Streisand: 2006 North American Concert Tour
November 2, 2006
- Funny Girl (Broadway) Overture - Bill Ross, Conductor
- Starting Here, Starting Now
- Down With Love
- The Way We Were
- Ma Premiere Chanson
- Evergreen (with Il Divo)
Il Divo set:
- Unchained Melody
- Unbreak My Heart
- My Way (dedicated to Barbra)
- Come Rain or Come Shine
Funny Girl Suite:
- Funny Girl
- The Music That Makes Me Dance (partial)
- My Man
- Bill Ross Entr'acte
- Music of the Night (Barbra & Il Divo)
- Carefully Taught / Children Will Listen
- Unusual Way
- What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?
- George Bush Skit
- Happy Days Are Here Again
- Have I Stayed Too Long at the Fair?
- Cockeyed Optimist
- Somewhere (with Il Divo)
- My Shining Hour
- Don't Rain on My Parade (Broadway reprise lyrics)
Atlanta Journal Constitution Review
Streisand warmed by Southern hospitality
By WENDELL BROCK (November 2, 2006)
Barbra Streisand opened her much-anticipated Philips Arena concert Thursday night by belting out an old standard, then clearing up a little misinformation about an incident in Florida a few nights before.
It was all a big mistake, the entertainer said of reports an audience member had thrown a drink at her — after she pretended to check underneath front-row seats for beverage containers.
“He was having a spat with his girlfriend,” the 64-year-old entertainer explained after opening her show with “Starting Here, Starting Now.” “He was angry at her. He wrote me a beautiful letter of apology. It wasn’t political: That’s the point — he’s from Australia.”
Whatever kind of reception the legendary singer has garnered elsewhere on her 16-city tour, there was no rude or angry behavior during the first half of her Atlanta stop. Instead, Streisand was greeted warmly by a sea of manicured and moussed, mostly middle-age groupies who seemed eager to welcome her.
“It really is true what they say about Southern hospitality,” Streisand said, relating some of her adventures earlier in the day. Wearing a simple black sheath and a long split skirt that showed a little leg, Streisand said she’d been enjoying the city’s culinary delights Thursday afternoon.
First it was the buttermilk-fried chicken at South City Kitchen, then a rich dessert at Café Intermezzo. She had to leave for “the theater” so early, she didn’t have time for dinner, she joked. And she was disappointed she couldn’t make it to the tourist attraction she’d most wanted to see, the Margaret Mitchell House.
By all appearances, the politically active perfectionist was taking herself a little less seriously than she’s known to. And singing quite well, too.
Still, the intimate patter with the crowd couldn’t hide the fact that this was a big arena show. Streisand looked tiny on a purple stage with a big white “S” on a central bridge and four vases of red and pink roses.
After performing songs from her films “Funny Girl” and “A Star Is Born” and songs by Arlen and Sondheim, Streisand took questions from the audience, saying she wanted to set the record straight.
“I love the truth. It’s so powerful,” she said. “You know how some people cringe when I talk about politics?” she said to rousing applause, which she appeared to mistake for derision.
When she brought on her surprise guest, the George Bush look-alike who caused a fan to heckle her in New York, the audience appeared to be with her.
After “Dubs” laughingly said he wanted to sell Canada, Streisand pointed out that it would be a problem. “Where would people go to buy prescription drugs?” she joked.
When the ersatz Bush said he wanted to sing a duet with her, and she pointedly suggested Donna Summer’s “Enough Is Enough,” no one in the audience seemed to object.
Atlanta was Streisand’s 10th stop on a 16-city North American tour that has drawn massive press attention, as much for the behavior of Streisand and her audiences as for the performances.
First it was the ticket prices, from $102 to $1,800 for a deluxe package with souvenirs, that raised eyebrows, though Streisand says she is donating profits to environmental causes. You could call it the Evergreen Tour.
Then on Oct. 9, at her Madison Square Garden concert in New York, a heckler harangued her for a skit that ridiculed President Bush. “Why don’t you shut the [expletive] up?” she reportedly barked. “If you can’t take a joke, why don’t you leave and get your money back?”
Streisand’s politics, of course, preceded her into the current tour. A liberal activist, she is a devoted Democrat who is said to have lounged in Lincoln’s bedroom during the Clinton administration.
The singer’s tour is scheduled to play seven more dates before concluding Nov. 20 in Los Angeles.
Mark Iskowitz's Review (www.bjsmusic.com)
This week in Atlanta, having attended my fifth Barbra Streisand concert performance since 1994, how do I begin this personal reflection of that evening. Are comparisons in order? Is Barbra singing in ATL as momentous an event as her bittersweet New York finale in 2000 or her triumphant return to public performances in '94? Truth is that the unique interaction between Barbra and her ever-appreciative loyal audience makes every concert a distinct happening. For those two hours, we are witnessing her "last" performance...at least until the next city gets its turn.
Rising dramatically upstage with the overture's conclusion, Streisand brings us to our feet for a thunderous outpouring of admiration and childlike glee mixed with energized anticipation for her musical soiree. We savor our mutual affection for a time before she moves center stage to announce in song ("Starting Here, Starting Now") that this happening in Atlanta is only just beginning. "So be still" (this won't be easy), "take my hand" (no problem), "for the greatest journey heaven can allow" (we're ready)... clearly her voice remains a wondrous gift to behold.
Furthermore, Barbra's stage presence is utterly charming, gracious, humble, candid, and downright fun, with a palpably enhanced comfort level. Suiting her perfectly, the superb stage design features abundant runways, transparent round tables, swivel stools, pink and red roses, and ubiquitous steel railings amidst handsome lighting and marvelous sound design and acoustics. Indeed, Barbra looks at home with her 58-piece orchestra, which plays in a shallow depression centered in the stage's inner ring. "Down With Love" is particularly effective in this setting, and Barbra's instrument capably handles the tongue-twisting verses. Acknowledging the audience on both sides of her, she sets the tone for an ever-surprising and innovative program (for those who avoided earlier media reports). For instance, the often performed signature smash hit "Evergreen" follows "Ma Premiere Chanson," both Streisand compositions. The former receives a unique multilingual rendering with Il Divo's proficient collaboration (deserving a studio recording), while the latter finds Streisand on a piano bench for the first time to delicately strike the keys.
During a brief first act break for Barbra to enjoy some sausage pizza from our local Mellow Mushroom, Il Divo serenades and truly stuns some in the audience with three popera renditions of familiar non-Streisand songs including "My Way." The international tenor quartet increases its burgeoning following with every appearance, scoring big in Atlanta, and even nabs two pages in Streisand's tour program - quite an endorsement.
Returning to the stage, Barbra finds a standing audience impressed with Il Divo's set and welcoming her back, so she offers a new warm and jazzy arrangement of a familiar Harold Arlen standard "Come Rain Or Come Shine." It's merely a transition to her final string of Act 1 songs, all from various incarnations of Funny Girl and each fondly introduced in detail to revisit that particular moment in the musical production. Accompanying Barbra back in time to the Winter Garden Theatre and the cinema screen, we watch the "actress who sings" recreate her acclaimed role as Fanny Brice before our eyes. Familiar emotions stream forth during the tender ballad "Funny Girl," the tear jerking "My Man," and finally the seminal "People," which is Barbra's longest and finest live performance of the timeless song most closely associated with her, its opening verses and blocking replicating her Oscar-winning portrayal. However, this time, the 8-years married Barbra is relating her own profound love in the song, celebrated by an always riveting bell-like long note at the end. Again standing, we cheer her on, applauding relentlessly, rejoicing in our respective personal relationships with "one very special person" (my wife) and an enduring love-like fondness for Barbra.
Intermission provides time to wind down and chat, perhaps glimpse some of Barbra's unassuming guests, like John Travolta & Kelly Preston, actor-playwright Tyler Perry, Mayor Shirley Franklin, and Rep. John Lewis, and consider some of the info Barbra imparted in Act 1. She wanted us to know how much she enjoyed some regional delicacies dishes from a couple of midtown Atlanta's cool eateries, South City Kitchen and Cafe Intermezzo, which caused her to miss an intended visit to the Margaret Mitchell House. She also wanted to set the record straight that the unfortunate drink-tossing incident in Ft. Lauderdale the other night was a result of an Australian man's spat with his girlfriend and completely non-political in nature, according to his own apology letter. Prior to singing "The Way We Were," Barbra praised Philips Arena, a more preferable indoor concert venue than the old Atlanta Stadium where she began her August 1966 outdoor concert in a yellow rain slicker and umbrella. She was tickled when someone in the audience tonight boasted of being there.
Back to the present: house lights dim, and conductor Bill Ross launches the orchestra into a brand-new entr'acte quoting music from Streisand films Funny Girl, On A Clear Day You Can See Forever, Yentl, and The Prince of Tides. Certainly, Barbra's own Nuts score deserves a place in an intro one day. Time to begin Act 2 with "The Music Of The Night" (from Phantom of the Opera) reuniting Barbra and Il Divo (a worthy Michael Crawford substitute) for a number that truly "takes flight" with each vocalist hitting the highest highs and lowest lows in a wonderfully challenging theatrical song. Thrilling is an understatement.
Becoming more serious and reflecting on her maternal life, Streisand introduces "You've Got To Be Carefully Taught" from Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific and pointedly enunciates its cynical lyrics - "You've got to be taught to be afraid/ Of people whose eyes are oddly made/ And people whose skin is a different shade/ You've got to be carefully taught." This straightforward idea of prejudice's origins particularly resonates in the South, but, of course, persists throughout the world, as Streisand herself can attest and continue to challenge. Smoothly segueing into Sondheim's "Children Will Listen," the evening's newest song (1987), she urges great care and child nurturing, embodied in her touching silky vibrato delivery.
Another Act 2 highlight is Barbra's sublime rendition of "What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?" while leaning against Randy Waldman's grand piano in her flowing gown. Fusing with piano and orchestra, Barbra's voice floats romantically among us, and I feel compelled to share knowing glances with my wife who just happens to adore this song.
"Ask Barbra" finds the singer sans shoes, taking an unexpected but novel break to answer audience questions submitted on cards before the show. Someone wonders whether Streisand would consider doing another Broadway musical, and the answer is not so unexpected: (paraphrasing) "Only if they changed the frequency of performances from 8 shows a week to 2 shows a month." Others inquire what it's like to be married to James Brolin, and Barbra can merely sigh and use the card to fan her flames of passion. Needless to say, the audience is in stitches (to quote an earlier song), which extends to her much queried and misunderstood comedy sketch with popular George W. Bush impressionist Steve Bridges. Innocent enough, this fanciful meeting between "Babs" and "Dubs" yields consistent laughter, eventually ceasing when Laura Bush calls her husband away. Unfortunately (or fortunately), Barbra is left solo to perform the perennial Democratic Party anthem "Happy Days Are Here Again," and she really belts it, admitting that come November 7th (Election Day), she optimistically hopes to have reason to outdo herself when singing the song.
In this final song quintet Barbra gradually builds to the concert's conclusion, self-examining her longevity and degree of success (new lyrics), as she croons "I Stayed Too Long At The Fair" from her marvelous Second album. Sitting virtually still and displaying her finest acting from a place deep inside, she sings softly and with particular emotion when addressing her mother and father. We can't help but empathize with such open introspection.
Returning to South Pacific, preceded by eloquent words of hope and humanity in William Saroyan's forward to his 1939 play The Time Of Your Life, Streisand proves herself "A Cockeyed Optimist" with another song debuting in her repertoire and gladly so. As with "Carefully Taught" from the same musical, Streisand sings with zealous punch to everyone's delight.
Continuing these themes, Barbra performs the concert's penultimate number, the always rousing "Somewhere" (from West Side Story and her classic Grammy-winning Broadway Album). Joined by Il Divo, Barbra rises to magnificent heights both musically and on the stage. Her final mesmerizing note never seems to end, but when it does, Il Divo, perhaps carried away with the raw emotion and power of the song, just keeps going. Make no mistake, these guys are exceptionally talented, but they should accompany Barbra more properly on this song.
To close the show, Barbra echoes her 1994 closing number "For All We Know" by choosing Harold Arlen & Johnny Mercer's "My Shining Hour," which she's never recorded. Having arisen several times already, the audience would gladly continue for at least another half-hour, but with these heartfelt parting words, one must plan on making this remarkable evening a memory. "Like the lights of home before me / Or an angel, who's watching o'er me / This will be my shining hour / Till I'm with you again." Indeed, shining brightly for two hours (best in her glittering black pantsuit), Barbra was inspired to entertain us in person again, and we succumbed to nonstop cravings for her musical delicacies and treats.
In fact, this craving manifests itself in some of the loudest ovations ever witnessed in the arena, luring Barbra back to the stage in a magnificent Barbra/Fanny hybrid performance of "Don't Rain On My Parade" (Broadway reprise) replete with the gusto of a voice that never quits and some impromptu dance choreography in bare feet. She has sung this song nearly a thousand times, and this evening, as before, one is cognizant of how she continues to overcome travails and tumult regarding her public persona played out in the media. "Nobody, but nobody is gonna rain" on her parade. Indeed, in Atlanta, this night, we eagerly joined her parade, breathlessly awaiting and savoring each new turn.
Finally, in a not-always-planned second encore, Streisand thanked the audience for its overwhelming warmth and simply sat on the stage to sing Charlie Chaplin's delicate "Smile." A relatively new song for her, Barbra performed it like a veteran, as lovely as her beautiful Movie Album or Tony Bennett duet versions. With this final number, Barbra Streisand finished the evening's unforgettable happening with grace, reinforcing her strong audience connection reflected in everyone's smiles while waving goodbye and weaving out the doors.
I have been a Barbra Streisand fan for over 30 years. I'm from Charleston, SC and had pretty much given up on ever getting to see Barbra Streisand in concert. The shows have always been too far away and too expensive. But after reading the New York Times review of her concert in New York and the description of hearing her live voice, I decided to try and get tickets to see her in Atlanta. Atlanta is 5 hours away and probably as close as Barbra will ever get to Charleston. Because of the price of the tickets, I spent three weeks on EBay finding good tickets at a discounted price. Two days before the show I finally had tickets in hand for the mezzanine section with a straight view of the stage. Yeah, with those seats, binoculars, and the large arena screens - it was a potentially a wonderful concert experience. There was an energy all around the Philips Arena in anticipation of Barbra's performance. Before the concert I met another ticket holder who I had told I had come up from Charleston to see the show. She said I was just saying that if Barbra was playing in Charleston I would walk from Atlanta to see her. Wow!
After her opening rendition of Starting Here Starting Now I knew every dollar I paid for the tickets and every mile I had driven were worth it.
The Atlanta crowd was warm and I think really impressed Streisand with their applause and love for her talent throughout the show. Her voice is just a marvelous gift that I feel so lucky to have heard live. There was some initial hoarseness which she herself noted. But somehow her voice just kept getting stronger. Unusual Way was the most powerful emotional song of the evening for me. She turned it into a one act play - like only Barbra can do with a song. When she sang Don't Rain On My Parade as her first encore she didn't miss a note. Wow! What a big song for an encore!
My only goal in going to the Atlanta concert was to hear Barbra sing live. That goal was met and so much more. She gave such a warm, positive heartfelt performance. The stories about politics, hecklers and drink throwing have made the news. But the real story is her incredible talent, positive energy and amazing voice which she shared with us. And maybe on this tour (at least in Atlanta) she felt our appreciation for her gifts.
Good job Barbra! Come back soon.
Jeff Grudin’s Review
I wasn’t going to go to any of the shows. Not because Barbra isn’t worth seeing, but because I couldn’t really afford it. I had seen Barbra in ’94, twice actually. I had the expensive seats, but the first pair of was in the 100 section of Madison Square Garden and I could barely see her. Through a friend, a ticket broker, I was able to get second row center for the next show. Although I paid double the face value ($700), nothing could ever compare to seeing Barbra so close and so perfect. Therefore, I felt I couldn’t go see her again if I weren’t up close like that. I really can’t afford to spend what I thought would be a minimum of $1500 on just one ticket and now it’s not just me, but my partner as well. Now, if you ever want to know if and where Barbra is going to perform live again, just follow my life. It happened in ’93 when I moved from Brooklyn to South Florida and then again when I just moved from South Florida to North Carolina. Barbra ends up performing where I moved from. My family still lives in Florida, minutes from the arena where she played. As a matter of fact I was there visiting for a few weeks and I left the day before the first Fort Lauderdale concert. We drove right passed the arena on the way to the airport; talk about a knife in the heart. I had been feeling pretty bummed that I wasn’t going. I had been reading all about the concerts right here and I was feeling envious to say the least. But, I knew it wasn’t in the cards. Then I spoke to a friend who had seen Barbra that first night in FL. This guy, actually a friend of my partner’s, is not the most demonstrative of people. He is not a major Barbra fan, per se. But he and his partner wanted to see her just so they could actually see her perform live. Well this friend said he could die happily now that he has seen Barbra perform. They loved the show. When I told my partner what our friend had said, his response was, “Well, I can’t say that.” I got really upset with him because he never pushed the issue of going, even at a lower price level. He said he knew I would never go unless I sat up front. Sparing you all the details of our “discussion” we ended up getting tickets for Atlanta. We were in a side section, not that far from the stage, the $752 seats. Overall, the seats were great. Just being there was great. The energy and the crowd were unbelievable. I don’t know if her goddaughter Callie was in the audience. But, I do know for a fact that John Travolta was there. I heard from some people who were there that said John was supposed to be there. These people, one I know through my sister, had gone and were going to multiple concerts. When we knew about the possibility of Travolta being there we were checking out the audience with binoculars. You never saw him enter or leave, not that I was paying closer attention to him over Barbra, but he was sitting third row on the right aisle. Not sure if Kelly Preston was with him or not. When Barbra was talking about the local food she looked into the audience and said, “Right Johnny.” Yes, Barbra’s voice is not what it was years ago. There is more hoarseness (actually a quality I like) and she did mention that at the concert. But, WHO CARES? She’s Barbra and no one; absolutely no one can do what she does with a song. No one can play with and to an audience like she does. No one has that “IT” factor that you always hear about quite the way Barbra has it. She still embellishes phrases in music the way she always has and makes each performance emphatically her own. It’s not like the performers of today who take a single note and try to make it sound better by warbling over and over again to make it seem like they actually can sing. Barbra doesn’t have to do that. She was very cute during Ma Premiere Chanson talking to the audience with Randy Waldman, her pianist, holding the mike. She was saying, “Do you think I can get through it without a mistake tonight?” She didn’t say “merde” at this performance. I must point out that I have always felt that What Are You Doing the Rest of You Life is something she sings to perfection and the concert was no different. She prefaced this song by saying something along the lines of, “This is for those of you who have found that perfect person in your life.” What a treat it was to be sitting next to my partner having Barbra sing that song just for us and just to us. Have I Stayed to Long at the Fair was a heart wrenching and poignant performance sung with more feeling then I thought possible. When the railing fell apart, during People, she said something along the lines of, “It’s in the moment,” and just continued with the song. That was a very real person, real life, moment. I can’t go into so many details as well as other who have reported on this site because so much of the evening is a blur. Being caught up in that moment, those moments, take you to another realm. A lot of the time, I just sat with my elbow on my knee and my chin in my hand with a silly grin on my face just trying to take it all in. In the first act when she changed after Il Divo came out, her jacket was much more sparkly than what she first had on. Also, she wore her white gold (or platinum) jewelry in the first act and changed to yellow gold jewelry for the black and gold Donna Karen dress. Thank you, Tim, my partner, for pointing that out. As far as Il Divo, I thought they were great. Yes, they may have been a little loud, but they were good. Their voices are classically trained and excellent. There were a few moments when they sang with Barbra that she was drowned out buy them, but I really have no complaints about them being there. As someone wrote in a review for another date, Barbra does look so much thinner in person that recent pictures indicate. She is still petite and looks very tiny in person. When she did the encore of Don’t Rain on My Parade and she sang the part of “At least I didn’t fake it,” I was forced to scream out with a loud “WOOO” which prompted the rest of the audience to join in. I just had to stress the fact that Barbra never faked anything throughout her career. That wasn’t the only time I screamed. When she said her voice was hoarse, I yelled, “It’s like buttah.” Not really sure if that was heard or not; but, again, it doesn’t matter if she’s hoarse or whatever, she gave her all throughout the entire show. The audience was very appreciative and cheered their butts off. The applause and response were totally positive during the Bush skit, which was cute and offered some hearty laughs. What more can I possibly say? I am thrilled that we actually went and we were able to experience Barbra together. Now, both my partner and I can say we can die happily knowing that we’ve seen Barbra perform live. Can’t wait for the CD and DVD releases.
With an early arrival to the Philips Arena and 20 minutes past showtime, I was anxious to at last hear the overture that would reveal the reason I was there to begin with- and out of the dark, out of nowhere, a beautiful blonde lady named Barbra Streisand entered the stage. I had 11th row seats, center stage, and can reassure that Barbra is NOT fat and looked absolutely stunning! Her entrance alone, of course, prompted a lengthy standing ovation that lasted at least 2 minutes.
The first bars of Starting Here, Starting Now rolled comfortably and flawlessly from her mouth, with a resonance that belongs to only one singer from this century. My neighbor to the left remarked: "It's like she just opens her mouth and this glorious sound comes out! Like it's coming from somewhere else!" I, of course, agreed wholeheartedly.
Despite Barbra's continuous apologies for being hoarse, her instrument NEVER failed her when she reached for the captivating notes she is most famous for. There were moments, however, when I could tell that she was struggling with her voice. She explained that the extra rehearsal time for the Ft Lauderdale taping was rigorous. Nonetheless, the control and resonance in her voice was impeccable; especially on the softer numbers, where each ending note was held just long enough to prompt chills and remind everyone in the arena why she stands alone with her vocal prowess.
The most notable performances were: Starting Here, Starting Now; Evergreen; Funny Girl; People; Unusual Way (wonderful number!), Have I Stayed Too Long at the Fair?; Somewhere; A Cock-Eyed Optimist; and Don't Rain on My Parade.
On a personal note- this was my second time to see Barbra perform (the first in D.C '94) and I can honestly say that Thursday night, November 2, 2006, I practically met my idol in person. Her affect was warm, personable, humble, and quite humorous. Barbra has truly grown to appreciate not only herself and her God-given talent, but her fans as well. And when she said "thank you" at the end of the show, SHE REALLY MEANT IT!!!! We could all feel it and it was an experience that I will never forget.
I genuinely hope that Barbra continues to tour, at her own pace, because she truly still has it! And she sounds even more incredible live than on record. She will make many more millions, bask in the warm glow of her loving fans, and create new memories for her fans young and old alike.
David Dozier's Review
Just got back from the show in Atlanta. It went very smoothly. The show started about ten minutes past eight. After Funny Girl overture, up she came from the stage and started "Starting Here, Starting Now." She told us it was great to be in Atlanta with our "suuuthern hospitality." The last time she played here was when she was pregnant with Jason--and she was singing outside at Fulton Stadium during a very wet night. Now, this time, she gets to be inside where it's dry. She mentioned some great places she ate before the show--mainly involving ribs and cheese cake. She shopped at antique stores here in town and bought an octagonal table for an octagonal room she is building. She set the records straight with the cup-throwing-incident. She got a "lovely letter" from the guy who was involved with the accident. It had nothing to do with politics. She also apologized for sounding hoarse--she said she got through taping in Florida for the television special. I think her god-daughter, Caleigh, was in the audience. She kept calling her name.
ACT I: wore the usual outfits. MISHAPS: 1)During the dialogue between Barbra and Il Devo, a mike went out on one of the guys, so Barbra covered for the guy. Someone from the audience yelled "turn your mike on!" 2) During "People," Barbra was sitting on the steps singing. She leaned over and grabbed the hand rail, only to have it pop off! She continued singing but said something to the effect of nothing's perfect. Hilarious.
ACT II: Donna dress with gold necklace and belt. There were two encore songs: Don't Rain On my Parade (reprise) and "because we were such a warm audience," she sang Smile.
It was a great night. Thanks for all the updates with each city. Hope my little bit helps from the Atlanta night.
Jump Menu Navigation ...
1960s Live Performances:
1970s & 1980s Live Performances:
1990s & 2000s Live Performances: