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Manilow, YSO make magic for Covelli crowd

Published: Sun, August 28, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

By robert Guttersohn



The lights at the Covelli Centre lowered, leaving as the venue’s only light source the green glow sticks held by the sold-out crowd of 5,900.

But soon the stage looked like the Las Vegas strip with its mix of bright lights and revealed Barry Manilow center stage Saturday night with the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra.

“A true blue spectacle,” he sang in the opening song “It’s a Miracle.”

Referencing his tour with YSO to the Covelli Centre crowd, Manilow said, “They are fantastic. They represented you so beautifully. So, I kind of feel like I know all of you already.”

But the spectacle surrounding the concert began much earlier in the restaurants and caf s downtown. Groups of women and wives dragging their husbands from as far as Cleveland and as close as Struthers created a multiplier effect for local businesses.

At Cassese’s MVR Restaurant, it was one of the rare nights they had to turn away call-aheads at the restaurant.

“It’s been a great night,” said Joe Cassese, the restaurant’s manager. “The crowd here is fantastic. We’ve had people from Cleveland and Pittsburgh staying in hotels and calling about coming for drinks after the concert.”

At Caf Cimmento there was a Struthers High School reunion of sorts that took place around the tables outside the restaurant.

Karen Minotti, Laura Kramer, Mary Bicchiottino and Charlene Carabbia, all 1976 graduates of the school, yelled out “Mandy” when asked about their favorite Manilow song. Only Minotti’s younger cousin Laura Schaller disagreed, saying she would wait for “Copacabana” before she started dancing.

Despite being a lifetime fan, Saturday night’s show was Minotti’s first time seeing Manilow in concert. She said she had tickets to see him 10 years ago, but the show was canceled after his mother died.

“I thought I’d have to see him in Vegas until they announced he was playing here,” she said.

Her three sons pooled together money to buy her tickets as soon as they went on sale in June.

Cars jammed Front Street by 6 p.m., and fans poured into the Covelli Centre’s open plaza well before the doors opened.

He may no longer draw the fans with the long, brown hair he sported when his first album hit the shelves in 1974, but concert-goers said he still has a stage presence that surpasses most others.

“You feel like you are watching a Broadway show,” said Elaine Matz of Ashland while sitting with friend Vicki Stull from Wooster.

They have seen Manilow perform 15 times including one of his shows in Las Vegas.

Don Tice, who saw Manilow for the first time with his wife, Rosemary, at Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena, could not help but be engrossed with his showmanship.

While the couple of 52 years waited for the show to begin, Don Tice said Manilow told the Cleveland audience, “Husbands, I know you’re upset that your wives brought you here, but in the morning you’ll be happy,’” Don Tice said. “And I was. He is just phenomenal.”

Inside, some members of the crowd grew antsy at the show’s slight delay, but after the YSO shuffled to their seats and once Manilow appeared on stage, all seemed forgiven.


1oldone(12 comments)posted 4 years ago

He is a true showman, and the Symphony was great, and made Youngstown proud.

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2IcemanTheSequel(2 comments)posted 4 years ago

Eric Ryan did it again. He brought another top-tier musician to the Covelli Center and Youngstown. Barry Manilow was in his usual great form Saturday night. HIs voice was strong, his set and set list were near-perfect and the YSO was great. All in all just a wonderful evening of great music and narration. Wasn't sure what the boo-ing was about when Barry mentioned he had played in Pittsburgh not too long ago, but other than that, just a tremendous show. Good mature audience, too.

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3Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years ago

lovethiscity is always itchin to stir something up . So what is upsetting you now ?

Keep right on rolling in the money at the Covelli Centre . If these high draw shows are done on a regular basis then investments in downtown Youngstown can indeed bring a decent return .

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4csky(10 comments)posted 4 years ago

And Bertram de Souza still thinks the Covelli Center is a bad idea. Remember this when you read his other columns.

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5Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 4 years ago

Great show and had a good time
Thank You

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6MLC75(630 comments)posted 4 years ago

It was a great show,I bought tickets for my wife,who is a big fan.I was surprised how good Barry Manilow was,since I never followed him,I'm glad that I went.He is a first class performer.

@Icemanthe sequal,it wasn't Barry who said that he played in Pittsburgh not to long ago,it was his opening act,Brain Culberston.Think real hard why people were boo-ing when he made that comment,it would have been the same if he said that he played in Cleveland.Cleveland vs Pittsburgh.

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7grand4dad(209 comments)posted 4 years ago


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8lefty83(313 comments)posted 4 years ago

Stan, glad to see you got a good nights sleep.Glad to see you folks had a great time.

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9paulydel(1475 comments)posted 4 years ago

When you bring in a good venue it will most always pay off. I used to like going to the Kenley Players Summer Stock Theature which was almost always sold out. They always had great stars there. I say good for Youngstown.

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10snowbelt(1 comment)posted 4 years ago

I have been to 31 Manilow concerts through the years. I must say, having never been to Covelli Centre, how pleasant this entire evening was. The facility is very nice, the show spectacular as always, the personnel so friendly. Thanks to the Police Officers outside being so helpful and courteous. Thanks Youngstown for making a Saturday Night so pleasant. Mike from Ashtabula

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11kathrex1(1 comment)posted 4 years ago

This was a WONDERFUL show! We had 10th row, middle seats & they were perfect. Although, I don't think that the Covelli Center has any "bad" seats!
Not only did Barry put on one heck of a show, but the Youngstown Symphony made me proud!! I must not forget the choir on the last piece! Where were they from? They were great!
I agree with the 1 comment about this article. Why so much on the restaurants!! Could Guttersohn find nothing better to say about the show? What about the youths who sang at during the last song? From the pictures, he was right behind us. I don't know/understand how he couldn't have found much more to write about!!!
Thank you Barry for the wonderful show & a most enjoyable evening!

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12msweetwood(174 comments)posted 4 years ago

Please be kind to Robert Guttersohn. He did a fine job under our deadline structure.

Saturday night features the earliest deadlines of our work week. Given those deadlines, there is no way for a reporter or photographer to enjoy every moment of a Barry Manilow or a Elton John show and get the story in on time. Plus, an important aspect of the story is the impact such shows have on downtown Youngstown. So, as we have done for Elton, Motley Crue, et al, we set out early to talk to the fans enjoying the downtown, we catch a few moments of the early part of the shows (in Manilow's case, he hit the stage at about 9 p.m. and ended the show at about 10:50 p.m.) and then we work hard to make deadline so that the paper is delivered on time in the morning.

We also rely on some "magic." For instance, the quote from Manilow in the story discussing the YSO was actually captured by iPhone by Editor Todd Franko, relayed to me, transcribed and sent to the desk for inclusion in the story. Everyone is doing the best that they possibly can to make the story as complete as possible.

None of that, however, should detract from what sounds like, from all accounts, a terrific show. And a follow-up story about the YSO's tour with Manilow is already in the works...


Mark Sweetwood
Managing Editor

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