Streisand: 2006 North American Concert Tour

Chicago, Illinois

November 7, 2006

November 9, 2006

United Center

Streisand on stage in Chicago

This page:

Set List: November 7, 2006

Act One

Il Divo set:

  1. Unchained Melody
  2. Unbreak My Heart
  3. My Way (dedicated to Barbra)

Funny Girl Suite:

Act Two


Set List: November 9, 2006

Act One

Il Divo set:

  1. Unchained Melody
  2. Unbreak My Heart
  3. My Way (dedicated to Barbra)

Funny Girl Suite:

Act Two


Press Reviews & Photos

Daily Southtown Review

Music wins

By George Haas (November 9, 2006)

When you haven't toured in 12 years and your resume over that span includes "Meet the Fockers" and a slew of tabloid headlines, it's easy to see how some might forget that Barbra Streisand can sing.

The opinionated actress, activist and sometimes director, whose penchant for wearing her politics on her sleeve has made her a lightning rod for controversy, seems more Hollywood caricature now than musical icon.

She remedied that about three minutes into her performance Tuesday at Chicago's United Center when she took "Starting Here, Starting Now" up, up and away with the kind of rafter-soaring vocals most singers save for the encore. Streisand was just warming up.

Backed by a 50-piece orchestra, her wide-ranging concert leaned heavily on her Broadway roots and the early part of her career. She chatted easily with the crowd, shared some humor at her own expense and generally behaved not at all like the diva we'd come to expect.

OK, so there were several wardrobe changes (each outfit successively more spectacular than the first) and she did get the grand dame treatment from Il Divo, the operatic boy band who served as her backup singers on a couple of songs when they weren't fawning over her.

But for those expecting the famously liberal celebrity to hold court on the political issues of the day -- it was election night, after all -- the singer surprised all by keeping her comments to a minimum.

"It looks good" was all she said of her hoped-for Democratic victory in Congress, although a rendition of "Happy Days Are Here Again" could be construed as commentary.

At previous stops on her 20-city tour, Streisand had trotted out a George Bush look-alike to trade barbs, but he apparently had a previous engagement for the evening, much to the delight of most in the audience. (Be forewarned if you're attending Thursday's show. He'll be back on the bill.)

On Tuesday, it was all about the music.

While she sprinkled some of her hits into the mix, such as "The Way We Were" and "Evergreen," much of the show was an ode to her formative years, when she did summer stock and made "Funny Girl" a smash hit.

She offered up several numbers from the various stage and film versions of the production, belting out "My Man" with strength and conviction then bringing the crowd to its feet with a sublime and powerful rendition of "People."

I can't remember the last time a singer elicited goosebumps in concert.

At 64, Streisand has learned how to soften the blows of time. Her voice is deeper than it used to be but still quite expressive. Her new arrangements mostly play it safe, but she is more than capable of grabbing a note when she needs to and makes up for any deficiencies with acres of style.

It's a lesson her musical guests Il Divo could learn from. The Simon Cowell musical creation consists of four multi-national singers who have great voices but possess all the warmth and charisma of cardboard cutouts.

Their Spanish?-Italian? French?-language versions of Toni Braxton's "Unbreak My Heart" and Frank Sinatra's "My Way" were adored by the crowd, but the sight of two guys singing a love song to each other was over-the-top for me. It was like watching Andrea Bocelli crooning to Julio Iglesias -- not that there's anything wrong with that.

There was something very right with Streisand's song choices for the finish. Though the balky United Center acoustics sometimes caused her voice to echo, "This Shining Hour," "Children Will Listen" and an especially poignant rendition of ("Have I Stayed) Too Long at the Fair?" more than made up for any technical difficulties.

By the time she closed out the evening with a rousing "Don't Rain on My Parade," it was more than evident that this bird can still sing.

Chicago marquee

Chicago Sun-Times Review

Last of showbiz royalty

BY DAVE HOEKSTRA (November 9, 2006)

Barbra Streisand had yet to take the stage Tuesday at the United Center, but it was already clear this was not going to be just another gig. A woman near me clutched layers of white tissue stacked as tall as crooked Cook County ballots. She was crying, and the show hadn't even started.

As she passed the tissue down the aisle, people began screaming at television star Rosie O'Donnell, who was finding her seat near the front of the stage.

Welcome to Streisandland.

This was Streisand's first show in Chicago since August 1966, when she appeared at Soldier Field, and her first tour since 1994.

A Streisand concert is a coronation, like the bottle of milk at the Indianapolis 500 or the pajamas of silk on a honeymoon night. Tuesday's 2½-hour concert was sold out; tickets remain for tonight's show. Get there early. Fans must walk through airport-style metal detectors. Besides tissue, here are some other things to pack when you fly off to Streisandland:

•  Memories. One of the night's most sincere moments came when Streisand recalled a summer stock review she received when she was 15. The critic wrote lovingly about Streisand's beauty, adding, "Down, boys." Streisand said she couldn't believe someone could be so kind to an awkward teenager. Who hasn't been there?

She then took a deep breath and broke into a pristine section of "Funny Girl" and "The Music That Makes Me Dance," backed by her 50-piece orchestra. At 64, Streisand has enchanting midrange warmth and splendor. When she finished, she closed her eyes and shook her head -- as if the song had returned her to that 1957 summer-stock moment at the Malden Bridge Playhouse in upstate New York.

•  Politics. Streisand reported that the Democrats were ahead in Tuesday's House race and added, "Good things will happen." She then sang an emotive, measured version of "Happy Days Are Here Again," once the theme song for President Franklin D. Roosevelt. She opened the show with "Starting Here, Starting Now" (the overture from "Funny Girl"), which she sang at rallies for Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern in 1972. Streisand also complained how she is misrepresented in the media.

"It's been said I walked into a room and fired every musician on the left," Streisand said. "Anyone who knows me knows I would have fired everyone on the right." The crowd cheered.

•  Money. A Streisand program cost $40. When the gates opened at 6 p.m., fans formed long lines to have their picture taken in a booth with a black-and-white backdrop of a tiny Streisand under a big spotlight. That cost $20. But I couldn't find a Streisand shot glass.

•  Style. People showed up in suits, ties and evening gowns. I sat near Don and Elaine Blair of Yorkshire, England, who bought their $750 tickets a week ago on the Internet. They flew into Chicago on Monday, just for the show.

Dressing up the stage Streisand's set was sharp and minimalist with lighted runways and three lavish bouquets of flowers spaced across the stage. The concert opened with Streisand emerging from a riser wearing a long black slit skirt.

She's the last of America's regal performers, a must-see like Frank Sinatra or Sammy Davis Jr. She is an actress who understands how to get beneath a song, most apparent in "I Stayed Too Long at the Fair" and "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life." She has little interest in upbeat material. She included snippets of her 1971 pop crossover hit "Stoney End" (written by the late, great Laura Nyro) as a tradeoff for the missed Bush impersonation and admitted she "might be too mature to sing it."

She was right.

"Somewhere" was set up to be one of the big Barbra moments everyone near me was anticipating. Streisand introduced the "West Side Story" ballad as a song for "tolerance, compassion and peace" -- and she had me with her every step of the way ... until her special guests Il Divo wandered onstage.

Il Divo is a Simon Cowell operatic-pop concoction of four young dudes who look like they stumbled out of the movie "Swingers." Their bombastic vocals did nothing to enhance "Somewhere." Think Bee Gees on steroids. During Streisand's costume changes, II Divo sang pop standards like "Unchained Melody" in foreign languages. I guess that's supposed to be romantic. And with all the humility of Donald Rumsfeld, Il Divo dedicated the Sinatra standard "My Way" to Streisand. This is a good time to fetch a glass of wine.

Pedestrian stage patter Apart from the politics, Streisand's stage banter was cliched, name-checking famous Chicago eateries like Gino's East and Wiener Circle. (Locals know you go to Wiener Circle at 3 a.m., not 3 p.m. as she suggested). She was right on in lampooning Chicago media about the overdose of coverage of Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher's sprained big toe, and her recollection of her 1963 Chicago debut at Mister Kelly's was the perfect companion for the jazzy "Down With Love."

Toward the end of the night, Streisand reflected, "I actually feel the love more than years before." She said she was more open over her own growth, maturity and "letting it in." Then she belted out "My Shining Hour." This wasn't a farewell as much of a discovery, a shared moment in time that no one in the audience would deny.

Chicago Tribune Review

Hello, gorgeous!

Streisand worth the wait —and the ticket price—for her fans at United Center

By Chris Jones (November 8, 2006)

Barbra Streisand referenced two prior Chicago engagements in her Tuesday night concert at the United Center—one at Mr. Kelly's in 1963 (she said) and one at Soldier Field in 1966. That meant, incredibly, she hadn't sung here in 40 years—an interlude that might explain the willingness of thousands of her fans to pay up to $750 for the privilege of seeing her perform live.

There aren't too many entertainers left who flavor their patter with quotes from William Saroyan, or who can get 15,000 or more people to their feet with the likes of "Don't Rain On My Parade," and Streisand fans instinctively know their era is drawing to a close.

But watching her Tuesday, you'd swear this woman wasn't performing anywhere four decades ago, aside from her grade-school choir. Her hair gleaming, her articulate exuberance undimmed and her paradoxical vulnerability very much in evidence, she looks far younger than her 64 years. And more important, that famous Streisand instrument sounds very much at its peak. Some of the edges may be a little softer, but the new shading merely makes her singing more truthful. And say what you will about her, she has always been in the truth business.

Heavy on Broadway selections—Streisand performed a hefty chunk of the score to "Funny Girl," both stage and screen versions—her show offered ample chance to experience her singular interpretation of the American popular songbook. Often, that could be described as an intimate, conversational opening to a song followed almost immediately by an unconscious, swelling wave of sound that starts in the middle of a lyrical line and seems to overwhelm the actual singer as much as her audience.

On her famous second or third lines—"Children will listen," "Like the corners of my mind," "Are the luckiest people in the world"—Streisand's eyes would narrow slightly, as if a little surprised at what her astounding voice still could do. She was not alone.

Despite reports of tiresome partisan shenanigans from earlier in the tour, Tuesday night found the outspoken Democrat in a warm, mellow mood. By the second act (having checked the election returns in her dressing room) Streisand was even daring to gurgle "Happy Days are Here Again," albeit with caveat layered on top of the lyric. Her controversial George W. Bush impersonator had other things to do this election night (he's expected at the second United Center concert Thursday), but nobody seemed displeased when his absence was announced.

Streisand was joined at times by the band Il Divo, a group of four lite-opera singers who look like a Chippendale's act until they open their mouths and warble Andrew Lloyd Webber. These gentlemen shake the rafters with their colossal collective pipes, but they're a synthetic lot. "Regrets, I've had a few," they sang. Really? Like what, exactly? But then Il Divo is about musical sensualism, not truth. We had Streisand for that—and she probably didn't want the competition.

Most artists fire off a couple of local references—Streisand had a whole complex monologue involving, improbably, Gino's East and The Wiener's Circle. She had, she said, seen the Field Museum on the way in from the airport (she must have come from Midway) and planned to go see King Tut.

Both have a burnished kind of splendor. But no mummy she, Streisand would doubtless be the bigger attraction.

Daily Herald Review

This Democrat sure can sing

By Mark Guarino (November 08, 2006)

It would be hardly a surprise if Democrats on election night could be heard singing “Happy Days Are Here Again.”

At least one Democrat was: Barbra Streisand.

“I’m a big Democrat — what can I say? I do believe we need a change of direction and I think we’re going to get it,” she told the audience at the United Center Tuesday, the first of two nights. Then she delivered up-to-date election results. Then she sang.

Streisand is, amazingly, in her fifth decade of doing the latter. At age 64, she demonstrated her voice is more sumptuous than her recordings, some of which are submerged in production gloss. While her political views are not as nuanced — early tour stops included leveling an obscenity at a heckler and getting a drink tossed at her onstage — her singing voice renders every thought with a delicate vulnerability.

She is a diva for sure, but there were many moments Tuesday where she portrayed humility and longing to great effect. She became lost inside some of her most somber ballads (“Unusual Way,” “What Are You Doing the Rest Of Your Life?”), her marvelous interpretive skills transforming the large space into an intimate one.

Or was this all just good acting? After all, this was a show where, hanging from the United Center’s ceiling, was what could be the world’s largest teleprompter scrolling not just lyrics but stage banter between songs. (It could only take a scriptwriter to come up with lines like “I wish you many shining moments of your own.”) Streisand is obviously a perfectionist, but so skilled that her efforts became transparent.

Given news that recent shows on this tour included a George W. Bush impersonator, the stage was set for more of the same, amped up especially on election night. That would not be the case as, Streisand reported, her impersonator had another gig. So she sang. No one left disappointed.

Much of the two-hour, ten-minute show featured songs from “Funny Girl,” both the musical and film, as well as doses of big band jazz (“Down With Love”), pop (“Stony End”) and lush, orchestrated ballads (“The Way We Were”), aided by a 50-piece orchestra.

The show’s greatest misstep was the inclusion of Il Divo, an operatic group of four tuxedoed calendar hunks that backed Streisand up and was allowed their own three-song spotlight. If Streisand’s singing was like an artful smattering of raindrops, the booming voices of Il Divo coalesced into a highly pressurized hose. In a style spread by the “American Idol” generation, they butchered two of Streisand’s standards — “Evergreen” and “Somewhere” — with their bracing, booming, ham-fisted vocals. That this group was cobbled together by “Idol” judge Simon Cowell was evident.

The last third of the show (tickets remain available for Thursday), Streisand kicked off her heels and strode throughout the stage in a gown, her bare feet peeking out. As America was getting comfortable with the new election results that evening, she was already there.

Chicago Sun-Times Stella's Column

BY STELLA FOSTER (November 9, 2006)

THIS COLUMNIST EXPERIENCED a wonderful evening Tuesday listening to and watching a true legend perform. That is the only way to describe the awesome voice of Barbra Streisand, who had the practically sold-out United Center wrapped in musical luxury.

In all honesty, I have never been a Streisand groupie, but I certainly understand why her fans are so utterly devoted to her. Her voice is just exquisite.

Rosie O'Donnell, "The View" co-host, was in the house and has been following Babs from city to city. So it is safe to say that Rosie is the ultimate fanatical fan. (I, personally, couldn't sit through all those reruns).

Il Divo, aka the Four Tenors, added even more star power to the stage. I was the guest of my longtime good friends sports mogul William Wirtz and his lovely wife, Alice, along with sons Peter and Rocky Wirtz.

Other fans enjoying the evening included attorney TTom Tully and wife Ellen, former Chicago Police Supt. Terry Hillard and wife Dorothy, Malcolm X College prez Zerrie Campbell, Lou and Ruth Weisbach, Marg Korshak, IBM exec Barbara Mathews (another fanatic), and Dan and LaVerne Rostenkowski.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Review

Babs embodies musical royalty

Streisand's voice, persona still rich

By DAVE TIANEN (Nov. 8, 2006)

Once or twice a generation, there comes a personality that just fills the room. Sinatra was like that. So was Elvis, and so is Barbra Streisand. Advertisement

Barbra Streisand performs in Toronto last month. Her North American tour stopped in Chicago this week, with shows Tuesday and tonight at the United Center.

Streisand's personality had a large room to play in Tuesday night, but the veteran superstar seemed up to the assignment. Streisand's The Tour played the first night of two nights at Chicago's United Center (she performs again tonight). As a forum for one of pop's true grande dames, The Tour works well; as a musical summation of a major career, perhaps less so.

There's a certain duality to Streisand's on-stage persona. There's the wisecracking Jewish girl from Flatbush and then there's Empress Babs, the diva's diva. As one might expect, at 64, the Pop Empress side of Streisand has largely taken reign. Toward the end of the show, Streisand was wearing a black flowing dress with gold trim that made a queenly presence even more regal.

Everything about the show breathed Big Event. Out in the lobby programs were selling at $40 a pop. The massive rectangular stage was open in the interior, where a full orchestra was on station to support the main attraction.

One of the paradoxes of the Streisand persona is that she's this powerful, even outspoken presence who is visibly insecure.

Suspended from the ceiling and dotting the front and sides of the stage were monitors feeding the star not just her lyrics but even her between-song banter. The Tour seems disinclined to take a chance on spontaneity.

For all her talent, Streisand has always been a woman out of time. On her first album back in 1963, she wisely resisted pressure from Columbia to include some contemporary pop tunes. Even in her youth, Streisand belonged to an earlier era, the golden era of Broadway and the American songbook. She was a chanteuse mistakenly born in the era of rock. Four decades later, that remains her natural milieu.

The set list for The Tour is dotted with waysides from the dusty corners of her career. There's "Ma Premiere Chanson," from "Je m'appelle Barbra" an early effort she acknowledged as one of her poorest-selling albums. "Unusual Way" is a tune from "Nine" that didn't make the cut for "The Broadway Album." "Have I Stayed Too Long" was an album track from the earliest days.

A chunk of the first half of the show was devoted to material from "Funny Girl," an obvious landmark. "My Man" is the kind of big, booming ballad that suits Streisand's powerful voice and theatrical streak to a T. The evening was dotted with such show-stopping moments.

But it was also a show that never seemed to completely find its rhythm. There was always something to slow the momentum. At one point she stopped to answer written audience questions, but they turned out to be boring inquiries such as "What's Oprah really like?" and "Did you enjoy staying with Rosie O'Donnell?"

Simon Cowell's popera quartet, Il Divo, was on hand, filling time between costume changes for the star and duetting with Streisand several times. I'm sure it has female fans, but Il Divo seems like four male models with voice lessons. The aesthetic of opera doesn't necessarily fit the nuances of pop singing, so we were left with booming, chesty renditions of "Unchained Melody" or "Unbreak My Heart" sung in other languages. They mostly just got in the way of the queen on "Somewhere" and "Music of the Night."

Somewhat surprisingly, Streisand cut back the political content on election night. It turns out her Bush impersonator had the night off. It was probably just as well. As Streisand acknowledged, "I wear my politics on my sleeve, and some of you don't like that."

There isn't any other comedic content in the show, so dropping a five-minute skit of Bush-bashing in between "Unusual Way" and "Happy Days Are Here Again" must make for an awkward segue. Unfortunately she filled the space with a redone "Stoney End." After pronouncing herself too mature for the song, she redressed it in a Broadway-ish arrangement that mostly proved Laura Nyro doesn't look good in grease paint.

Given Streisand's age and the infrequency of her tours, it's tempting to look at each performance as a grand farewell. Before Monday's show I went back and listened to the double-disc of her 1994 Madison Square Garden concert. As a summation of a major career it still sets a standard that The Tour can't touch.

Fan Reviews: November 9 Show

Lance Krystopher's Review

I've never seen Barbra live in person (on stage) before, so I was looking forward to this evening as a once-in-a-lifetime event.   The 11/9 show in Chicago was the usual fabulous Barbra, although her voice was noticeably hoarse and seemed a bit weak on the Streisand scale. It was only only really noticeable during the high or sustained notes, of which she deliberately didn't sing too many during the evening. There were very few vocal acrobatics during this performance, especially during act 1. Her slightly imperfect voice, however, made her seem all the more real for me. If she had sounded too perfect, it would have seemed surrealistic. When she did perform a song too perfectly this evening, it was just like listening to a record.

So I really enjoyed the few less-than-perfect notes because it made it easier to remember that this was Barbra LIVE and in person! (Ya know what I mean?)   Babs opened the show wearing a black beaded floor-length slit skirt and matching cardigan, over a dark grayish-silvery beaded top. After the Il Divo segment (ugh) she reappeared in a black beaded cardigan (may have been the same cardigan she opened with) but with a matching black beaded top underneath it this time. Black beaded pants completed the ensemble.   I didn't get a chance to write down a question at the "Ask Babs" table, but if I had been able, I would have asked her "Why does one of the "ILL DIVOS" call you "Bah-buh-ruh Stree-zoond" when he's been on tour with you for long enough to know how to pronounce your name? (It wasn't even done to be funny; the guy just can't pronounce her name!) Il Divo should have been canned. They were boring, loud, vulgar additions to an otherwise magical evening. It seemed like Barbra must have been doing someone a BIG favor by including them in her show. They were beneath her stature, and were quite superfluous to the evening. Lots of people left their seats during the Il Divo segment, although they did get one standing ovation.  

I didn't write down the entire set-list because I didn't want to take my eyes off Barbra to look down at a piece of paper to write it. However, the basic set-list was the same as in the past several shows, with a few notable differences: In act 2, "Woman in the Moon" preceded "Have I Stayed Too Long at the Fair". The Bush skit was back, and was very funny. Obviously parts of it had been rewritten since the Tuesday elections. Bush said about Tuesday's election results, "We was thumped". Babs said "Thumped? Define thumped." Bush said "Thumped means we took a good old fashioned Texas ass-whooping!" Bush tried to entice Babs into a duet, which thankfully she declined.   Speaking of the election, Barbra added "Woman in the Moon" to the show, dedicating it to a woman politician who was just the first woman to be elected (Tuesday) to the senate or something (I forgot her name, it's after midnight and I just got home from the show, sorry I can't remember her name or elected position!). Barbra's voice was a bit hoarse on this number, and surprisingly, her voice gave out on a couple of notes during a simple phrase. (Maybe she just had a frog in her throat at that point in the song?) She recovered nicely by following with a very lush version of "Have I Stayed Too Long at the Fair", during which she finally hit the first big money notes of the evening, in her unimitatable Streisand style! It was pure heaven, although the big notes made me suddenly realize how much she had been holding back until this song.  

We were granted 2 encores; the first being the B'way reprise of "Don't Rain on My Parade". To see Babs kicking her legs up as she crossed the stage was a treat. She looked like she was actually enjoying herself! I know I was!   Barbra saved "Happy Days" for the second encore, adding the original opening verse. Babs said "During this tour I haven't been singing the opening verse to this next song, but tonight is different" and launched into the  opening with "So long sad times..."

Restaurants mentioned were "Food World" in Water Tower Place (Chinese & Italian),  Portillo's (giant red hots with everything on them), and Nancy's Cupcakes (which no one in the audience seemed to have heard of, including me!) for very small cupcakes with buttercream frosting.

During her Il Divo break, Babs said she was taking a break to go back and take off her shows and eat some "Joe's Stone Crabs" in her dressing room.  

Famous faces in the crowd:  Chicago's Mayor Daley (whom Barbra acknowledged from the stage), and Jesse Jackson (unacknowledged). Many other local politicians were on hand who hadn't been able to attend the Tuesday show due to the election. No sign of Oprah or Rosie O'Donnell, despite the rumors.   The couple sitting next to me told me they had just driven in from Ohio. They were upset because they had third-row seats to the cancelled Detroit show, and the seats they had tonight were the best Streisand's people could get them for any of the other shows. I guess I'd have been bummed too if I had third row seats and the show was cancelled!   I enjoyed my once-in-a-lifetime evening with Barbra Streisand very much, and I'll never forget the experience. I had to keep pinching myself to remind myself that I wasn't dreaming it. To quote Linda Richman: "I've seen Barbra... now I can die!"

Beth Laske's Review

I just got back from seeing Barbra Streisand perform at the United Center in Chicago, IL on Nov.9, 2006.

She was wonderful!!

Seeing her perform was a chance of a lifetime!  Her voice is beautiful, she is funny, and she had some very meaningful things to say.  (And I thought the Bush skit was funny!)

I am so happy I had this oppurtunity to see her perform.

Farbrent Fan Martin's Review

Here's the news from the 2nd Chicago show.....Barbra's voice was huskier and hoarser than the 2 other shows I have seen, but she still amazes!!!  (She attributed her hoarseness to cheering all night Tuesday)  Indeed the recent election results put her in a great mood throughout and she mentioned it quite a few times in the second act...more on that later.  There are so many moments where I feel she casts a spell on the audience and the crowd is in awe and joy listening to her that a bit of hoarseness or rough spots are more than overlooked.  Beacuse past that there is an amazing belt that thrills you.

Oprah was again in attendance (in the first row with the spotlight often illuminating her weave)and Barbra spoke to her "Hey girlfriend"and later introduced "my good friend Oprah" to the crowd.  Also when Barbra was singing Evergreen, Oprah must have been singing along because Barbra encouraged her with "You sing it girl".  She also singled out Jesse Jackson later as well

She is noticeably thinner than a month ago in New York and so much more relaxed in Atlanta and Chicago than in NY. 

Her Q & A was great.  Someone asked when she would write her memoirs and she said in that infinite Brooklyn Jewish inflection..."Please it took me 40 years to write 10 songs, so I don't know when I'll get to it ...but I want to...I'm waiting to see how it all ends." Another question was "How do you look so good at your age and she said."Well this dress for instance covers a multitude of sins....and I enjoyed every one."

The Bush sketch went over so much better now that America has spoken and once again Barbra was ahead of the curve.  He even did a funny line about getting a "thumpin" to which Barbra asked what is a thumpin? and he said "it's a good old fashion texas ass-whooping ... your butt is blue for 2 years afterward."  She is really having fun with it and the crowd reacted in the same manner. 

Afterward, she started to say "When I first sang this song in 1976 in the film A Star is Born...." and fans went wild...myself we knew she was about to sing "Woman In The Moon"...She went on to say how few women there were in government at that time and now Nancy Pelosi is the first female speaker of the house....Well it was wonderful to hear Barbra sing this amazing song .... what I have always felt was an alternative anthem of sorts ..... the ferocity with which Barbra sings..."they believe that strange is a word for wrong...well not in my song".... although she sang a shortened version with one verse and chorus.  Tons of fans throughout the arena screamed out "Thank you" afterwards and Barbra answered "You're welcome."  

To me the highlights of all 3 concerts are the Funny Girl suite and the You Have To Be Carefully Taught / Children Will Listen medley into Unusual Way into What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?  This is where the genius of Barbra shines through she takes a song and makes it new and yet a definitive version of it every time she sings it.  Her performance of "Nine" in particular, has grown tremendously and I would bet it is a favorite of hers to perform.  In Atlanta she singled it out and said "don't you love that song it's from the musical NINE" ....and this time in Chicago the crowd loved it ....again as if a spell was cast.  That is a  great challenge with a little known gem.

The other change in the set list was for her final encore...she was clearly thrilled by the tremendous response of the audience ...Chicago was really happy to see her .....She said "This is the first time I have sung the verse to this song on the tour...and then she launched into... "So Long sad times.....go long bad times...." and of course that led to a gorgeous version of "Happy Days Are Here Again!"

Anyway I fell blessed to have seen Barbra 3 times this tour and thank everyone for all their reports from the different shows.  Another beautiful thing about these concerts is being there with the true fans who understand and love BARBRA and her gift in their very soul!!!

November 7 Show Fan Reviews

Streisand live on stage

Notes from a Fan on the "Ask Barbra" Segment ...

First question: The PEOPLE album was shot on Lakeshore Drive.

Second question: "What's Oprah like?". Barbra responds, "Wait a second ... You use an 'Ask Barbra' card to ask about Oprah? You go to her show, ya know what I mean?" (laughs). "She's lovely, I love her. We have a lot in common: dieting, eating, dieting ..."

Third question: Ernesto from Italy asks if he'll ever hear one word spoken from her to him. Barbra speaks Italian to him.

Fourth question: Janice asks how Barbra enjoyed staying at Rosie's house in Miami. Barbra laughs because Rosie is in the audience tonight. "I loved it. I had such a great time. It was a home away from home for me ... Our hotel room fell apart at the last minute, there was construction all of a sudden. Rosie was generous enough to let us stay there, so thank you again, publically ...

Fifth question: Nick and Judy tell Barbra that they went to NY in 1965 to see her in Funny Girl and she did not perform that day. Barbra says, "The funny thing is I only missed ONE PERFORMANCE..." (laughs). "That's the day you came?"

Sixth question: From Miami. "I've loved all your comedies. Are you funny in real life?" Barbra says, "People say I am, but most of them work for me." (Laughs).

Seventh question: "We flew from San Antonio tonight because George Bush is in Texas. Any idea where else we can go to avoid him?" (Laughs) Barbra explains that Steve Bridges had another engagement for tonight and she'll not do the Bush skit.

Streisand in Chicago

David's Review

Got back home today. I can’t really add anything to the reviews people have already submitted. Barbra was awesome. She was cool, she rocked, she was relaxed, she was confident. She did sound a little husky on some notes, but I liked it and thought it was kinda sexy! “Down boy!” She looked good too, the opening outfit with the flash of leg and the heels was tremendous, and I agree with people who say she looks thinner than at the start of the tour.   Couple of little bits that I don’t think have been mentioned, apologies if they have.   After she sang (acted) "Have I stayed too long at the fair?” which was exquisite, someone shouted, in a perfectly stunned, hushed arena - "You take my breath away!" It was so apt, and everyone in the place said "Awww!" Barbra responded by saying "Thank you, thank you, what a nice thing to say". To cap it off, someone else shouted "Me too". Barbra pulled a face as if to say "Oy!". It was cute.   After Stoney End, she said "I can’t understand why people like it so much", or words to that effect. Someone shouted back "Because you sing it so well", however Barbra couldn’t quite catch it cause other people began praising her.   Also, Il Divo! I must admit that I wanted more Barbra but, my wife likes them so it made it a better night for her too. I'm not in the habit of dissing other people and their likes/dislikes. The fact is Il Divo make [u]a lot[/u] of people happy. That cant be a bad thing. I also respect the fact that Barbra has made the decision to have them in the show, and if it's fine with her, it’s fine with me.   Final point – cannot wait now for the CD/DVD to hear the golden tones again, especially the new songs, Unusual Way, Cockeyed Optimist and Shining Hour, and the songs missed out from earlier performances like When the sun..., Where or When etc!! However, some more dates wouldn't go amiss!! (London Barbra?….hint!!)  

Anyway, the short break in Chicago I've had has been worth all the jet lag I've suffered, gonna go n sleep it off now!!!

Photo by Donald Shepard

Alex's Review

Tonight was the night of my life. There's no cliche about it. Ever since I was a little boy it has been my dream to see Barbra Streisand. Even before my arrival I knew things were going to go perfectly. My party and I stopped in a suburb of Chicago for dinner before the show, and would you believe it, "You Don't Bring Me Flowers Anymore."

When we arrived in the city I got chills, for the first time in my life I was in the same city as Barbra Streisand, and in the same venue.

The show started about 20 minutes late, and it was worth every second.

The "FUNNY GIRL" overture hit, and I got chills all down my spine! Fate and time had finally brought me to the main event of my young adult life. Seeing Barbra Streisand!

Barbra was SPOT-ON tonight!

The George Bush skit was cut tonight, for obvious reasons (since it was election day, after all). So she decided to do the new version of "Stoney End" in its place.  It was awesome!  The audience loved it.

The ASK BARBRA segment was AMAZING!

The audience was absolutely amazing!  You could tell Barbra was very pleased!  There were several interactions between Barbra and the fans.  You could really tell she loved it.    When she finished the REPRISE of "Don't Rain On My Parade" she was given a thunderous applause, it sent chills down my spine again!  And she then came back out, sat on the steps and sang "Smile."  She never sounded better.

Barbra's vocals were completely lovely. She proved herself to be better than ever. She is the greatest star and I am proud to call myself a Barbra Streisand fan.

Rosie O'Donnell at Streisand concert

Rosie O'Donnell held a pre-concert party in Chicago and shot some footage for a documentary she was working on, all about Streisand's adoring fans. (Photos, above, courtesy of David A. and Mark W. Right photo is of David and Mark during the interview; Left photo is of Rosie as she was arriving at the party venue [Carmichael's Steak House].)

Charley's Review

She is truly amazing…I came all the way from Texas, where when I was 15 happen to see this creature on TV (they were showing “Funny Girl”) and I was completely mesmerized and have been ever since… had good seats (Sec. 109, 10 rows up), could see the stage very well, but couldn’t really see facial expressions…kept trying to not look at the monitors (“I’ll see that view on the special”, I told myself), but couldn’t look away from that amazingly expressive face… just the right  look for just the right lyric…no one does it better….and that voice….heavenly….perfection….SO EXPRESSIVE….to hear it in person was beyond wonderful (as an audience member yelled out, she takes my breath away)….

Il Divo…..beautiful solos and duets here and there, but overall as a group WAY TOO LOUD….sounded like 4 soloists trying to out sing each other...could learn a thing or two from Streisand…sometimes less is more…she would go up to a note and then just let it float there in space…I’ve heard it repeatedly in her recordings, but again, to hear it live…

The connection between her and the audience was palpable…truly touching….so glad to be apart of it…an experience I will never forget it…She is the greatest singer of our time and I was there!

Steph's Review

Where can I start? Well first I got to meet so many wonderful Barbra fans at the Rosie tail-gate party. It was so nice to share in this joy with true Barbra fans like myself. My grandmother and I were interviewed for the documentary and I was so happy to be there that when Rosie pulled up I just lost all the emotion. I began to sob. Rosie was amazing. She is gorgeous!! As she came up my Nana yelled "I made you cookies."

Now when my grandmother wrote to Rosie for the tailgate she promised Rosie homemade cookies if she could go. When Rosie heard this she yelled "you are the one with the homemade cookies?" As my Nana gave her the cookies I gave her two roses one for her and one to give Barbra. I told her "you are a true inspiration thank you". She said "oh sweetie" she grabbed me in a hug and kiss she then asked my name and what was my Barbra story. I told her I was here with my grandma and as I pointed to her she goes , "oh the cookie lady I love you". After she talked to others I asked her if my nana and I could have a photo and she said of course. As I was approached by her she started to sing "Don't Rain on My Parade". I started to sing with her she grabbed my hand and we sang it together bouncing. IT WAS AMAZING!! I told Rosie to please tell Barbra how much she means to us all. Rosie replied, "Oh I will but it is really hard for her to hear it from me that is why I am making this documentary to show her how much you do love her." She promised me she would tell her and give her the rose but she said, "I can't promise her cookies will make it to her because they look too good to share."   After that my night just got better. I met three great men who had come from Oklahoma and Chicago to see her. We enjoyed the moments as Barbra entered in a new black glittery skirt with a blazer on top. HOT MAMA!! She said "Hello Chicago" and then said looking at Rosie, "and there's the Rose". It was sweet.   Her voice was magnificent. Every chill I felt was genuine and heart felt. She made the tears flow once again and my heart was full of joy. The audience soaked in her love.   Steve Bridges was not there last night —he had a previous engagement— so Barbra sang us "Stoney End". FABULOUS!!! She answered questions about Oprah, the People album, and even got asked what it was like living in Rosie's house and she said "it was a home away from home we loved it", "I had the greatest time in your arts and crafts room Rosie". It was so great to hear her personally thank Rosie very touching.   The highlights for me was when she sang "Somewhere". Again, this was the song that saved my life and to hear her hit those notes for me was a thrill. The joy I felt I cannot really describe. Also Barbra came out for two encores, "Don't Rain on My Parade" and "Smile". When she began "Smile" she said "this is dedicated to all the loves we have lost and the loves of our pets" as she said "pets", Barbra began to cry. She pulled the microphone away and had to take a few deep breaths. I am sure the vision of her last dog passed through her mind, which is who she sings the song for every time. There was not a dry eye in that arena after that song. When she came back to kiss us goodbye I looked through my binoculars and Barbra had tears streaming down her face. She was patting her heart and fanning her eyes. She said thank you I love you so much about twenty times.   As Barbra left the stage I was left with a sight of a beautiful women filled with love for us all. And that is who Barbra truly is. She loves us and this country and wants to make it better. That's who Barbra Streisand is — an American citizen. My life is ever changed from her deeds and love.   Thank you Jason, Jerry, Aaron, Tammy, my Nana, Rosie and of course Barbra for making my dreams come true. My life will never be the same and I will live every day with the memory of this past night. Thank you again Rosie for putting the tail-gate together you are an inspiration and light to the world. Barbra thank you for saving me and making my dreams come true. Never change and stay beautiful as always.

Tigh's Review

What an astounding evening!!! Barbra looked and sounded fantastic!   The crowd went wild as the last of the overture finished and Barbra rose up from center stage in a white spotlight. She was very shocked by the audience reactions to her and explained that it had been 40 years since she has last been in Chicago (December 1966 - which happens to be three months after I was born!). She went on to explain how the city had changed and how exciting it was, that she really wanted to go to see the King Tut exhibit at the Field Museum but that she got sidetracked by all the delicious food and restaurants; mentioning the deep dish pizza at Gino's East and the Red Hot Chicago Dogs smothered in onions and peppers from Weiner's Circle .   Her voice was just spectacular and has a new found huskiness to it, which added an extra special level to the quiet songs like Funny Girl, Have I Stayed Too Long at the Fair, and My Man. The "new" songs: Unusual Way with it's haunting melody and My Shining Hour sounded just beautiful and were well received. The new take on the old Rogers and Hammerstein's Cockeyed Optimist was delightful and it was obvious she liked sing an new song and reveling in the message it brought.   Since I had seen her in 1994 in Detroit it was interesting to compare the two shows. Last evening the whole show seemed so much more relaxed and off the cuff unlike the big "stage" production of The Concert. The Q&A section was great, and she joked that lucky for us it was election night, so there would be no George Bush skit - then added in her best Brooklynese: "What? Now you're disappointed!?"  So, with the crowd's great cheer, we got a "new" version of Stoney End instead! When she did get a little political what she had to say was really special. She stated that it wasn't that people were Democrats or Republicans but that we were all Americans and that we should all be working for a better United States.   The first music I ever remember hearing as a kid was Barbra's People album - which of course has became one of my favorite albums (my mother even used to sing those songs to me as a infant instead of baby songs). It wasn't until after I moved to Chicago some 17 years ago that discovered that the cover of that album was shot on North Avenue beach here in Chicago. Then, to have her pull out that album last night and talk about that she shot it here, I felt that my Barbra experience had truly come first circle. The first music I ever remember and probably the last time I will ever see Barbra again.   I had waves of chills through most of the evening, especially at the first encore when she just NAILED the Don't Rain on My Parade reprise from Funny Girl. Hearing her sing it with new gusto and understanding and wisdom she had gained in her later life. When she finally returned for the last encore to sit on the edge of the stairs and simply and beautifully sing Smile, it truly moved me. It was all about the music and her voice at that one true moment and then she moved softly into the night leaving us with memories we shall never soon forget. 

Jacqueline's Review

I saw Barbra live for the first time in my life, after at least 35 years of being - in my most humble opinion- the most touched-by-her fan ever. I was not disappointed. From the moment she rose from beneath the stage to appear and I realized it was BARBRA, live, in front of me, it felt like a realized dream. Her voice was HER, her persona vibrant, she was touchable and untouchable the way Barbra always is - the emotion in the audience was palpable and mine was unaffected - sheer joy and awe!!

I agree with the reviews I've read - who are Il Divo and why were they interrupting our time with our Barbra, especially drowning her out in two of her signature pieces, "Evergreen" and "Somewhere"? Barbra stands far apart from the cookie-cutter American Idol fodder, and she should remain a departure from all that is new music. She brings so much more and I for one do not need to experience her with some silly proper boy band that might be an obvious attempt to bring her into this century - she owns the last and to me, continues into this one. Her voice is unparalleled. Period. She is flawless even with her flaws. She delivered 100% and at the risk of sounding kooky and corny, I can die happier now that I've been in the same room with her.

John Van Keulen's Review

40 years and 3 months ago (on Thursday 11/9) Barbra performed in Chicago-- August 9th, 1966, at Soldier Field. My ticket was $28.50--that was top price! She was glorious then, and she was even MORE glorious (to me) last night at the United Center.

It was certainly worth the wait--granted I have traveled to the Mountain several times--Vegas, Detroit, Vegas again--but finally the Mountain came back to me. Truly the greatest vocalist of the last century, and maybe any century, Barbra possesses a heavenly gift that was surely her destiny AND our good fortune to be alive now to be witness to it.   Her first record was released when I was 13 years old. I have never for instant not been totally enthralled by her. As a matter of fact I love her more as time goes by--and as far as her voice goes I've loved it more since she hit her 40's. Just like a fine Stradivarius--her voice is richer and more soulful than it ever was in her 20's. However, make no mistake that voice was a force to be reckoned with and I love the records from those times as well. If some of the high notes are gone, what has replaced them are notes that speak of a life's experience and perspective that far out weigh the sound of the youthful high register. Once you add that quality to the ability Barbra the actress can convey with phrasing and imagination, it's all very clear why she has remained an icon and why she was the first artist referred to as a "superstar". That is what becomes a legend most!   I won't do a song by song review as some of my fellow fans of Babs have done here--but only because I would end up writing so much it would be ridiculous! I mean, ("if I hear another I mean...") after all these years on this incredible journey with Barbra I have earned a masters degree in Streisand History class. How could I ever keep it short? So, then what can I say about last night? I loved it and her--thank you Barbra.

We didn't get the George Bush skit. We did get the "new" version of "Stoney End", and we did get a very warm Barbra. My favorite moments song wise were "Funny Girl", "The Way We Were", "Unusual Way", and "Have I Stayed Too Long At The Fair". The latter, cut through me, and I sat there with tears streaming down my face. Breathtaking! It was all great, and quite the big event. I eagerly look forward to the CD and the DVD so I can repeat all of the moments--over and over!

So, what do you think...we do this again in another 6 years?


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