Barbra: The Music, The Mem’ries, The Magic
Brooklyn, New York
August 11, 2016
- Overture/Video Package
- The Way We Were
- Being at War with Each Other
- Everything Must Change
- Woman in Love
- Stoney End
- Enough is Enough
- You Don't Bring Me Flowers
- Being Alive
- Children Will Listen
- Papa, Can You Hear Me?
Intermission: Lior Suchard (Master Mentalist works his amazing mind tricks on the audience)
- Pure Imagination
- Encore Video Package
- Who Can I Turn To? (with Anthony Newley)
- Losing My Mind
- Loving You (with Patrick Wilson)
- Isn't This Better?
- How Lucky Can You Get?
- Don't Rain On My Parade
- Climb Every Mountain (with Jamie Foxx)
- Happy Days Are Here Again
- I Didn't Know What Time It Was
Intermission videos: Fight the LadyKiller video; Butterfly album commercial; My Name is Barbra commercial.
New York Times
Brooklyn, Can You Hear Her? Barbra Streisand Still Sounds Amazing.
By WESLEY MORRIS
I know what you’re thinking. So let’s just get it out of the way: Like buttah. Like satin. Like whatever that perfume is that Elizabeth Taylor hawked. Oh, right: White Diamonds. Barbra Streisand sounded like diamonds. And porcelain and a freshly drawn bath and consommé.
The voice is 74. So maybe the carats are fewer, but so what? It remains The Voice. Thursday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, it never asked to be received in pity, graded on a curve or helped across the street. There was some nervousness beforehand that it would be somehow … off.
But no: On, on, on. For example, its owner continues to make the finale of “Don’t Rain on My Parade” sound like a space shuttle leaving Earth, the gravitational force enough to yank what looked like a sold-out crowd to its feet.
That came well into the second act during a “Funny Girl”-“Funny Lady” stretch, in which Ms. Streisand walked us through the films’ plots, while movie clips played on screen behind her. We didn’t need any of that, but it made a kind of sense. This wasn’t a star doing battle with a former self. It was a woman having fun with the past.
Backed by an elastic band and aided by teleprompters, she spent a lot of her more than two hours onstage explaining the stories behind songs and performances and album covers. Her “A Star Is Born” soundtrack — the third-biggest movie of 1976, by the way — has that great image of a shirtless Kris Kristofferson palming the head of a shirtless Ms. Streisand, their mouths almost meeting, their hunger mutual. Staring up at that cover, she said, “If you’re wondering what I was wearing during this shoot, it was musk.”
For well north of two hours, Ms. Streisand was like that: amusing, self-amused, at home. Before her encore, she chided us for keeping us from her dinner: “My pizza’s getting cold!” People would shout compliments or requests, and she’d talk back. Early on, after “Everything,” from “A Star Is Born,” she said, “There’s just one more thing I want” — which turned into an endorsement for Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy. Before doing “Pure Imagination,” Gene Wilder’s song from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” she offered environmental entreaties that made you think she was going to do “Mercy Mercy Me” instead. When it was over, she said, “And that’s why we shouldn’t vote for someone who believes climate change is a hoax,” referring, presumably, to Mrs. Clinton’s opponent, Donald J. Trump.
So the arena became Ms. Streisand’s living room, her audience became guests, and stage patter sometimes took cozy TED Talk turns. Meanwhile, the people in the front rows leapt up so often it was fair to ask whether she was delivering a State of the Union speech too. Ms. Streisand sang about two dozen songs — the ones you’d expect (“People,” “Evergreen,” lots of Stephen Sondheim) and a few, like “Pure Imagination,” which you wouldn’t. That one is on her new duets record, “Encore,” which comes out later this month and has her singing with stars from Melissa McCarthy and Anne Hathaway to Antonio Banderas and Chris Pine. (Her partner on “Pure Imagination” is Seth MacFarlane.)
Ms. Streisand introduced a little highlight reel from those recording sessions and eventually unveiled the actor Patrick Wilson to accompany her on “Loving You” from Mr. Sondheim’s “Passion,” a number that required some acting from Mr. Wilson. He had to play both an ambivalent lover and a man who made perfect sense belting opposite Ms. Streisand. Mission accomplished. Whatever awe he had, he kept tucked away along with the tie he didn’t wear with his black suit.
Jamie Foxx arrived a few songs later, all awe. The crowd went cuckoo for him, and he went cuckoo for her, partly while impersonating Quincy Jones paying Ms. Streisand’s derrière a hilarious compliment. They sang “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” in a way that was more muscular than beautiful, their clasped hands making a better connection than their voices. The climb has rarely sounded so literal. But when they got to the top, the audience got up to cheer for them.
So what was this show? I mean, besides a pleasure to behold. Officially, it’s part of a nine-city tour with a mouthful of a title, “Barbra: The Music… the Mem’ries… the Magic!,” that salutes six decades of albums. (“Encore” is her 35th studio record.) So in many ways this is a celebration of endurance, as opposed to a night of camp or even campiness. You need an “I’m Still Here” or “Have I Stayed Too Long at the Fair” for that, songs that would have been the equivalent of that thing Hulk Hogan would do where he’d put his hand to his ear so we would cheer louder to amplify his triumph. Have I stayed too long? No, Barbra. Absolutely not! She really is too dignified to beg.
As it was, she included “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough),” the torch song she sang with Donna Summer, which costume-changes into a disco anthem. That came last in a medley that included “Stoney End” and “Woman in Love,” and Ms. Streisand mostly vamped while her three very good backup vocalists did their thing at her side.
Ms. Streisand has had a career like nobody else’s. She remains this emblem of volition and charisma and power — the movie star who sings, the singer who acts, the female director who was made to suffer for daring to do what men had always done. She could have spent the night doing nothing but self-consecrating, and no one would have minded. But it’s funny: You don’t go to a Streisand show purely for nostalgia, purely for “The Way We Were,” as much as to witness a great performer in her current formidable state. Nostalgia has always been built into her catalog. But can she make the distant past vital again? She tried to connect before to now. Her antidote to Mr. Trump, for instance, was “People.” Which is to say that it’s not an artistically ambitious show. Its star, alas, is set in her ways. But those ways are what some people expect to see.
We are at a new place with superstardom and age, though. Certain women of the pre-music-video era can now seemingly go on forever. Their fame, in part, resides with an instrument that’s been kept in astounding shape. Some of the nation is still recovering from Aretha Franklin’s shedding a fur coat and bringing down the house in January at the Kennedy Center Honors. She and Ms. Streisand were born a month apart, and this sort of sustained virtuosity feels special among singers of their stature. Neither is the master of phrasing she once was. But what they now lack in contour (Ms. Streisand has even acquired a touch of Ms. Franklin’s rasp), they make up for in dynamism. These two very different women are still giving everything they’ve got. And that’s enough.
We came to Barclays to hear amazement as opposed to see a spectacle. Although the sight of Ms. Streisand singing “Papa, Can You Hear Me” from “Yentl” while appearing to catch the holy spirit, before the end of the first act, was quite something. The power she summoned pimpled the skin and dampened the eyes. I don’t know if Papa could hear this woman, but certainly heaven could.
Barbra Streisand at the Barclays Center
BY JAY LUSTIG
At the start of her show Thursday night at the Barclays Center, Barbra Streisand hummed a few bars of the nostalgic “The Way We Were” and declared, “This is what the evening is all about.” After singing the first verse, she hammered home the point by adding, “Think of your memories, too.”
That was not hard to do. Streisand, 74, still sings with the same rich tone and underlying fire she always has had, and seemed genuinely enthused to be performing. “Wow, you’re a good group,” she gushed after one of the evening’s many standing ovations.
It would have been easy to close your eyes and imagine it was the ’60s or the ’70s or the ’80s again in the first of the two shows Streisand will present this week in the borough where she grew up (the second takes place on Saturday). But she wasn’t just thinking about her past. She has a new album coming out on Aug. 26: It’s titled “Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway,” and it features duets by her and various actors, including Alec Baldwin, Melissa McCarthy, Antonio Banderas and Anne Hathaway. And she invited two of her partners to sing with her in Brooklyn.
Halfway through the show’s second set, Patrick Wilson, who lives in Montclair, joined her for an ardent version of “Loving You,” from the Stephen Sondheim musical “Passion.” “Is that a voice!” she exclaimed.
A few songs later, it was Jamie Foxx’s turn, on an equally rousing “Climb Ev’ry Mountain.” “I cannot say how incredible this moment is, for me to be onstage with you,” said Foxx, who also reminisced about singing Streisand songs as a boy, and treated the crowd to a bit of “The Way We Were” in falsetto.
A third song from the album – “Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me),” a virtual duet with Anthony Newley, who died in 1999 – was performed in Brooklyn, too, with Newley appearing via vintage film footage. A fourth, “Pure Imagination,” was performed solo in Brooklyn, though it’s a duet with Seth MacFarlane on the album; Streisand introduced it with a talk about global warming and showed wildlife and nature footage during it, in an attempt to make it something – an environmental anthem – it’s really not.
The concert – part of a nine-city, 11-concert tour titled “Barbra: The Music, The Mem’ries, The Magic” — features lots of old photos and video clips, and didn’t stint on greatest hits, including “Evergreen,” “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,” “People” and a show-stopping “Don’t Rain on My Parade.” But there were other surprises, too, including “Isn’t This Better” from “Funny Lady”; Streisand said she had forgotten about it until she heard Liza Minnelli sing it a few years ago.
Streisand plugged Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign several times, and quoted her line about glass ceilings from her speech at the recent Democratic National Convention: “When there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit.” She also got a dig in at Clinton’s opponent, saying that while humans of all ethnicities are 99.9 percent the same, genetically, “The other .1 percent is Donald Trump.”
Before her single encore, “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was” (a bonus track on the upcoming “Encore” albums), she closed the show’s second set with a slow, soulful version of “Happy Days Are Here Again,” introducing it by saying that she had sung it for Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Clinton, and that she hopes to sing it for the next President Clinton, too.
While there was no opening act, Streisand’s second set began a routine by mentalist Lior Suchard, who was certainly funny and did some amazing tricks, but slowed down the show’s momentum. Unless Streisand needed the time to rest her voice or something like that, I don’t see that anything was gained by having him perform then instead of when most openers appear: the show’s actual opening.
Barbra Streisand delivers hit parade at Barclays Center
By Glenn Gamboa
When Barbra Streisand stepped onto the Barclays Center stage and almost immediately began belting out “The Way We Were,” it was clear we were in for a daring show.
Starting with a beloved showstopper is like throwing down the music gauntlet, promising that what is in store will surpass previous tours. And somehow Streisand delivered.
“This is what the evening is all about,” as she launched into the classic, before adding, “Think of your memories too.”
The limited nine-city “Barbra: The Music . . . The Mem’ries . . . The Magic!” tour, which also includes another Barclays Center show Saturday, is in some ways a preview of her upcoming album “Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway” out on Aug. 26, which includes duets with Hugh Jackman, Alec Baldwin, Melissa McCarthy and others. But it’s also a way for her to once again put her imprint on today’s culture.
To accompany a strident version of “Being At War With Each Other,” Streisand used a video filled with poignant moments in world history, including a fight for civil rights that ran from Selma to LGBT equality to the current protests against police shootings of unarmed minorities.
This time, it was more of a well composed walk down memory lane, as the Erasmus High School graduate welcomed friends like Patrick Wilson and a stunning Jamie Foxx onto her elegantly minimalist stage adorned with floral centerpieces and leather banquettes. The floor seats were packed with A-list stars as well, including Sarah Jessica Parker with Bravo’s Andy Cohen, CBS’ Gayle King, and music royalty like Clive Davis.
She is the only artist to land No. 1 albums in each of the past six decades and she celebrated that feat by performing a song from each of the chart-toppers, showing how well she has navigated the worlds of pop, Broadway and even disco.
At 74, Streisand doesn’t trade in many shock-and-awe vocal moments any more. Instead, she goes for warmer, more subtle examples of vocal mastery.
Her dramatic version of “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” showed a bit more grit than it has in the past, balanced with the lush arrangement from her 12-piece band.
One thing that hasn’t changed of course are Streisand’s political leanings. Earlier Thursday, Hillary Clinton’s campaign announced a fundraiser featuring Streisand at Cipriani Wall Street on Sept. 9, where tickets start at $1,200 and run up to $250,000. And Streisand tacked on a shout-out for the presidential candidate at the end of a lovely version of “Everything.” “I want One more thing: I want Hillary to become president,” she said. “Is that too much to ask?”
Nearly every song in her set included a story or an explanation, perhaps inspired by her work on her upcoming autobiography.
Streisand seems more comfortable performing in concert again, seemingly putting the once-regular promises of farewell tours behind her. It allows her to make promises of even bolder moves, as she did Thursday night.
Barbra Streisand review – a legend's triumphant Brooklyn homecoming
by Jim Farber (4-star review)
Barbra Streisand stands as the only star to land No 1 albums in every one of the last six decades – a fact she made sure to point out near the start of her latest tour, which came to her home borough of Brooklyn on Thursday.
Even so, she added, many people still can’t accurately pronounce her name. “It’s Strei-sand - soft like sand,” the star schooled us from stage of the Barclays Center. “You’d think after 50 years, people would pronounce it correctly.”
It was a deeply Strei-sand-ian moment, a sly rebuke that underscored the singer’s enduring view of herself as a misunderstood outsider, despite more than half a century of acclaim. While that attitude could seem off-putting, it has bonded Streisand to her fans with uncommon depth. She’s their ideal underdog, someone to herald specifically for having beaten the system with an uncompromising style and an unconventional character. The importance of Streisand as a symbol of staying power, tenacity and rebellion makes crucial the structure of her latest show. Like its recent predecessors, this two-act, 120-minute event involves nearly as much kibitzing, pontificating and icon-buffing as actual singing. As always, Streisand’s persona shares the stage with her art, with each positioned to burnish the other.
It’s been four years since the star last launched a tour, a rhythm maybe-not-so-coincidentally timed with the presidential election cycle. The result gave her a nice excuse to offer a fish-in-a-barrel shot at guess which candidate. After noting, during an intro to People, that the genetic make up of everyone on the planet is 99% identical, she added “the other 1% is Donald Trump.”
Streisand also had a lot to say about climate change, war, Hillary Clinton (whom she adores) and feminism. That last bit offered more chances for the star to highlight her underdog status. More crucially, these segments provided resting time for her voice, whose condition must be measured, and amended, with each tour. (Her latest tour represents Streisand’s fifth since she returned to the stage in 1994 after a three decade hiatus). Now 74, the singer can’t be fairly compared with her herculean, younger self, or even to the surprisingly undiminished one from a decade ago. Yet, in some measure she has to be. On Streisand’s previous tour, in 2012, a new huskiness crept into her voice, dimming some of the glisten in her tone, while shedding gradations of her once unending wind power. In addition, more of the old high notes had to be re-routed.
Even with those qualifications, Streisand remains a rich and powerful singer. Song after song in Brooklyn showed her vibrato to be as resonant as ever, her phrasing as smart, and her essential timbre as deep in character. Her limits, such as they are, have redoubled her focus as an actress, allowing her to inhabit the characters in some songs more fully than ever. Chunks of the set emphasized that. Key segments came from her latest album, Encore, which features songs from Broadway, sung in duets with movie stars.
Two guests from the album showed up. Patrick Wilson abetted her ably in Loving You, a song plucked from Stephen Sondheim’s Passion. Later, Jamie Foxx joined her for Climb Ev’ry Mountain, adding a soulful twist to the classic melody while still matching the star at the song’s bravura peaks. For a modern turn, she performed one duet with the departed. Streisand traded verses with the late Anthony Newley, via a video of his original take on Who Can I Turn To. His florid vibrato made a fine mate for Streisand’s most fluttering tones.
The star offered a clutch of other Sondheim songs, including Children Will Listen (from Into the Woods) and Being Alive (from Company). But a stronger motif had to do with the decade that dominated the song selection. Six of the first eight songs came from the 70s, many of which she has never performed before this tour. Dedicated fans had to be thrilled by the inclusion of Carole King’s Being at War With Each Other and Everything (from the A Star is Born soundtrack). Later, Streisand offered two pieces from her 1975 film Funny Lady, including Isn’t This Better, about a love of resignation, and How Lucky Can You Get? Since Streisand didn’t tour between the 60s and 1994, the current show might be seen as the 70s performance she never gave. Mirroring that decade’s emphasis on pop over standards, the show featured a smaller backup band than usual – just 11 musicians rather than her more common orchestral support.
The night also featured a psychic who, for 10 unfathomable minutes, read the minds of a crowd that clearly were clearly thinking one thing – love for their hero. Streisand herself wasn’t always so dewey-eyed. She aired out several old battles with her record company. They tried to nix her cover idea for the People album, where she famously turned her back to the camera. The cover went on to win a Grammy. The company also airbrushed out the bump, and tightened the width, of her nose on the cover of The Way We Were, which irked her. “Me and that bump have been through a lot together,” she said.
Despite the speeches and schtick, Streisand seemed to sing more often than usual. Along the way, she proved she can still belt when she needs to. But her greatest moment came during a quieter section, when she brought her full acting skills to bear. Her take on Sondheim’s Losing My Mind could double as a master class in character singing. Streisand moved through the song slowly, ruminating on the longing in the lyrics with notes that captured exasperation, pity, obsession and, likely, more understanding of a ruined love than any singer who has ever sung that song before.
Jump Menu Navigation ...
1960s Live Performances:
1970s & 1980s Live Performances:
1990s & 2000s Live Performances: