Streisand: 2006 North American Concert Tour
Montréal, QC, Canada
- Funny Girl (Broadway) Overture - Bill Ross, Conductor
- Starting Here, Starting Now
- Down With Love
- The Way We Were
- Come Rain or Come Shine
- Ma Premiere Chanson
- Evergreen (with Il Divo)
Il Divo set:
- Unchained Melody
- Unbreak My Heart
- My Way (dedicated to Barbra)
Funny Girl Suite:
- Don't Rain on My Parade
- Funny Girl
- The Music That Makes Me Dance (partial)
- My Man
- Bill Ross Entr'acte
- Music of the Night (Barbra & Il Divo)
- When The Sun Comes Out
- 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)
Montreal Gazette Review
By: Mary Lamey
Monday, October 16, 2006
It took Barbra Streisand 46 years to make her Montreal debut and she must have wondered why she’d stayed away so long.
It was love at first sight between the 64-year-old diva and a well-heeled, well-behaved Bell Centre crowd that had waited a long time to hear her live. They rewarded her easily and often, beginning with the standing ovation that erupted when she rose magically at centre stage as the 58-piece orchestra played the overture from Funny Girl.
Five shows into a 16-city, 20-concert tour, La Streisand was in vintage form as she worked through a thick back catalogue of pop, film and Broadway hits.
Her voice, lush as a sun-ripe peach, made the cavernous hockey barn sound like Carnegie Hall.
The only slight vocal glitch was the frog in her throat that gave Down With Love a little extra rasp early in the evening. Otherwise, the show was like buttah, full of familiar hits, lush orchestral backing and tightly scripted monologues.
Streisand made no bones about her reliance on the TelePrompter suspended high in the rafters. She explained that in 1967, during her celebrated free concert in Central Park, she’d forgotten the words to three songs.
The episode so mortified her that she gave up live performances until 1986. Dressed at the beginning of the show in a flowing black sequined skirt, with matching top and jacket, she charmed the crowd in French, saying she had studied the language, but needed to study more.
She even sat down at the Steinway to play one of her own rare compositions, Ma Premiére Chanson, a song from her Je m’appelle Barbra album. She joked the record was not one of her hits, having taken “something like 40 years” to go gold.
The rest of the program was much less obscure, thanks to beloved ballads like The Way We Were, Come Rain or Come Shine, People and Evergreen. Great song, Evergreen, and Streisand was in fine voice as she launched into the low-key opening verse.
Too bad the mood was broken by the arrival of Il Divo, an Armani-clad quartet whose three-song set of “popera” stylings gave the star time to catch her breath and change outfits. “I didn’t pay $375 to hear Unchained Melody sung in Italian,” groused one woman in the bathroom queue during intermission. “Them, I could have lived without.”
Early reviews prepared the crowd for the evening’s other special guest, George W. Bush, as incarnated by Steve Bridges.
It wasn’t as painful as the New York Times made it sound. On the other hand, stand-up isn’t the multi-faceted Streisand’s strong suit. Most people would no more expect her to slay with political one-liners than they would Jerry Seinfeld to kill with a medley from Funny Girl.
Babs and Dubs traded pleasantries. He said he wanted to sing a duet, she proposed Guilty, What Kind of Fool Am I and, to the crowd’s delight, Enough Is Enough.
Bush-bashing out of the way, Streisand brought the show home on an inspirational note, quoting playwright William Saroyan as she urged her listeners to “seek goodness everywhere.”
She sang I’m a Cock-Eyed Optimist and A Place for Us, again assisted by Il Divo. Deadline beckoned, but here’s betting she got a long and loud ovation and closed out the night with Don’t Rain on My Parade and Smile.
Globe and Mail Review
Streisand is majestic in Montreal
By: ALAN CONTER
Barbra Streisand with Il Divo At the Bell Centre
Streisand, the tour's name, couldn't be more perfect — it captures a classy, elegant, back-to-basics Barbra. In fact, the only embarrassing note during the evening — apart from briefly elevating Jean Charest to prime minister of Canada — was the Bush repartee with Steve Bridges after the intermission. It was too cutesy by half and with as much political bite as an old-school hockey player without his dentures. You could almost understand why the pickled New York fan who just wanted to hear her sing last week might have been tempted to heckle.
But at the Bell Centre in Montreal, unlike the New York City gig, there were no hecklers, no expletives, just tons of adulation from the 18,000-plus audience that packed the Canadiens' home.
It was clear that this 20-date tour that includes three Canadian nights, one in Montreal and two in Toronto, is a magnet for diehard Streisand fans from all over. Maritimers, Torontonians, New Englanders and a smattering of Europeans who couldn't buy their way into other venues were partying with their diva in Montreal.
And why not? It has been 27 years since Streisand has toured and devotees will go anywhere, any time to bask in her radiance.
Fans will remember the CBS television specials she did when she was barely 20, My Name is Barbra and Color Me Barbra. They caught the Camelot black-tie chic of the Jackie O White House. The shimmer of upscale Manhattan basted over the entire U.S. This concert starts there. As the house lights fade to black, a large raked rectangular stage ramped by illuminated rails and punctuated with arrangements of pink and red roses encircles a 68-piece orchestra. The original Broadway overture to Funny Girl begins and then there she is, in a black sequined dress and jacket, soaking up the roar of the crowd. Soon, we're into Starting Here, Starting Now and everyone's in heaven . . . for a time.
A worrisome dry cough? Please say it isn't so. Here's what sets megastars from the rest of the pack. Yes, there's a bit of hoarseness, but it doesn't faze Streisand and soon she's in fine full voice.
Besides, this is a forgiving crowd, one that just wonders why, after so many personal visits to Montreal, this the first concert. As she acknowledges Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Grégoire, in the crowd, she reminisces about visiting Pierre Elliott in ‘69 and there we are, a lovely segue into Memories.
Soon, we're into Harold Arlen, and an up-front explanation for the Teleprompter and how the Central Park concerts of 27 years ago where she forgot her lyrics really did freak her out. Et puis, Ma Première Chanson — a French song she wrote when she was 18. Of course Montreal is one of the few cities where Je m'appelle Barbra actually sold well. True to the chauvinism that even anglo Montrealers feel when out-of-towners speak French, the crowd loved it.
It was only about 20 minutes into the show that she introduced Il Divo, the quartet of fine voices from Spain, Switzerland, France and the States. They are strong, clear and accomplished stylists when singing full out in unison, yet arena concert bowl acoustics are such that they become something like the roar of the surf — but they provided strong back-up and allowed the star an unhurried costume change.
Funny Girl tunes closed out the first part of the concert and here was vintage Barbra with that inimitable — despite legions of drag queens who try — pacing. The intermission was restorative, because when she returned in a black toile dress with gold sash, she was in full voice. From the song her son had penned for her, Children will Listen, through I Stayed Too Long At the Fair from Color Me Barbra, she turned the Bell Centre into an intimate lounge setting.
She was so good-humoured and generous with her audience, how could they not forgive the silly political comedy? Besides, Steve Bridges does do a good George W., the shtick just needs some writing.
People came for Streisand, and they were rewarded with very fine Streisand.
Le Devoir Review
[* Translations for Barbra Archives by Silvio Palmieri — thank you!]
Barbra Streisand au Centre Bell - Tous les superlatifs, au centuple!
Barbra Streisand at the Bell Center- All the superlatives multiply by hundreds
Sylvain Cormier Édition du lundi 16 octobre 2006
Pas moyen de dire ça autrement, nous étions 18 000 à le constater hier au Centre Bell: oui, 18 000 fois oui, Barbra Streisand est à 64 ans comme à quarante, comme à vingt, la plus grande chanteuse de l'univers connu.
I've no other way to say it, we were 18,000 to notice it yesterday at the bell center: Yes, 18,000 times yes, Barbra Streisand is at 64 years old, like at 40, like at 20 years old, the best singer of the known universe.
C'était vrai quand elle chantait People à Central Park en 1967, c'est encore vrai quand elle nous a chanté People à nous en fin de première partie : personne de vivant n'a ce sens inné de la nuance, cette douceur infinie du timbre, cette puissance du coffre (jamais ouvert en vain), cette pureté de la note tenue à volonté, ce mélange unique de totale classe et de sacré chien. Pour donner la juste mesure de ce qui nous était donné à voir et à entendre pour la première fois à Montréal -- un privilège, même à 375 $ les meilleures places --, il faut chercher chez les morts. Chez Sinatra, Judy Garland, Billie Holiday, voire la Callas, comme disait le collègue Brunet et renchérissait le collègue Rezzonico, dans notre recherche commune d'une comparaison digne d'elle, qui a duré l'entracte : Barbra est dans cette ligue-là.
It was true when she sang people in Central Park in 1967, and it still true today when she's sang it at the end of the first act: No one alive has this innate sense of shade, this infinite timbral softness, this powerfull and purity, class and determination.To give a right comparaison of what we saw and heard for the first time in Montreal-- a privilege even at 375.00$-- we'll have to search in dead artist like Sinatra, Judy Garland, Billie Holliday even Maria Callas.
Barbra Streisand's name belong with those legends.
En plus, elle est drôle, la grandissime. Drôle comme dans Funny Girl. Le film. La comédie musicale. Très exactement comme dans Funny Girl, c'est-à-dire drôle et bouleversante en même temps, chanson après chanson dans la suite qu'elle en offrait hier, Don't Rain On My Parade, la chanson-titre, The Music That Makes My Dance, My Man et People. Nous étions dans le film, nous étions à Broadway, nous étions avec elle chez elle. Dans son élément. Dans son salon plein de lumières qui s'appelle la scène : une belle scène, tout en passerelles, avec l'orchestre magistralement dirigé par Bill Ross, dans deux fosses. Nous étions avec elle dans ce lieu où elle est totalement à l'aise : il n'y a pas plus pro, plus naturelle, plus showbiz, plus authentique, plus glamour. Même ses convictions politiques (démocrate jusqu'au bout des ongles) trouvent place sans malaise dans ce spectacle : avec la faconde qu'elle a, tout passe, y compris un imitateur de George W. Bush, dans un numéro à deux, sorte de match "Babs vs. Dubya" un peu télégraphié.
Seul vrai couac, seule faute de goût, on ne peut pas ne pas déplorer la participation du quatuor de bellâtres Il Divo, trop généreusement intégré au tour de chant, preuve que quatre mauvais ténors ensemble ne peuvent que beugler plus fort. Oser My Way, ça tenait de l'hérésie. Autrement, c'était parfait. Même les toussotements de la chanteuse entre les couplets de la deuxième chanson, haletante Down With Love, n'enlevaient rien à l'effet ahurissant de parfaite maîtrise : elle bluesait, elle jazzait, elle faisait ce qu'elle voulait. Come Rain Or Come Shine, Happy Days Are Here Again, The Way We Were (belle à pleurer), Evergreen (réussie malgré Il Divo), tout était subtilité, beauté, grandeur. Et tact : elle n'a oublié ni les francophones, ni les spectateurs derrière la scène. Parfaite, vous dis-je. Tous superlatifs permis, au centuple. J'en rajoute ? Je n'ai que des mots. Faudra acheter le DVD. Ou aller à Toronto, soit le 17, soit le 20 octobre, et payer très, très cher. Et s'en féliciter.
The concert was wonderful. Barbra came out of the the middle of the stage and poof there she was.. She is beautiful, intelligent, funny, and has a voice like no one else in this entire universe. This was the first time she has ever sung in front of an audience french and english. She was adorable as she said bonjour. I have not one complaint about this magnificent woman, and magnificent once in a lifetime show. I love Il Divo contrary to other reviews.
I love the whole show. The lighting was marvelous, pinks, purples, of so many different shades.
The teapot, her teacup, her chair... everything was perfect. The flowers were gorgeous.
To me Barbra could do no wrong. I support her causes as well. I loved every song she sang even the ones with Il Divo. My dream would be to meet her..
When my husband and I got married almost 5 years ago on May 5th. I walked down the aisle to him and the cantor in our synagogue sang the song she wrote for her husband I've Dreamed of You. Little girls do meet the man of their dreams... I am 53 and my husband is 60. Like Barbra we both met the man of our dreams.
SO BARBRA YOU ARE A WONDERFUL WOMAN... YOU FULFILLED MY DREAM OF A LIFETIME. NOW IF I COULD ONLY TELL YOU THIS IN PERSON LIFE WOULD BE COMPLETE...!!!!!!!
Bill Marks Review:
1. Last night - NIGHT OF MY LIFE! - Barbra in Quebec, so here you go, a whole bunch of stuff in no particular order as I'm still high from the experience ?
2. After singing MA PREMIÈRE CHANSON ... the applause and BRAVOS! ... Barbra said ... ?I never got that kind of reaction in America.?
3. She announced that she was proud (something like that) that the Prime Minister of Canada was there, but after changing into outfit number 2, apologized and said I MEANT THE PRIME MINISTER (Premier) of QUEBEC (Jean Charest) ... I was thinking of Trudeau!
4. She's so cute!
5. This being Quebec and more European in response, there were BRAVOS! all during the night ... I joined right in ... BRAVO, BRAVO!
6. The Swiss and French IL DIVO boys could talk to the audience in French, which they loved, the boys and the audience.
7. Barbra said Celine could not attend, but she sent flowers.
8. For me it was better than NYC - if you read more, you'll see why.
9. Samantha was not there - the only 'main difference' - when Barbra sang SMILE she sat at the back of the stage, not the front. Asking, CAN YOU SEE ME (IF I SIT) HERE?
10. It was a LOVE AFFAIR BETWEEN MONTREAL-QUEBEC-QUEBECERS and Barbra last night, it really was!
11. New York audiences can be so jaded, you know - seen it all, done it all, entertain me ... the audience in New York was older, too - here Barbra commented on all the college kids! The audience was all ages, but many many younger people.
12. Packed! BELL CENTRE - packed to the top!
13. The Bush thing went over BIG here, of course - the audience ate it up and Barbra fed off it.
14. At the end of MA PREMIERE CHANSON, she SIMPLY (STREISAND) said ... ?Voila.?
15. So cute!
Suzie Bergeron's Review
I was at the Montreal show last night as well as the New York show last Wednesday. Both shows were similar except for the Il Divo bit where they cut out the part about one of them having a crush on Barbra. The crowd in Montreal was louder than in New York with more standing ovations. People had been waiting for years to see her live and it was her first time in Montreal. I had been waiting to see her for 30 years, and that is why I had bought tickets to see her in New York. It was after I got my New York tickets that the Montreal show was announced. I didn’t waste anytime and bought tickets for that show as well. She expressed herself in French at the beginning by saying she had studied French but needed to learn more. Nevertheless, she often thanked the public in French which made the crowd go wild every time. Even when she played the piano and made a mistake, in New York she said: “Shit” while in Montreal she said “Merde”. It means the same thing of course, but the crowd loved it. A question she got last night was: “Which do you prefer. Singing, Acting or directing?” to which she replied: “These days Napping.” Overall, both shows were incredible. But then what did we expect? It was Barbra.
1. Before MY MAN, Barbra told the audience in Montreal about it being sung by EDITH PIAF ... MON HOMME, all that. Nice touch. 2. She also explained how she just recently learned that ANCHORS AWAY - imagine that she said - was the Democratic Party theme song ... replaced by HAPPY DAYS in 1932 3. And we listened intently and respectfully - I love that about audiences up here! 4. Justin Trudeau - I believe she said something about coming FULL CIRCLE (him being there) - not sure though, so many racing thoughts since last night.
Silvio Palmieri's Review:
First impressions as they coming back to me ...
Streisand in Montréal was a real happening. Her concert last night in Montréal was fantastic. She's a real artist. I was so proud to be a fan.
The two new songs Unsusual Way and My Shining Hour where simply Barbra at her best. Wow!!!! Gorgeous! I can't wait to buy the DVD or cd just for those songs!
No problem with the Bush segment here (but a little too long for my taste). Everybody knows that people here doesn't like Bush. So everybody seemed very please with it!
One of the questions from the public during the Q&A segment was:
You've played hookers in "The Owl and the Pussycat" and in "Nuts". Would you consider playing a hooker again?
Barbra said (in a very sexy voice): "It depends....How much are you offering?"
The evening was a little surreal because I felt she realised that it was a different crowd of mainly french-speaking audience. ( It's her first time singing in front of non-english speaking fans.)
Ma première chanson, of course it was a hit here and it's not a surprise. She started to translate the song in english and remembered that we didn't need it....a nice shining moment.
The second act was superb and the voice was back and full....Have I stayed too long at the fair, What are you doing...smile..CockEyed Optimist ...etc...riveting!
A sad moment still lingers with me it's the Children will listen segment with the Jason Gould musical composition in the background (she said that he gave her this little composition for her birthday)...She looked so sad during that moment...a tear came into my eyes.
She was at ease and very outspoken. The voice was a little harsh in the first act but nothing dramatic! And sometimes the voice burst out so powerfully it was amazing!!!! A miracle for 64-and-a-half singer.
I left the concert a little sad because I will never see her again. It was our last moment together in the real intensity of a concert encounter.
She was treated by the Montréal medias like royalty and she deserved all the cheers.
Michel in Montreal's Review
I just arrived home!
What a show!
Same set as in NYC the second night. Her first spoken intervention was a good minute in French. Of course that won the crowd over. A very receptive but polite crowd. People yelled out stuff between songs but almost never during a song. Of course lots of JE T'AIME thrown in. And when Barbra says JE T'AIME in French it sounds really, really sexy. She would love to learn more French but she doesn't have the time she explained. Of course MA PREMIERE CHANSON was a big hit. She didn't have to translate that one to us.
She said she was happy to be back in Montreal, a beautiful city she qualified it. She related having been here to see James when he was filming the REAGAN miniseries. She also talked, before going into THE WAY WE WERE, about our prime minister who she came to visit in 1969. She remembered going to the ballet with him and to this day recalls that amazing ballet evening. She acknowledged Pierre Trudeau's son, Justin, seating in the first row and his wife Sophie (who is a friend of mine, we were on the same TV show last year, a morning show called COUP DE POUCE).
She goofed when she introduced Jean Charest as the Prime Minister of Canada, he's actually the Quebec prime minister. She corrected that mistake later on. There were no big stars in the audience. No Rosie, no Jason, no James. The front rows were actually occupied by people from the DAVID SUZUKI FOUNDATION. David Suzuki is a canadian scientist who has commited his life to the environment. And after the show BARBRA was meeting them (YES!) to have dinner in the venue in a restaurant called LA MISE AU JEU. The luckiest people in the world I guess.
Something I forgot to mention. Barbra struggled really hard with DOWN WITH LOVE. I thought she was not going to finish it. She was coughing and almost choked. It was very dry in the arena (she mentioned it) and the lyrics are fast and she couldn't drink her tea between verses. Actually at the end she wrapped it up really quickly knowing that there was nothing she could do anyway. Let's move on.
They kept the George Bush skit in to my surprise. But she did acknowledge that it would probably go over in Montreal pretty well which it did. It has been tightened since I last saw it in New York the Monday before (yes I was there for the four-letter word incident).
Vocally she was in great form (she picked up after the DOWN WITH LOVE screw up) but I preferred the NY performance. More raw and gutsy. She was home and it showed.
What really surprised her the most (and she was very demonstrative) is the reception of the crowd. At the end we were SO loud it was deafening. It was clear she was not going to leave that easily. We showed her we care a whole lot.
The very best thing that I did before going to see the concert in NY was not to read about it. The only I had seen was the set in a picture. I went into Madison Garden not knowing what to expect and many, many times I became quite emotional. In Montreal I knew what was coming and that, sometimes, makes the show a little less enjoyable. Going in as a virgin of sorts is so much better.
Darquise P's Review
Last night was a memorable one for me and I appreciated having the opportunity of listening to Barbra Streisand songs, her voice and her spirit. Her generosity goes far beyond the financial support she wants to bring to her favorite causes.To leave a life of taking care of her husband, her son, her dog and her flowers etc. and to decide to make such a demanding tour so that others can benefit from her talent and popularity is extremely generous and admirable. Being a woman who is only slightly younger (and I mean slightly!) than Miss Streisand I know that she cannot wish nor command her body nor her energy to be what she would like them to be at any given moment. Touring demands training her body and mind to be in top shape so that her demanding audiences who have payed the top prices are not disappointed. The fact that she actually looked very tired at some point during the concert made me even more appreciative of the fact that she no longer needs to do this but it's a choice that she makes to keep contributing to the world she lives in. It was a great priviledge for me to be in that audience and although I was but a little black speck in a sea of people, I felt my soul reach out to hers hoping to give her more strength and energy to finish the very important and demanding task ahead of her.......Thank you Miss Streisand..you make us menopausal women proud.
Michel Rochon's Review
Let’s get a few things out of the way: the sound last night, I thought, was poor. The blend of voices was not good and often, you could not hear what she was saying. Second, she was, is, and will always be, in my opinion, the greatest vocalist of our time. There are some other great ones, like Frank Sinatra, same league obviously, but not the same style. He and many others, sing songs, Barbra sings about herself through songs. In many instances, in songs that were not intended as singles or hits, you needed an acquired taste to appreciate her, her artistry, her personality, even. I believe that, as evidenced last night, she has never sung better. Her voice is golden, an instrument blending in with the timbre of the orchestra, a blend not always present in some of her recordings.
I have often met people who grieve the old Barbra, the artist she used to be. As a music teacher and orchestra conductor myself, I can’t understand that. Artists age, their perspectives change, their energy certainly does. They bring other things to the mix. Gone may be the brashness, the enthusiasm of their youth but it has been replaced with other assets just as valuable such as wisdom, maturity, experience. To want artists to remain the way they were is unfortunate. We want them to make us feel the way they made us feel then. It is not possible. We grow and so do artists. Maybe we feel that for our artists to change, to age, means they we are changing and, yes, aging too. If you appreciate an artist, truly appreciate an artist, allow them to change, understand it, accept it and welcome it. Be disappointed if they don’t. On Larry King Live the other night, Bon Jovi was saying that he sang a few of the old songs one evening (unplugged I think) and changed the arrangements, the feel. A fan wrote to him and said, "Hey man, don’t mess with our memories". He said he understood that for the first time and vowed not to do it again. If we appreciate truly the artist, how can we mind that they change.
I sometimes miss if she doesn’t sing that high or long note, but find myself more disappointed if she does the same thing as before. Change the arrangement, since you are not the same person, reflect that in a new arrangement, fresh, currant, you at this stage in your life. If we want the old patented chills, we should go back and listen to the old stuff the way they were then. We appreciate a Beethoven depending on whether his pieces are from his youth ( lets say, pre-1802, before the first signs of his deafness appeared) differently than a mature Beethoven, As an artist, he changed, evolved ,became a different person over time. And so has Barbra. And so have we.
And now for the concert.
Generally, she is offering more breath support than she ever has in the past. Her phrases are not cut short, singing everything in a very legato style. More control, more weight, more air. Singing, technically and vocally superbly. She places every note in hear head, as singers say, "Between the eyes on the forehead", and then rounds them out in her mouth, shaping the colour with her lips - it is what vocal placement is about, in large part.
As for the opening songs, she had something in her throat - she certainly stopped singing and coughed a few times; thought I detected a tear or two, as we often get when we are choking. She certainly looked upset that things were not going well. I believed her to be disappointed for us: first time in Montreal and we are not getting the best out of her. I hardly remember her signature songs at all - she could not have sung them, and I wouldn’t not have been bothered by that. Although I do remember that some vocal lines were changed here and there, a different interval here, a different phrasing there, great stuff. In the 93 and 2000 concerts, she often let go the end of vocal lines too soon, cutting them off and throwing them away. Very unsatisfying musically. You can sing with musicality, technically correctly that is and still emote emotion. Don’t know why Come Rain or Come Shine came to be included. In fact, I felt what the evening was missing, was some kind of thread. Maybe not as obvious as it was in The Concert or Timeless, but a thread would have made it interesting... or none at all, but then let’s make it completely feel more like a club act and not something in between. Down with Love was wonderful. Complete with arm movements. Now that’s a Streisandnerism I can’t get enough of. And apart from When the Sun Comes Out, in the second act, it’s not something she does as much. She hasn’t done much jazz style in the past so it is great to see that she does it well. Maybe not like a pure jazz vocalist but her own special way. She handles difficult intervals masterfully, sometimes landing on some of the weaker chord notes and changes phrasing to suit the lyric. Inventive. I don’t know if she could handle some of the more difficult styles such as Bebop or scatting though. Sure, with practice, she could.
I hate when actors get these film scenes where they are required to play an instrument. They obviously don’t know the music they are supposed to be playing because their hand and arm movements rarely match the actual music being played on the instrument (especially the piano scenes). That always botherd me; I figure that most directors probably assume that the average movie-goer doesn’t know the difference, so why demand so much preparation from the actor? This is especially true with scenes of actors conducting music: the beats are not in the right place nor are they beaten in time with the music- but who will notice? I do and it has always bothered me. (As a director, Barbra respects this as witnessed by both Jason Gould - who does a credible job in the train station scene, and Jerome Krabbe in the apartment and dinner scene in the movie The Prince of Tides, 1991). It was gratifying to see Barbra actually play - both hands, Ma première chanson, her first written song.
Evergreen, beautiful song. Which brings us to Il Divo. They are just not necessary to this evening. Certainly, what they don’t have is stage presence, à la Bette Midler, for instance, but who does? (which Barbra, alas doesn’t have either, did somewhat at one time, but doesn’t exploit it anymore). I feel the critics are right in that a certain momentum is lost. I also found myself waiting only for Barbra’s return. I understand she may need a little break, but you know, maybe a reasonably long orchestral interlude, a video montage, Barbra song videos, the making of some of those videos, if edited at a fast pace. In these days of real-life TV, it could work. Remember the quick-as-lightning video montage of her different looks over the years opening the second act of Timeless. Well, let’s expand on that idea.
The Funny Girl Suite. Great. Funny Girl, the song, was almost identical to the movie version, 40 years later!! How can the voice be as golden, as buttery, I don’t understand. That voice should have lost something along the way. She doesn’t practice, doesn’t vocalize, how can she maintain that incredible tone and colour after 40 years? Music that Makes Me Dance... sublime.
The rest, what can we say?
I thought Music of the Night a strange opening. Apart from the voices, in my opinion not blending well, it lacked punch as an act opener. When the Sun Comes Out was pure vintage Barbra, the young Barbra (yes, I know, what I said about all of this earlier), arms everywhere, great phrasing.
The rest of the set was sensational. Technically, vocally. Emotionally.
She is an incredible singer that would, I believe, best be appreciated in smaller venues. A place where we could see her face. She sings with her face, using her facial expressions more than any other singer around. As I said before, most singers sing songs, but with Barbra it is more than that. It is more than just emotion. She is living the moment, playing out the scene, the song being sung by her lips but being lived in her eyes. I believe that we experience more when we see her face singing, up-close and personal. That’s why it works so well in her movies.
She will always remain in our hearts the underdog, the one who had to fight to be taken seriously, the wounded little girl who said, "You’ll see someday..." and she did it on sheer talent and determination. Confident in her abilities but suffering from low self-esteem. She built a career, in part, on self-pity but that’s what endeared her to us. But all she had to do was sing. And act. And direct... and be right most of the time all the while saying, "I’ll show them". She could do it all; nothing was impossible. Nothing.
Blond ATOMIK (From Paris) Review
I just returned home this morning as I flew from Paris to Montreal for the week-end especially to see Barbra in Concert at the Bell Center. No need to say how thrilled and excited I was, Barbra has shown once again that from a Funny Girl she became a Great Lady. She was stylish, well behaved, very relaxed and she showed that she enjoyed performing and shared that simple pleasure with us. She was very classy showing a lot of attention to her public, waving at the people in the back sitting and she spoke a few lines in French which was very cute.
During the first 15 minutes of the show the sound wasn’t very good. It was difficult to hear Barbra's voice properly. I would say not a good balance between Her and the Orchestra. The opening with Starting Here, Starting Now, though, was exquisite ... the voice was there.
Unfortunately Down with Love was screwed up after she choked and coughed .... But then she sung VERY beautifully: The way we were, Funny Girl, People and My Man which I have never been very fond of but I must say that the way she sung it on Sunday night was unexpectedly SUPERB.
She showed a great sense of humor especially saying that it took 40 years for “Je m’appelle Barbra album” to become Gold. "A flop!" she said, saying that it has been sold in countries like Belgium, Québec, Switzerland and France.... Anyway she definitely know how to say “Shit” in french at the piano.... She sung “Ma première chanson” far better that on the album with almost no accent....
She introduced Il Divo and sang Evergreen in the 4 different languages reminding she also recorded the song in Italian, Spanish and French, I thought that was clever....
Let’s be honest I am not an Il Divo Fan AT ALL. The opening of the second act with “Music of the night” was OK but I still think that the choice of having them for the tour was not a good one...
As I was expecting Barbra to sing “When the sun comes out” the way she did in the “Color me Barbra show Act 4”, and I was dissapointed but the tempo was good on that tune.
For the Q & A part, someone asked: “How do you feel working as a director, directing yourself as an actress ?” The answer was: “It depends how difficult I am.”
Then she said that she likes the truth and that when she reads crazy things about herself in books like that one day at a recording session she fired the people on left side of the orchestra and so she said: “ It’s the right side I would have fired”...
Being a French person I don’t think I need to express myself about George BUSH, but I thought that the political segment was too long and not subtle enough.
“Unusual Way” is a new song that I have discovered and from now I have to wait to hear it again when the CD or DVD will be out...I don’t know how I will cope.... Just to say how beautiful it was.
From “What are you doing the rest of your life” until the end of the show it was pure Magic.
Now I am back in Paris and I wonder: Have I stayed too long at the fair ?
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