Barbra: The Music, The Mem’ries, The Magic
Los Angeles, California
August 2, 2016
- Overture/Video Package
- The Way We Were
- Being at War with Each Other
- Everything Must Change
- Stoney End
- Woman in Love
- Enough is Enough
- Lior Suchard (Master Mentalist works his amazing mind tricks on the audience)
- Evergreen (with Babyface)
- You Don't Bring Me Flowers
- Being Alive
- Papa, Can You Hear Me?
- Pure Imagination (with Seth MacFarlane)
- Encore Video Package
- Who Can I Turn To? (with Anthony Newley)
- Losing My Mind
- Climb Every Mountain (with Jamie Foxx)
- Isn't This Better?
- How Lucky Can You Get?
- With One More Look at You
- Children Will Listen
- Don't Rain On My Parade
- Happy Days Are Here Again
Intermission videos: Fight the LadyKiller video; My Name is Barbra commercial; Butterfly album commercial.
Below: Barbra's 1st Act ensemble designed by Barbra and Donna Karan.
Below: Babyface and Barbra sing "Evergreen."
Below: Seth McFarlane and Barbra sing "Pure Imagination." Barbra's Second Act gown is by Marchesa.
Barbra Streisand, Staples Centre, Los Angeles, review: 'Majestic'
Barbra Streisand performs in Los Angeles
by: Eve Barlow
3 August 2016
The lights went down abruptly for the first concert in Barbra Streisand’s nine date tour; a return after three years off the stage, and one does wonder how much longer the 74-year-old will continue to mount such shows. She has her 35th album to promote, but with a back catalogue like hers she’s certainly not here for the cash.
The audience was plunged straight into a video montage that raced through an impossibly illustrious career. On her last tour in 2012, Streisand celebrated six decades of Billboard No 1 albums – the only artist yet to achieve this. When the lady herself appeared, everyone immediately rose to their feet, as though a world leader has walked into the room.
“Did you recognise yourself in the video?” she joked with the crowd. Dressed in her signature black – a trouser suit she kept yanking up (“Sorry, I’ve lost a bit of weight”) – she began to hum the opening bars of The Way We Were, while moving around a stage decorated by some stools, a piano, and three vases of different coloured roses.
Her band were almost an orchestra behind her, but her star magnetism remained so strong you don’t even notice their existence.
“It’s Streisand, soft, like ‘sand’. You’d think after 50 years, people would pronounce it correctly! Nobody says Oprah Wine-fry,” she laughed.
During the night’s two-and-a-half hour career run-through, Streisand revealed that she’s starting to write her autobiography (“I thought I better do it now before my memory becomes more misty and water-coloured”), she cut Donald Trump down thrice and endorsed Hillary Clinton. She used her back catalogue to discuss global warming, war, oppression, and feminism, shedding hilarious tales of yore about how she fought for creative control.
“See that nose there?!” she compared and contrasted the original and re-touched pictures. “It’s not mine! I became very successful with that [nose] bump. We’ve been through a lot together. That bump deserved to stay. The record company promised to fix it. I’m still waiting…”
She recalled that her label wanted to call her debut Sweet and Saucy Streisand. “Sounds like a barbecue sauce!” she howled. In three nights, Adele will begin an eight-night residency in this room, a star totally indebted to Streisand’s masterclass ratio of humour to vocal supremacy.
Streisand played deep cuts she’s never played live before including Isn’t This Better (from Funny Lady). She also played a song from each of her first three records to the delight of her audience (Everything from A Star Is Born, Being At War With Each Other written by Carole King, and Everything Must Change). She reminisces about making A Star…, Yentl, and of course, Funny Girl and its sequel Funny Lady.
An emotional high point was when she sang Papa Can You Hear Me from Yentl, the first movie she directed and starred in. The song narrates the protagonist’s fears upon setting out in the world without a father. Streisand lost her father young, too. The pain of her rendition brought me to tears.
At another point, to the shrieks of hundreds of females in tonight’s crowd (every one of them looking like multiple generations of Esther Rantzen), Jamie Foxx appeared for a majestic duet of Climb Ev’ry Mountain from The Sound Of Music.
Across the night, Streisand's songs seemed to encapsulate the entirety of human experience. The huskiness that’s enveloped her voice over the years just enriched the complexity of her story-telling, stories told through melody and floor-to-ceiling notes. This was more than just singing.
Los Angeles Times Review
At Staples Center, Barbra Streisand is a down-to-earth diva with Donald Trump on her mind
By MIKAEL WOOD
Barbra Streisand was working toward a moment — the end of the first act of the first show of her first concert tour in years — when she decided something wasn’t quite right.
She’d just brought the house down at Staples Center in Los Angeles with a thrilling, deeply felt rendition of Stephen Sondheim’s "Being Alive," and now, in a demonstration of her range, Streisand’s large band was easing into the hushed "Papa, Can You Hear Me?" from "Yentl," her movie about gender and Judaism in Eastern Europe in the early 1900s.
Yet an adjustment was in order. Turning her attention to a small table near the edge of the stage, the singer picked up what looked like an unlit candle, turned the thing over and flipped a tiny switch. The decoration flickered to life.
"They didn’t have these in 1904," she said. "Too bad."
Gravity and levity intertwined: It was a signature Streisand moment, one of many in Tuesday’s 2 1/2-hour performance, which kicked off a rare tour by the 74-year-old legend. The tour stops in Streisand’s hometown of Brooklyn on Thursday and Saturday.
Billed with characteristic pizazz as "Barbra: The Music ... the Mem’ries ... the Magic!," the road show comes shortly before the Aug. 26 release of a new duets album, "Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway." It also dovetails, as did her previous outing in 2012, with a presidential election.
"This one is a doozy, isn’t it?" asked the famously vocal Democrat at one point.
But if Streisand’s latest production was conceived to promote a fresh record — and to provide an opportunity to take a few whacks at Donald Trump — Tuesday’s opener mostly re-emphasized the familiar aspects of the artistry she’s been carefully honing for half a century: the voice, the sense of humor, the salt-of-the-earth banter (which she read from a clearly visible prompter suspended from the arena’s ceiling).
"I love you!" one fan cried out as Streisand began the show with "The Way We Were."
"Still?" she replied between lines, her timing as sharp as ever.
Like every singer her age (with the possible exception of Smokey Robinson), Streisand has lost some of the high notes she once had control over. And these days the lungs put up a fight: "That was more difficult than childbirth," she wheezed after sprinting — well, jogging — through "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)," her disco-era duet with the late Donna Summer.
But songs like "Being Alive" and "Children Will Listen" showed how powerful her singing remains, how capable she is of getting inside a tune and feeling its emotional extremes.
For "Climb Ev’ry Mountain," Streisand was joined by a surprisingly big-voiced Jamie Foxx, who appears on "Encore," and the competition seemed to drive her even further. (Streisand took it somewhat easier during another surprise cameo, by Seth MacFarlane, who helped her breeze through "Pure Imagination" while accompanied on a video screen by footage of dolphins at play.)
This wasn’t just an expression of power, though, as Tuesday’s concert was also about agility. For the first half, Streisand rummaged around in the expansive catalog that’s made her the only recording artist to have No. 1 albums in six different decades.
She was strong but sensual in "Everything," which she said embodies the "feminist spirit" she brought to her work in "A Star Is Born." She adopted a pleading tone for "Being at War With Each Other" as images of American protest — including very recent scenes from Orlando, Fla., and Baton Rouge, La. — rippled across the screen. And she softened for a delicate folk-soul take on "Evergreen" featuring the R&B star Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, who remade the mid-’70s hit with Streisand on her 2014 album, "Partners."
Before that one, Babyface said he’d been pleased when Streisand told him she wanted to work with him because that indicated she was interested in black music.
"Of course," Streisand said — precisely the type of earnest yet self-aggrandizing comment for which the singer, who said she’s writing a memoir, is known.
Indeed, Tuesday’s show featured plenty of that kind of talk, much of it as entertaining as Streisand’s singing. At one point she showed the album cover of "The Way We Were," pointing out that a designer had altered the appearance of her nose.
"They took out the bump!" she exclaimed, practically inviting the audience to cheer her unconventional looks (which the audience happily did).
Later, she apologized for repeatedly hitching up her sparkly black pants, explaining that she’d recently lost a bit of weight.
And then there was her Trump-baiting, which seemed to please the crowd even more than her stately version of "People." Early in the show, Streisand brought a man calling himself a mentalist to the stage for a brief magic routine. (This was after that aerobic "No More Tears," so surely she’d earned a break.)
As the magician left the stage, Streisand nodded approvingly, saying the performer "can read anyone’s mind — except Donald Trump’s, because he doesn’t have one." She also urged her fans to vote for someone "who doesn’t believe climate change is a hoax."
Streisand closed the show with "Happy Days Are Here Again," which she introduced by saying she’d performed it for President Bill Clinton and that she was doing it here in hopes that we’d soon have another President Clinton.
Then, after singing a few lines about getting rid of bad times, she felt the need to clarify.
"By the way," she said, "I love Obama."
It was one more fix from pop’s adjuster in chief.
Brantley Bardin's Opening Night Tour Recap
Okeydoke, everybody, 18 hours after the show I think I’m calmed down enough to have a go at a recap of last night’s astounding, Barbra-palooza of an opening night. I’m not gonna try to make it anything like perfect or it’ll never get done, but it’ll be energetic, I promise ya that. So, in that spirit, I’ll first rip-off what I wrote to an actress friend this morning (who was demanding a report), ‘cause it was done while I was still, basically, asleep, and couldn’t be more unfiltered. Here ‘tis: “Honey, the show was beyond phenomenal. I was reeling for hours as I texted with my Fairy Godfather, Rich (who had us on the floor’s 11th row right behind Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Barbara Boxer, and Quincy Jones; other celebs in close proximity were Dustin Hoffman, Rosie O’Donnell, Fran Drescher and Bab’s B’way “Funny Girl” understudy, Lainie Kazan) and another pal who was also at the show until, literally, dawn, so I'm not remotely coherent yet and need a couple more hours of zzzzs. But it was magnificent, thrilling, a knockout. Barbra looked sensational, sounded sublime, was funny, happy, loose, and her acting was brilliant and so in the moment. Songs that one might not think one cared much about (say, “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers”) were precisely and exquisitely acted and sung. But, of course, they were: BJS is the greatest singing actress of all time, right? Right. So let's just say that I could die a happy man right now. It was one of the most electrifying nights of my concert-going life. It was EVERYTHING.”
And, actually, friends, hyperbolic or not, I’m now wide awake and, from my, admittedly, super-fan perspective, that early morning gush isn’t much of an overstatement – in fact, she even sang her ‘Star Is Born’ song, “Everything,” as her second number of the night! And it was that element that made the show so sensational: BJS (and, for those less hardcore folk, BJS = Barbra Joan Streisand) performed many songs from the ‘70s, especially dear to the hardest of core fans, that she’d never, ever sung live before. So we were served can-this-really-be-happening?, deep, catalogue gold like “Being At War With Each Other” from ‘74’s “Way We Were” LP (“TWWW” was the opening song of the night), “Funny Lady”’s “Isn’t This Better?” which segued into – wait for it -- “How Lucky Can You Get?” (un-friggin-believable!) which segued into “Star is Born”’s “With One More Look at You” (my jaw was in the basement by then).
Oh, and btw, unlike the usual 63 piece orchestra, BJS usually tours with, on this outing she, instead, employs a super tight, 10 or so piece band with three, kick-ass backup singers. So, needless, to say, the 70’s stuff, such as a giddy “Stoney End,” “Woman in Love”, “Enough is Enough” medley, rocked hard and for real. In so many moments like this, the show really was like the ‘70s BJS tour that never was (for those not in as deeply as I so, clearly, am, Streisand almost never appeared live, in concert, from 1967 to 1994. Also, for the record, my mother, Dee, was my fabulous date for the stunning, NYC, 1994 opening night at Madison Square Garden and I thought of her all during last night’s show).
This tour (and what always cracks me up about Streisand ‘tours’ is that, unlike every other superstar peer of BJS, Bab’s ‘tours’ are as rare as Haley’s Comet and consist of, generally, a grand total of 9 cities, 11 shows – she keeps her appearances trés exclusive) ….But, anyhoo, this tour is called, ‘Barbra, The Music…The Mem’ries…The Magic!: Celebrating Six Decades of #1 Albums’ and I feared that it’d be too mainstream hits-oriented for my taste, but she announced at the top of the concert that, though she’d be singing from #1 albums, the songs wouldn’t necessarily be the biggest hits off of those albums. Hence, we got numbers such as those I’ve already noted along with an exquisite “Everything Must Change” from the ‘Higher Ground’ CD and Sondheim’s “Children Will Listen” and (an also absolutely breathtaking) “Losing My Mind” which is from her about-to-be-released CD, “Encores: Movie Partners Sing Broadway”.
The latter is a duets album and there were three guests last night. Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds who dueted on a rigorous reworking of ‘Evergreen” in Act 1, Seth McFarlane on the dreamy Act 2 opener, “Pure Imagination” and Jamie Foxx on a show-stopping, “Climb Every Mountain.”
Before I wrap, I’ve gotta tell you what the feeling was like in the arena. Joy. Magic. Fun. Fellowship (every age group was present and, swear to god, from the parking lot to the lobby at intermission to the elevators taking us back to our cars, we were all strangers united in BJS, all hugging and kissing on each other like family). It was a bigtime celebration of supreme Talent and Art.
At the end of the show before the encores (“People” and “Happy Days Are Here Again”), just after she’d slayed with “Don’t Rain On My Parade,” the 74-year-old -- and still all, 'Hello, gorgeous'! -- BJS took curtain calls, accepted our roars (we’d been up and down on our feet with standing O’s throughout the 2 ½ hour plus evening) then turned and, literally, skipped upstage to her exit while playfully flouncing her Marchesa gown as if she was still 25-years-old. She then skipped back on out so we could holler and stomp some more.
It. Was. Heaven.
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