National Democratic Gala
Kodak Gallery Theatre
September 29, 2002
Barbra Streisand returned to the stage at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre on Sunday, September 29, 2002, headlining the National Democratic Gala, which raised $6 million to benefit Democratic Majority 2002. Appearing in an off-the-shoulder green and pink taffeta gown with rose print overlay, Barbra sang eight songs accompanied by David Foster on piano with his orchestra on a stage featuring flowing white curtains lit with varying colors. “As most of you already know, I don't particularly enjoy performing on stage,” Barbra admitted to the audience of 3,500 who provided a standing ovation, “but then I'd do just about anything to help the Democrats win back the House.”
Introduced by comedian Steve Harvey and accompanied by record producer David Foster on piano (and a small band), Barbra's set list looked like this:
- The Kind of Man A Woman Needs (just a few bars)
- My Funny Valentine
- Pieces of Dreams
- After the Rain (shortened version)
- The Shadow of Your Smile
- I Finally Found Someone (with David Foster)
- The Way We Were (w/ political lyrics: The Way We Are)
- God Bless America
After some banter with Foster about singing songs she's rarely performed live, she hummed and sang a few lines of “The Kind of Man A Woman Needs,” but joked that she couldn't go further with lyrics deriding her man as not handsome, referencing her marriage.
Barbra then began her set with “My Funny Valentine,” the classic Rodgers & Hart tune from her 1967 Simply Streisand album. Two Bergman-Legrand songs followed: “Pieces of Dreams” and “After The Rain.” Next, she delivered “The Shadow of Your Smile” from My Name Is Barbra, Two... prompting her to suggest recording an entire bossa nova album. Moving forward 30 years, Barbra dueted with Foster and three backup singers on “I Finally Found Someone,” which led the pair to discuss her Academy Award nomination and Celine Dion's performance on that year's show. Barbra continued with “Evergreen,” one of her most performed and cherished songs. Following Foster's introduction of his favorite Streisand song, Barbra began “The Way We Were” (aka “The Way We Are” with special lyrics penned by Alan & Marilyn Bergman) interspersing verses with spoken sentiments about the importance of a Democratic House.
Barbra introduced her final number, “God Bless America” with the following thought: “Tonight I sing this next song as both a declaration and a prayer — to God to keep us safe … and a prayer for our Democratic leaders to continue to have the strength and the courage to stand up for what is right.” In front of a giant U.S. flag, the California State University, Northridge choir supported Barbra on this number. Following Barbra's introduction, Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri (House Minority Leader), spoke about the importance of the upcoming elections. He joked about having recently received Barbra's politically charged memo — “What I want to say to my friends in the Republican Party is, 'Eat your heart out.' I get faxes from Barbra Streisand; they get faxes from Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson.” Soon, Barbra briefly returned to the stage for a rousing “God Bless America” finale with all of the evening's performers, capping off the concert.
Barbra joined fellow performers Barry Manilow, Three Mo' Tenors, comedian Steve Harvey, an impressive Artist Committee, U.S. House Reps Richard Gephardt, Nancy Pelosi, Nita Lowey, and the Democratic Congressional Caucus in the David Foster production. Democratic Majority 2002 was the fundraising effort to win a Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives through the November 5, 2002 elections. It was a joint fundraising committee authorized by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Gephardt in Congress Committee. “Voters across the country want a change after eight years of failed Republican leadership in Washington. We are honored to have some of the world’s best entertainers to lead the fight,” said DCCC Chair Nita Lowey. “This is such an important election and Ms. Streisand’s decision to help us change the leadership in the House will help provide us with a much needed boost as we head into the home stretch.” Beginning with $500 concert-only tickets, those interested in attending the gala could make up to $250,000 contributions, which are not tax-deductible. Shortly before curtain, some lucky members of the public grabbed last-minute seats for $100.00 from the box office. The concert began at 7:30 p.m. with virtually every seat filled.
The Shakespeare Quote
At this concert, Barbra read material which she identified as having been written by William Shakespeare. On her official website, Streisand released a statement that the quote “had been passed to her by a friend, but she learned the following day that it is, rather, a passage which is widely circulated on the internet as an excerpt from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar but which is, in fact, an anonymous composition, not Shakespeare at all.”
Streisand further explained on her website “Truth Alert”:
The authorship of this is important. But it doesn't detract from the fact that the words themselves are powerful and true and beautifully written. Whoever wrote this is damn talented and should be writing their own play.
Page Credits: Text on this page by Mark Iskowitz; from his website, The Barbra Streisand Music Guide. Reproduced here with Mark's permission.
LIGHT THE CORNERS OF MY MIND
MISTY WATERCOLOR MEM'RIES
OF THE WAY WE WERE
When I sing that song now, I can't help but think about it politically.
OF THE HOUSE WE LEFT BEHIND
LOVELY DEMOCRATIC MEM'RIES
OF THE WAY WE WERE
It was 1993 … a time of hope … of new possibilities. We believed that our children and grandchildren would live in an age of extraordinary opportunity.
We had a Democratic Congress that put the country on the road to prosperity… passed the family and medical leave act … legislation to increase funds for education … an anti-crime bill that banned assault weapons and violence against women … safe water and clean air acts.
We had a president who enforced the peace agreement in Bosnia … helped reach the peace accords in Northern Ireland …We were even on the verge of a settlement in the Middle East.
The American dream was alive and well …
UNPRECEDENTED GROWTH IN THE ECONOMY.
THE DOW WAS UP, THE DEFICIT WAS DOWN.
AS LONG AS DEMOCRATS WERE THE MAJORITY,
I COULD SLEEP NIGHTS,
NOT WEEP NIGHTS.
SEE THEIR SAVINGS SLIP AWAY
AS THEY FEEL THE WORLD AROUND THEM
BECOME MORE FRIGHT'NING EV'RY DAY.
Talk about frightening …
Shortly after George W. Bush was elected … sort of … I saw him on television say, “If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck-of-a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator.” And he laughed …
You know people never really joke. That was very revealing … a taste of things to come … the arrogance of wanting unlimited executive power … a government that operates in secret … keeping presidential papers secret … holding secret meetings with oil companies.
I find George Bush and Dick Cheney frightening … Donald Rumsfeld and John Ashcroft frightening.
I find the erosion of our civil liberties in the guise of "homeland security" frightening …
I find the shrinking ozone layer and the melting icecaps frightening …
I find bringing the country to the brink of war unilaterally five weeks before an election questionable — and very, very frightening.
SEEMS THAT'S ALL THAT FILLS THE NEWS,
BLAME THE FELLAS IN THE WHITE HOUSE
FOR THE WAY WE ARE
IT'S NO WONDER
WE ALL SING THOSE TEXAS BLUES
IT'S THAT TOO-FAR-TO-THE RIGHT HOUSE
AND THE WAY WE ARE.
The way we are…
The accountants' lobbyist heads the SEC
The timber lobbyist heads the forest service
The Federalist Society is in charge of judges
The Christian Coalition is in charge of White House appointments
…And Lady Justice is wearing a shroud.
All that in less than two years!
GLOBAL WARMING? DON'T BELIEVE A WORD OF IT
AND WHAT'S A DROP OF ARSENIC OR TWO?
SAVING MEDICARE? THEY NEVER HEARD OF IT.
TO THEM, HEALTH CARE
IS WEALTH CARE
In the last election, some people said it didn't make a difference - Republican, Democrat … what's the difference?
I'll tell you the difference.
This is what the Republican House did in the last two years:
Passed the drug companies' prescription bill that does nothing to control prices.
Passed the Enron energy bill, that does nothing to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
Passed a sham pension reform bill that eliminates employee retirement accounts.
Now we have tax cuts for the rich, but no raise in the minimum wage for the poor…
…poison in the water, salmonella in the food, carbon dioxide in the air and toxic waste in the ground that polluters no longer have to pay to clean up — the taxpayers do.
CRIME IS NOT SUPPOSED TO PAY.
MEANWHILE SITTING ON HIS ASSETS,
IS ENRON'S OWN KENNETH LAY.
OH, WHAT WE NEED IS,
SOMEONE TO CURE US
'CAUSE BABY WE'VE GOT "TSURUS"
THE WAY WE ARE.
If we take back the House, we can limit the damage the Bush White House does.
We can check the power of an administration that wants to police what you do in your bedroom and hide what they do in office.
We can force votes on programs that benefit people — working men and women, children, seniors, teachers, veterans, fire-fighters, police officers, coal miners … Americans that this administration seems to care about only when the TV crews are around.
NEXT ELECTION DAY I PRAY
THAT THE COUNTRY WILL DELIVER,
A HOUSE WITHOUT TOM DELAY!
WE NEED A TEAM CHANGE
A DEFINITE REGIME CHANGE.
OH, THAT WOULD BE A DREAM CHANGE
FROM THE WAY WE ARE.
We have the facts on our side…the truth on our side
We have to get the facts out…the truth out…and the vote out!
SO, IN NOVEMBER,
LET'S MAKE THE CONGRESS
A DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS
THE WAY WE WERE
THE WAY WE WERE!
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