TrueHD 4.0 tracks are included, but they're quite different in character. The much louder DD+ track is mixed to place you right in the screaming crowd, helping get a sense of the electricity in the fan base. Or if you'd prefer the music itself with less emphasis on the crowd, the TrueHD track has a much cleaner and quieter rendition of the audio that is gently textured and has excellent range. I preferred the TrueHD track myself, but they're both worth checking out.

Audio Transfer Grade: A


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Music/Song Access with 24 cues and remote access
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Barry Manilow
Packaging: Elite
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: The sole extra is a commentary from Manilow himself. It's quite spotty, with long silent spots, but he has a number of interesting observations about the tour, his songs and his career. One does wish that he had had an interviewer to keep him going, though.

Extras Grade: B


Final Comments

Even though I'm no Manilow fan, the concert is infectious fun, and the transfer is excellent overall. Recommended.


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