I am so verclempt! I am home from an amazing concert with the one and only, Miss Barbra Streisand! The evening began when I picked up Barbra’s Number One Fan, Chuck. Chuck lives and breathes for this woman! Rosie O’Donnell’s obsession for BarbraÂ isÂ not even close to to this man’s! I really fed off his energy.Â I haven’t been this excited at going to a concert in years! I had buttahflies in my stomach!
I was so excited when I got to my seat. I was in the fourth row, right on the end of the aisle, Â with a wonderful view.Â I was seated next to a wonderful girl who is just starting out in the theatre profession, so we hit it off immediately. She was aÂ joy to sit next to, and her enthusiasm was infectious throughout the evening. IÂ scoped out celebrities before the show.Â I saw Natalie Jacobson (A local Boston newscaster), Mayor of Boston…Tom Menino, and Senator John Kerry seated himself just as the lights dimmed.
When the overture was finished, Barbara popped up on the stage from an elevator from below, and the crowd… and I, went wild! She looked great! Older and heavierÂ than when I saw her 12 years ago at Madison Square Garden, but wonderful! She started the evening with the Maltby/Shire tune, Starting Here, Starting Now. The first thing I noticed was that she sounded a little hoarse. I hoped that all she needed was a little warming up. The next songs were Down with Love, The Way We Were, and Come Rain or Come Shine. Each was wonderful, but I felt she was holding back a bit, and the slight hoarseness continued. It became clear to me that either she has a cold, or her voice has weakened with age. I have a feeling it is the former, since she still sounds phenomenal on recordings. Don’t get me wrong, her voice was amazing! It just did not seem to have the power, or range that I remember. Next we were treated to Barbra’s first song that she wrote, Ma Premiere Chanson. She began the song by playing the melody on the piano, and then stood up and sang the lyrics. I really liked it much better than the next song she sang…Evergreen. I am just tired of hearing it and any song from her version of A Star is Born just makes me cringe. It is my least favorite of all her movies. To make my discomfort worse, Il Divo came out and joined her for Evergreen. Why do I want to hear anyone else other than Barbra? Especially at her ticket prices! Their style of pop opera is franklyÂ quite boring.Â I suppose they are quite something to look at if you are a 15 year old teenage girl, but they did nothing for me. They have nice voices, but are nothing special. If you have any 4 men singing together well, you have a nice sound, and that is where their strength lies.Â At the end of their set, Il Divo sings a song that they dedicate to Barbara Streisand…Frank Sinatra’s My Way. My Way? I must have missed something. What the hell does thatÂ song have to do with Barbra Streisand?Â Dumb song and set up if you ask me. Again, I say, Il Divo…nothing special. It was during the Il Divo set that I switched seats with Chuck so he could have a better view for the rest of the act.Â His seatÂ was further away and I wanted him to be up close to his idol for a few songs when Babs came back after El Bore-o!
Barbra returned and joined the boys for Music of the Night and then ended the first act with songs from Funny Girl: Funny Girl, The Music That Makes Me Dance, My Man and People. It was then time for intermission and an overpriced pretzel and a Diet Pepsi.
Act II began with When the Sun Comes Out( a personal favorite of mine), followed by You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught/Children Will Listen, Unusual Way, and What are You Doing the Rest of Your Life? Next up was aÂ segment of audience questions that BarbraÂ read from cards (I never saw where toÂ get them to write a question)Â followed by a skit with George Bush impersonator, Steve Bridges. He was very good, but the skit goes on a little long for my taste and frankly, not that funny. I wasn’t offended, but it was just a dumb distraction from why the audience was there. Barbra. She gave a shoutout to John Kerry and gave us a beautiful rendition of Happy Days are Here Again. This was followed by intimate renditions of Have I Stayed Too Long At The Fair and South Pacific‘s, A Cockeyed Optimist.
One thing that I found quite interesting was that Barbara uses a giant teleprompter that is hanging from the ceiling. 99.9 percent of all her stage talk is also written on the teleprompter. I get the feeling Barbara does not feel very comfortable with any spontaneity, but I have always felt that about her. She does bring the words to life showing what a true actress she really is, but as I said, it was interesting to note.
El-Snore-O joined her again for Somewhere from West Side Story. They overpowered her here, and I really wished they stayed in their dressing room!
Barbra sang My Shining Hour and I became anxious as I knew this magical night was quickly coming to an end. For an encore we were treated to Don’t Rain on My Parade and the crowd was on their feet for the whole song! She said goodnight, but the crowd was screaming for more!
I had read that in each of the previous cities of the tour, Barbra returned for a final encore with the song, Smile. The house lights came up, but the thunderous ovation kept on. It seemed like ages, but no Barbra. It became obvious that the show was over. I couldn’t believe that she didn’t come back out. I must say, I was disappointed. Smile, is one of my all-time favorite songs. Perhaps her voice wasn’t up to it, but I just couldn’t believe that she wouldn’t at least come out one more time due to the deafening andÂ long ovation. We would have been happy if she just stood there one more time. In the thousands of performances I have seen, IÂ can’t imagineÂ a cast or performer not responding to an ovation of this magnitude. I really believe she should have come back out and at least have taken another bow.Â But, I must admit, I am not completely surprised. I think Barbara Streisand is one of the greatest performers alive today. But I think her relationship with her audience is different than many performers. I think many artists are motivated, more than anything, to please their audiences. I think Barbra Streisand is motivated, more than anything, to please herself. Her approach is probably more psychologically healthy, but IÂ have never felt theÂ same connection with her as I have with other performers. I do believe however, that I just experienced a truly magical night that I will always treasure!
Thank you Barbra Streisand!Â