Barry Manilow has been singing about writing the songs that make the whole world sing for decades. He performed most of them “One Last Time!” at Scottrade Center Thursday night.
You can believe it was for one last time if you want to, but you know how these things can go.
And putting that exclamation point behind the tour title doesn’t give the proceedings any added finality. There was little that transpired over the 90-minute concert that made fans think it was really the last time they’d be seeing the 72-year-old Manilow — apart from thanking fans for coming to see him all these years.
The evening was essentially another Manilow show, not much unlike others before it, for better or worse.
Less glitzy and showy than some might have wanted, the crooner was a class act and consummate showman in a tuxedo and tails.
He opened with the first of many favorites, “It’s a Miracle,” after which he said, “Allow me to introduce myself; I’m Barry Manilow.”
Boasting a strong voice and relaxed movements as he sauntered between piano, keyboards and a center stage microphone, he followed with songs such as “Daybreak,” “Somewhere in the Night,” “Can’t Smile Without You,” “Looks Like We Made It,” and “Could It Be Magic,” his first go at the piano. He pulled a fan from the front row to dance during the latter song.
Sticking to formula, Manilow delivered the tunes as they were recorded, which is most likely exactly the way fans wanted it.
Support act Dave Koz, a jazz-funk saxophonist, joined him for “Brooklyn Blues.”
After intense response to the ballad “Even Now,” Manilow swore he was the Justin Bieber of the ’70s. “Ask your mother.”
He talked up his Manilow Music Project, which provides instruments to students, and said he donated a piano locally. (Free tickets to his show were given to those who had donated.)
Promoting his Grammy-nominated 2014 album “My Dream Duets,” which pairs him posthumously with folks like Judy Garland, Louis Armstrong, Mama Cass and Whitney Houston (he jokingly called it “Dead Duets”), he sang a duet with vintage footage of Garland on “Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart.” He said he lost the Grammy to Tony Bennett earlier this year, as usual, since Bennett wins everything including the Miss America Pageant.
A 1975 clip of Clive Davis introducing Manilow’s TV performance of “Mandy” on “The Midnight Special” was a nice moment where he sang with his younger self.
An extended medley included “The Old Songs,” “Bandstand Boogie,” “Jump Shout Boogie,” “This One’s for You” and much more. “I Write the Songs” featured a performance by the St. Louis Chamber Chorus, which sounded fabulous with Manilow. The chorus stuck around for the always-fun “Copacabana (at the Copa),” complete with a mirror ball overhead.
While still in that party spirit, he offered a reprise of “It’s a Miracle,” capped by a blast of colorful streams of confetti.
Opening act Koz, celebrating 25 years since the release of his first album, played a fast-moving set that was as harmless as it was hokey. He boasted a playful, in-your-face playing style and low-key choreography.
“I know you’re saying to yourself, ‘Who is this guy, and where’s Barry?’” Koz joked, though it was questionable why he played down his veteran status for mild humor.
He largely stuck to cover songs including “Let It Go,” the blockbuster song from “Frozen,” which he said his nieces persuaded him to record.
In a nod to classic bands with horn sections, he performed Earth, Wind and Fire’s version of the Beatles’ “Got to Get You Into My Life.” And he kept the classics going with a medley of songs he grew up with, including Earth Wind and Fire’s “Getaway,” Rick James’ “Give It To Me Baby” and KC and the Sunshine Band’s “That’s the Way (I Like It),” which included some vocals from Koz.