Barbra: The Music, The Mem’ries, The Magic
August 20, 2016
Wells Fargo Center
- Overture/Video Package
- The Way We Were
- Being at War with Each Other
- You Don't Bring Me Flowers
- Woman in Love / Enough is Enough
- With One More Look At You
- Being Alive
- 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
- Isn't This Better?
- How Lucky Can You Get?
- Children Will Listen
- Don't Rain On My Parade
- 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.
*Set list reported by: Robert Anen, Douglas Fotia, Brett Fox, John Nolan
Streisand delivers 'Music, Mem'ries, Magic'
by Jonathan Takiff
Barbra Streisand brought it back to Broad Street on Saturday, better than anyone dared expect.
We ran out of fingers and toes counting the signature songs and surprises that earned heartfelt standing ovations at the packed tight Wells Fargo Center - from the scene-setting "The Way We Were" to late-show anthems like "Don't Rain On My Parade," an amazing duet with an on-screen apparition of Anthony Newley on "Who Can I Turn To?" and her bittersweet/ironic rendering of "Happy Days Are Here Again," a Streisand perennial since her nightclub (and 1964 DNC Convention in Atlantic City) playing youth that nudges leaders to renewed action.
Clearly "The Music ... The Mem'ries ... The Magic" was steeped in nostalgia for the mostly mature audience, with a sampling from each of her hit albums and styles (pop to disco to Broadway) structuring the first 50-minute set.
But the song- and schmooze-athon also strove resolutely to be of the moment, with new sonic and visual flourishes and timely humanitarian messages from an artist/activist who synchronizes tours to presidential election years. She isn't afraid to take a stand - a trait common among conscious rockers, folkies and rappers but rare among pop divas.
No surprise, Streisand took jokey jabs at Donald Trump and also proclaimed delight to be in the same arena where Hillary Clinton had broken through the glass ceiling with her presidential nomination.
A hyper-perfectionist, Streisand scripts most of her casual conversation, important when the stage crew is throwing synchronized clips from her movies, recent album sessions, and a world of crises on the screen. (If I were hubby James Brolin, I'd be a mite worried about all that A Star is Born imagery of Streisand with handsome hunk Kris Kristofferson she's dredged up for laughs and sex appeal. During one steamy photo embrace, she allowed with a sigh, all she was wearing "was musk.")
Still, Streisand veered off teleprompter copy several times. Didja hear? Apple's Siri will finally start pronouncing her family name correctly - landing it with a soft "sand." Because Apple CEO Tim Cook took her call.
And while we'll never get the Brooklyn out of the girl, Streisand did nod to the sizable roles Philly has played in her enduring six-plus decades career. Lest we forgot: Both of her early '60s Broadway hits ("I Can Get It For You Wholesale," "Funny Girl") ironed out flaws in Philly tryouts. The Philadelphia Museum of Art generously let her in to videotape chunks of the 1966 TV special "Color Me Barbra" after the Metropolitan Museum turned her down. Streisand's last two tours both started here - the first, in 2006, breaking a Wells Fargo Center house record, grossing more than $5 million in one night. (And yes, show goers paid top dollar on Saturday, too.)
With Streisand now 74, of course, there'll be some kvetching about "The Voice" finally faltering. Going into the show, we took it as an omen that she'd cut down the orchestra from 58 to a mere 11 and added three backup singers. The latter is a ploy contemporaries like Neil Diamond, Billy Joel, Brian Wilson and Paul Simon use to cover up their loss of upper range.
For sure, we heard a little bit of rasp in a couple early night Streisand performances and weak upper register notes in her super hit "People." But small potatoes in a still very tasty, empathy-enriched dish. Barbra isn't modifying tunes as others often do, nor is she handing off the high notes to her backup singers (there mostly to add a bit of contemporary warmth and fervor). And the smaller orchestra (conducted by Randy Waldman) brought an intimacy that encouraged her to stay limber.
I can't even fault Streisand for handing off some valuable stage time to mentalist Lior Suchard. The guy was amazing and in a postshow challenge even got this writer's number (42) right. The skeptical Ms. S hired him after an encounter where he correctly identified the song-in-a-million she was thinking.
Huffington Post Review
Streisand, the Love Poet, Enthralls Philadelphia Audience
by Laura Goldman
The audience for the Barbra Streisand concert in Philadelphia on Saturday night was verklempt (Yiddish for choked with emotion) at seeing their idol in person before the show even started. Some fans paid homage to the superstar by dressing in her inimitable style -wearing sequins, wrapped in feather boas, carrying an Oscar, or ordering their husband to dress up. The living legend held the crowd in thrall for the entire concert. BARBRA: THE MUSIC...THE MEM’RIES...THE MAGIC! Tour, with a trimmed down orchestra of 11 members and 3 backup singers, was a flawless walk down memory lane beginning with “The Way We Were”. The singer, who is now 74, can still hold a note forever which made it easy to ignore the occasional raspiness or slightly more limited vocal range.
One comes to a Barbra Streisand concert for the music, but stays for the romance. As one fan called her, she’s the “love poet.” No, she didn’t write all the words of her songs, but she sang the greatest love songs of all time. She gave hope to those who want more, strength to those undergoing a breakup, and encouragement for those that need to move on. It is hard for millennials, who are searching for love in a world dominated by Tinder and hook-ups, to understand what Streisand’s songs and on-screen relationships represent to the older generations of women. Perhaps, there is no better way to show the evolution of love than to contrast the drama laden courtships depicted in Streisand’s movies such as Way We Were” or “A Star is Born” with Beyonce’s “Lemonade,” which is rumored to about her husband’s adultery.
The night was not only about mem’ries. The diva, who is the only recording artist to have achieved a #1 album for 6 decades, wouldn’t stay at the top of her game unless she changes with the times. One of the funniest parts of the night was a short film about the recording of her new album Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway. The album, which will be available for purchase on August 26, features her singing Broadway duets with movie stars. Most of the stars such as Hugh Jackman, Alec Baldwin, and Jamie Foxx comically expressed incredulity that Streisand wanted to sing with them. Melissa McCarthy asked the question all of us wanted to know-does she make her employees wear cashmere.
In a delightful surprise, the singer added the act of mentalist Lior Suchard to the program. The gregarious Suchard correctly guessed bank passcodes, first loves, and numbers with charming panache. After the show, the Israeli native explained exactly what a mentalist is. He said, “I am not a psychic. I do speak to the dead, but, for me they never answer back. I don’t tell the future. I am also not a magician or illusionist. It is based on the real abilities of the human mind from psychology to non-verbal communication to body language to understanding the way that the mind works. I call it mind algorithms, mathematics of the mind. Basically, I don’t know what people are thinking. I know how they think.”
I would be remiss if I didn’t relay the correct pronunciation of her name. After 50 years, the icon finally decided to tell us during this concert tour it is Streisand with a soft s as in sand not zand. Don’t feel bad. Even Siri was saying it wrong. Apple CEO Tim Cook promised her it would be corrected in the next update of Siri. Now if only iTunes would properly pay musicians for streaming their work.
Delaware County News Network
Barbra Streisand brings magic to Philadelphia
Published: Sunday, August 28, 2016
By Marianne Gunther
In support of her new album, “Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway,” Barbra Streisand made a tour stop in Philadelphia on Saturday night bringing “The Music … The Mem’ries … The Magic!”
With a nearly sold out Wells Fargo Center packed with adoring fans of all ages, just around 8:20 p.m., Streisand gracefully walked out onto the arena stage wearing a black sparkling pant suit while singing “Memories” from her movie “The Way We Were.” Fans remained on their feet wildly applauding to her arrival.
“Hello Philadelphia,” she announced after her first song, recalling the great times she has spent in Philly. The City of Brotherly Love has been quite familiar to Streisand throughout her career; it was the location for where she filmed her first television special, “Color Me Barbra,” in 1966 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Joining her on tour was a small ensemble she referred to throughout the evening as “her orchestra.” The group gave a rich depth to the arrangements, which was especially complementary to her new album, which features duets draped over an orchestral backdrop.
During songs like “I Want Everything” from her movie “A Star Is Born,” Streisand expressed her personal felling about women’s equality and her support of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Shortly after, she moved in to the song “The Way We Were” from her movie of the same title. During the entire performance, flanking her on stage were large screens projecting album covers, movies clips and Broadway photographs associated with each song. It gave context to the songs and provided a tremendous historical component to the performance.
Adding some more political flair to the evening, Streisand shared her personal views on the environment and the need for kindness and understanding in the world, just before moving into “Being at War With Each Other,” a song written by legendary songwriter Carole King. The backdrop footage throughout this section of the show evoked heart-wrenching feelings of destruction and sadness.
Also featured in the first set of the performance was “Woman In Love,” which she recorded with Bee Gees member Barry Gibb; “One More Look At You” from her film “A Star is Born”; and “No More Tears (Enough is Enough),” which she recorded with Donna Summers. It was during this song that she featured her trio of backup singers and brought them front and center to the audience’s main attention.
Streisand ended the first part of the evening with the beautiful and moving song from her film “Yentl” titled “Papa Can You Hear Me?” written by songwriters Alan and Marilyn Bergman, who wrote many songs for her over the years.
At the midway point of the show, during intermission, Streisand announced from her dressing room that her Tony Luke’s cheesesteak had just arrived and that she wanted to quickly introduce her friend, Lior Suchard, to the audience while she fueled up for the second half of the show. Suchard wowed the audience with his amazing mind reading tricks during the short intermission; it was a bit of a changeup from the music, but nonetheless entertaining.
Returning to the stage for the second half of the performance, and wearing a gray-beaded flowing gown, Streisand began with the song “Pure Imagination” and followed with “Who Can I Turn To,” both songs written by the late Anthony Newley. She continued with songs from her Broadway and film performances and even though she had sung these songs for years, you could certainly feel like she was injecting life into them.
With the crowd on their feet, Streisand returned to the stage to close out the evening with the hope-filled song “Happy Days Are Here Again” and a new song from her album “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was.” After the near two-1/2-hour show, the audience was in total appreciation of the artist.
As a singer myself, I was introduced to Streisand at the age of 6 through my grandfather’s record collection. He was the biggest supporter of my vocal talent and had been a fan of Streisand’s singing for years. Together, we studied Barbra’s phrasing and styling of each song, and it was a joy to hear her sing.
First and foremost Barbra Streisand is the voice of the century. No female singer comes close to her beautiful and unique voice, and at the young age of 74, she still has what it takes to retain status of “legend.” Streisand is one of the best-selling female recording artists in history and considerably accomplished in all areas of entertainment with 10 Grammy awards, two Academy Awards, multiple Emmy and Golden Globe awards and numerous humanitarian awards. On Saturday night, she brought a wondrous energy to Philadelphia and proved that she still has what it takes to put on an extraordinary performance.
Tom Rubeck's Review
It’s like a cloister of rising bubbles made from dove feathers lifting and floating to the ultrasphere, which are then shot down by fiery diamonds flame-thrown with golden champagne… THAT is what Barbra’s voice was like on Saturday night, the 20th of August 2016. At one moment tender and true, the next powerful and never-ending.
This was my seventh time to see her in concert, and this show and set-up has to be my second favorite of all her tours, the first being the return-to-the-stage show on the first day of the New Year in 1994. To be honest, though, her voice and the control of that voice was stronger last night than it was twenty-two years ago. With age comes experience, and with practice comes near perfection.
Highlights of the night, for me, were hearing the “old songs” we loved but had never heard live: “Isn’t this Better”, and “Woman in Love”. Low light had to be “Children Will Listen”, which felt forced with its placement in between the “Funny Lady” and “Funny Girl” songs, and which she has sung much better. The duet with Anthony Newley was amazing, giving me chills. I also loved that they had her on camera, close up during this song. It’s a pity they didn’t realize how much better than made the number, being able to really see her expressions and emotions as she poured out her heart in song. I hope Richard Jay and Barbra take note: people like to see your face when you sing.
This concert was made stronger by the fact that it was pretty much all Barbra. No “boy bands” to slow down the tempo, no other acts to get in the way. (Yes, the mind reader was there, and he was good, but it made it seem like a part of intermission and not the concert.) The strength of this concert was also the fact that she went back and examined, with us, the album artwork, the fun stories, the things that fans love and had talked about and love learning about…and then capped each account with a glorious song.
Not much more to say (that hasn’t been said before) other than it is always a thrilling and temporal thing to realize Barbra is right there, standing before you, singing and acting and emoting. You pinch yourself. And you enjoy those floating feathery bubbles. And those sparkly high notes which seem to go on and on forever. It’s a highpoint of life…Yeah, really.
Dave Dozier's Photos
Tom Rubeck's Photo
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