Barry Manilow is starting a run of shows September 21 as part of his Las Vegas residency. By the time he’s finished, he will have broken Elvis Presley‘s record for most performances at the venue.
The late King of Rock ‘n’ Roll did 636 performances at the Las Vegas Hilton between 1969 and 1976. Manilow’s residency is in the same theater, though the property is now called the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. He says things have changed since Elvis’ time, when it was considered deeply uncool to perform in Vegas.
“It was known as … ‘cheeseball’ … ‘old-fashioned,'” he tells ABC Audio, but not anymore.
“You take a look at these casinos and you can take a look at the billboards, these are young people that are playing Vegas. These are big acts!” he says.
“I’ve been playing there off and on since the ’80s. It would be one stop on a tour,” notes Manilow. “But this is a … bona fide residency, and I just love it. I love the audiences. I love this place. The Westgate is the perfect size for what I do.”
For the 80-year-old entertainer, the gig means he can play live for fans without being on the road.
“I can stay home for most of the week. And then I go and I do the weekends there and I keep the band working and I keep the crew working … it’s the perfect answer,” he says. “And … yes, we are ‘in residency’ — and we’re not kidding.”
“A lot of people say, ‘We’re in residency’ … they do two weekends and they never come back,” he laughs. “I definitely am there!”
Proceeds from this record-breaking weekend of shows will benefit six different charities, including Musicians on Call and Barry’s own Manilow Music Project.
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