12:27pm Sunday 25th May 2014
By Lorelei Reddin
Crooner Barry Manilow kept his fans waiting for more than an hour last night before finally making it through the rain to take to the stage.
Entertainments editor Lorelei Reddin was in the crowd - here is her review:
Barry Manilow wasn't keen on making an appearance during the downpours and left his soggy fans waiting for his arrival at the home of Hampshire cricket.
Some booed as they were told to take shelter to await the legendary singer songwriter's arrival, an hour and a half after the departure of his supposed warm up act.
And when he finally burst onto stage, an hour later than originally planned at just after 9pm, he couldn't resist a cheeky performance of his aptly titled 1980 hit I Made It Through The Rain as the concert's opening number.
What had at first threatened to be somewhat of a washout soon picked up as the torrential rain eased and the crooner performed classics including Could It Be Magic and Looks Like We Made It.
Fans brave the rain at the Ageas Bowl.
Stewards handed out glow sticks and many rushed onto the pitch for a better view as the sun went down over the Ageas Bowl to the sounds of Memories from the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats.
Manilow was sporting a truly dazzling jacket, but his voice has lost some of its sparkle. He still knows how to get a crowd going though and they were happy to help him out with a joyous singalong version of Can't Smile Without You.
His obsession with the British weather continued throughout the show, which was just short of an hour and a half, as he complained of the cold, swopped his sparkly attire for a coat, scarf and gloves and launched into Santa Claus is Coming To Town, because it felt like December.
The audience enjoyed a great range of numbers from ballads to upbeat tracks and a host of covers, many of them from his own pen.
Highlights included Manilow throwing one of his backing singers around to Boogie Wonderland and Hot Stuff, dancing on the piano to Signed Sealed Delivered and the crowd-pleaser I Love You Baby, as well as his biggest hits Mandy and Copacabana to end the show.
Organisers will be frustrated at the poor turnout of well under 10,000 - and many of them on a cut price Groupon deal - but Barry Manilow's decades spanning repertoire meant few went away disappointed, even if they were a little wet.
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