Barry Manilow wasn’t sure what he should do about his scheduled concert Wednesday night at Hard Rock Live near Hollywood — just one week after Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and Hard Rock Live had already decided to donate proceeds from Manilow’s ticket sales to the victims and their families of the shootings. But should the concert, itself, go on, Manilow pondered?
Manilow decided it would, of course, go on.
From the stage, about 16 songs into his set, he told his near sold-out audience at Hard Rock Live he wanted to do “the right thing.”
While he said he had considered canceling so soon after the terrible events in Parkland, “I kept thinking what could I do, what should I do? I kept coming back the only thing I know how to do is make music for you,” Manilow said, as fans waved green glow sticks and cheered. “So we decided to do the show in hopes maybe it would make you feel a little better tonight. So before I sing this song I’d like to dedicate it to the victims and to the family members and for all of us who are grieving.”
And with that, the singer-songwriter began to sing his 1980 hit “I Made It Through the Rain,” its intro in a capella and, with a dramatic flourish, the band joined in with a swell of sound and light.
Manilow, 74, has long held a positive relationship with South Florida. On the eve of what he was billing as his One Last Time! Tour in February 2016, before his concert at Sunrise’s BB&T Center, he told The Miami Herald about how his first hit, “Mandy,” broke first in Miami thanks to radio station WHYI Y-100.7 FM in the Christmas season of 1974.
“That song came out of Dade County. I’ll never forget it. Bruce [Sussman, his frequent collaborator] and I were driving in the car and the DJ said, ‘Now, the No. 1 record in Dade County — Barry Manilow’s Mandy.’ Bruce and I nearly drove off the road. It was the first time that that had happened.”
In addition to ticket sales proceeds, Hard Rock Live offered a featured cocktail, Parkland Strong, and donated sales from that drink to the fund, said a Hard Rock spokeswoman.