Streisand: 2006 North American Concert Tour
San Jose, California
HP Pavilion at San Joses
- 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?
- Q&A — Happy Birthday (a capella to audience member Daniel Webster)
- George Bush Skit
- Woman in the Moon
- 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)
- Happy Days Are Here Again
- Barbra drew a card and sang "Happy Birthday" to a fan named Daniel Webster who was celebrating his 50th birthday at the concert. She called him Danny during the song and cautioned that she sounds silly when she sings "Happy Birthday"
- "George Bush" skit was reworked to draw largely from the election results of Nov. 7
- “Side by Side” (sung with "George Bush") which she announced as a first performance (This is the "...walking along, singing a song, side by side..." song and the lyrics were rewritten to celebrate the Democratic victories in the Nov 7th election, including a specific mention of Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House)
- “Happy Days Are Here Again” was sung as an encore in San Jose, with intro of "So long, sad times..." verse which she said was a first for this tour.
* Thanks to James Proffitt for the above notes!
San Jose Mercury News Review
Streisand shows S.J. the way she is
By Jim Harrington
With all the well-documented distractions that have arisen during her latest tour, it's easy to overlook why Barbra Streisand is such a big deal in the first place.
On Monday night at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, she made us remember.
She made us remember with her voice -- what fans would call "The Voice" -- as she sang rich, elegant versions of such all-time classics as "Evergreen" and "The Way We Were." She made us remember with the way she worked the crowd, delivering a combination of class and sass that harkened back to legends like Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. She made us remember by putting on a show that was so utterly professional, superbly paced and wonderfully executed that it came across like a meticulously edited prime-time TV special.
Babs also made us forget.
She made us forget the sky-high ticket prices, the guys outside the venue who were using bullhorns to try to save our souls and all the controversy that has followed this tour. She made us forget about the man who heckled her in New York and the barbarian who tossed a drink at her in Florida, both of which occurred following Streisand's mid-concert skit poking fun at President George W. Bush. She even made us forget that it was raining outside.
All that mattered to these fans was that Babs was in the house, making her first public concert appearance in Northern California in more than 10 years.
The multi-award winner, who boasts an impressive mix of Oscar, Tony, Emmy and Grammy trophies on her shelves, didn't make the fans wait for the good stuff. Following an overture of "Funny Girl" material from the enormous 50-plus-piece orchestra, Streisand made her dramatic entrance on a riser through the stage floor and then proceeded to knock out a grand version of "Starting Here, Starting Now."
She switched paths with the next song, "Down With Love," as the orchestra worked a distinctly jazzy beatnik vibe that gave Streisand plenty of room to showcase her nightclub chops. The zig to that zag came with a pristine take on the highly nostalgic "The Way We Were," which accomplished the seemingly impossible in making a hockey arena feel like a symphony hall.
One of the most impressive things about Streisand is her ability to come across as both the greatest superstar in the world and the girl next door. She does that better than anybody. The first half of that equation is the easy part -- all she needs to do is open her mouth and sing. The latter is more difficult, given that most people don't live next door to a multi-millionaire who has scored 50 gold records.
She accomplishes that feat by doing what comes naturally for a diva -- talking about oneself. For instance, she spoke of her first performance in the Bay Area, which occurred back in 1963 at the hungry i in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood. The effect of that fond remembrance was that we were made to feel special, like the Bay Area holds an important place in Babs' heart -- whether or not that's true doesn't really matter.
Streisand was later joined on the hit "Evergreen" by the pop-opera boy-band Il Divo, which then performed a few of its own numbers while the diva went off to change and do whatever else divas do backstage. The quartet, a creation of Simon Cowell, did a fine job in what was really a monumental task _ stalling for time for Barbra Streisand.
The crowd rejoiced when its heroine returned with an uplifting version of "Come Rain or Come Shine" that led directly into "Funny Girl" material, including "My Man" and the fan-favorite "People."
Il Divo was back to help kick off the second set with Babs on "The Phantom of the Opera" track "Music of the Night," an inspired choice of material that worked resoundingly well for the five vocalists.
After a moody, romantic take on "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life," Streisand put a halt to the tunes and began answering questions that had been submitted from the crowd. This led directly into the controversial skit as a Bush impersonator (Steve Bridges) joined the vocal Democrat on the stage. It was a funny segment, as Streisand tossed some moderately sharp barbs in Bush's direction -- certainly not anything worth slinging a drink at the star.
In all, however, the skit was a bad idea because it took up time that could've been used to perform more songs. Streisand was on stage roughly two hours, but with the Il Divo segments, the Bush skit and all the between-song chatting fans probably only got 90 minutes of Babs' voice.
What does that break down per minute for a $750 ticket? A little over $8 per minute?
Well, in that case, I'd say fans still got their money's worth on this night.
SF Gate Review
Bright post-election mood lights fire under Streisand
Steven Winn, Chronicle Arts and Culture Critic
It should come as no surprise that Barbra Streisand was very pleased by the results of last week's election. A prominent advocate for Democratic Party causes and candidates, the singer and actress devoted a good stretch of Monday night's concert at the HP Pavilion in San Jose to celebrating her party's midterm triumphs. She even worked Nancy Pelosi's name into a "Side by Side" duet with George Bush impersonator Steve Bridges.
What one might not have expected was how politics could light a fire under Streisand's singing. After opening the second half of the evening with a leaden account of "The Music of the Night" (further weighed down by the narcotic contributions of the four-man Il Divo) and a swampy "Children Will Listen," she brought on the skilled Bridges and started grinning mischievously. The two bantered their way through a bit about the "thumpin' " the Republicans took. And then Streisand was on.
She recalled her 1976 film "A Star Is Born" -- "when there were no women in the Senate, and now there are 16" -- and promptly lavished her bronze-toned voice on a stirring "The Woman in the Moon." One of the evening's subtly glowing gems followed, in Billy Barnes' "(Have I Stayed) Too Long at the Fair?" Seated on one of several stools scattered around the set's long runways, the singer mused that perhaps she had been too young when she recorded the song in her 20s. Now, at 64, she brings a confiding intimacy to the lyrics: "The merry-go-round is beginning to slow down." And: "I wanted the clown to be constantly clever." The phrases flowed together into murmurous paragraphs of rueful musical thought.
Her fans in the sold-out house warmed immediately to the song's opening line: "I wanted the music to play on forever." A Streisand concert, at this point in her long career, is a consciously retrospective endeavor. There were three songs from "Funny Girl," the Fanny Brice musical she performed first on Broadway (1964) and then on film (1968). She performed her signature number "People," which was once an operatically scaled aria, with a swaying lightness and a slight, perfectly judged ironic detachment.
Streisand reminisced about her long-ago nights at the hungry i in San Francisco and re-asserted her New York roots, after a day of sightseeing (and eating) in the South Bay: "I grew up in Brooklyn, so we don't know from missions." The steak sandwich at Original Joe's she got.
Streisand is in full control of the Streisand aura and persona. Dressed in three different black outfits during the course of the 2 1/2-hour evening and sporting her familiar sheep-dog look hairdo, she patrolled the runways, kicked off her shoes, had some winking eye-contact with fans up front and sang "Happy Birthday" to one fan. She started strong, with "Starting Here, Starting Now," and got to "The Way We Were" in short order.
If the years melted away in one sense, the passage of time was also apparent. Streisand can still send a note soaring, and her phrasing can be silken. But the voice is also noticeably darker and huskier and decidedly less nimble. Working with a big orchestra, she missed some intervals by a good margin. She struggled and failed to find an enlivening jazz pulse in "Down With Love." A weird arrangement of the "West Side Story" anthem "Somewhere" lured her into an ill-advised belting contest with Il Divo.
But then no one comes to a Streisand performance for musical perfection -- and never did. What counts is the character and drama she finds in a song, the sense of it seizing her and the listener together in the moment. That didn't happen consistently Monday. At times Streisand seemed weary and almost disengaged. "Come Rain or Come Shine" was particularly wayward. But then she rallied with the expertly molded "Funny Girl" songs and warmed up all over again with the election on her mind.
"Tonight my depression is over," she announced, and closed things out with "Happy Days Are Here Again." Streisand, an instinctual artist, didn't go over the top with it. She lofted the song out into the house gently, as if she knew that everyone out there shared her sentiments. Not everyone did; there were some hisses as she rejoiced over the elections. But as a performer who knows what an audience craves from her and how to deliver it when she needs to, she won them over in a landslide.
Tony Alfano's Review
Steeped in memories, that's what Streisand's show was. As she sang in the '94 Concert, "we were young together." Each song carried an emotional charge that brought us back to the time when it was first released. But this was a more self-assured Streisand, genuinely happy to be with the audience. She seemed relieved of the shackles of self-consciousness and perfectionism. She was content... content with the music, her history and accomplishments, and hopeful for the future. It was heartwarming to see this icon kick off her shoes and kick up her heals in "Don't Rain On My Parade!"
Her voice, still smooth and lush, soared in "People," "Somewhere," and "My Man." She embodied the emotional power and depth to deliver "Funny Girl" and "Have I Stayed Too Long At The Fair." "Down With Love" reminded us all of her jazz leanings! Every song was a complete performance piece infused with nuance that comes only with the experience and skill of an artist of her stature. My personal favorite was "What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life," which I consider to be the quintessential Streisand piece. Her haunting, silken delivery makes it the ultimate love song.
Il Divo are talented gentlemen, but there were problems with balance when performing with Barbra. I enjoyed the singing in their set, but I felt the choice of songs was ill-advised.
Barbra made mention of local eateries such as Arcadia and Original Joes, but most of her message was one of hope, tolerance and peace. Many people have criticized her for injecting so much monologue into the show, but I thought it was wonderful. It allowed us to see how she's grown and what she really cares about. The Saroyan speech, her regard for children of the world, and her ebullience over the recent election was touching and exciting. I know the audience loved it!
The Bush sketch was incredibly funny! The "Bush"/Streisand duet of the old "Side By Side" song (with altered lyrics) was hilarious! When Barbra actually sang "Happy Birthday" a capella to an audience member we were all stunned and gratified with her playfulness and generosity with the audience. A wonderful night.. a wonderful memory.
Ed Uyeshima's Review
If you can believe it, I had been waiting to see Barbra Streisand in concert for nearly forty years. I am 47 now and remember vividly her “Happening in Central Park” TV special when it aired in 1968. I was unable to get tickets when she came to San Jose in 1994, so to be able to have this second…and perhaps last…chance seemed like such a wonderfully belated piece of fate.
Reading the details of her Chicago concert on November 9, it sounds like the San Jose show was pretty much the same except I didn’t see any mention of the duet she did with Steve Bridges as Bush. In San Jose, they ended their bit with a very funny version of “Side by Side” with updated lyrics. It actually started with a bogus Q&A card which requested she sing “Come to the Supermarket in Old Peking” off her first album. That’s when Bridges/Bush came out to say he was a longtime fan of hers. He suggested possible duets they could sing together - “I’ve Got a Crush on You” (Barbra’s retort: ”Uh, I don’t think so”) and Happy Days Are Here Again” (Barbra said she would sing it later). She suggested “Guilty” but then settled on “Side by Side” because she felt they needed to work together. The tone was very conciliatory and hardly the political jousting I was expecting, but the audience loved the whole bit.
As for Barbra herself, everything was beautifully sung. She had four days to rest her voice from Chicago, and I imagine that must have helped. I loved how she sang most of her hits in the first half and filled the second half with new material for her. “A Cockeyed Optimist” became a theatrical tour de force, and “Unusual Way” and Arlen’s “My Shining Hour” were particular highpoints for me. She did indeed sing “Woman in the Moon” albeit a condensed version in tribute to House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi. Barbra also performed a very wistful version of “Have I Stayed Too Long at the Fair?” appropriately twirling her chair when she mentioned the merry-go-around. Being the diehard fan that I am, I was looking forward to the one vocal jump she did on her album where she reaches high on the last verse with…”Have I stayed…too LOO-OONG at the fair?” She didn’t attempt the jump 43 years later…but frankly that’s about the only vague disappointment I had with her performance.
Il Divo was another matter. I’m not sure if it was them, the HP Pavilion acoustics or the audio system, but their voices did not sound balanced, often overpowering the orchestra and each other. The result was bombast with an utter lack of nuance. My attention frankly drifted when they sang alone. The problem for me really came when they accompanied Barbra and added nothing to her already perfect rendition of “Somewhere” and an unnecessarily multilingual version of “Evergreen”. The one exception was “Music of the Night”, where their pompous vocalizing actually fits the melodramatic tone of the piece.
But Barbra herself was perfection. To be as consistent as she has been for 43 years is nothing short of miraculous. At an impossibly youthful 64, she was resplendent, especially in her empire-waisted black gown with the gold material underneath. I was worried she would look hefty, but she really looked great (I have a feeling the tour is sweating off the pounds for her). What’s more, she was very relaxed. Even though I realize most of her patter was scripted, she made it sound fresh. It was simply a grand evening.
John's Concert Experience
First, thanks for the chronicle of this tour. Your website is one I truly
enjoy dropping in on – and you have made this tour, in particular, a living thing . . .
I am 44 – a die-hard fan of Barbra’s. Her music has been the soundtrack of my life – and though recent years have brought much pain – unexpected loss, death, and illness . . . Barbra’s voice has been God’s gift.
Anyway . . . yesterday I found myself on business in Northern California – out in the boondocks, really. My meeting ended at 5. I came out into the drear – rain, gray sky, alone. I got into my rental car – and I promise you – Barbra’s voice came out of the RADIO. “Smile” with Tony Bennett.
It was one of those moments – I knew I could do it. I could go to San Jose. I could give myself an unexpected gift. Only problem was – I was at least– according to my Onstar friend, who knew the way to San Jose – 3 hours away.
No matter. I set off. It poured. Through a mountain pass. Through fog. Through a thousand truckers who weren’t en route to the HP Pavilion. I drove. I could hear my heartbeat pounding the whole way. I slid the Obama book into the player – the audacity of hope – I was filled with it.
There was a burst of rain when I got to the parking lot – no cash – I was the last car in – they took an out-of-state personal check and let me park. It was 7:45. I ran to the Box Office, gold card in hand, cost be damned.
The tears came, inexplicably, when she slid the ticket under the glass. I smelled of wet wool – my suit ruined with rain and tear welts.
I couldn’t explain the tears to the girl in the box – she pointed me to the door marked for skybox holders – I entered unauthorized. I ran. Up a giant stair case . . .
Don’t Rain on My Parade . . .
Let’s Hear It for Me . . .
No Matter What Happens . . .
Around the arena . . . then down steps, into the dark – my own soundtrack replaced by familiar strains of the overture . . . I found my seat as she rose through the floor.
I did not sit. I screamed. Thousands did. My mind raced. Could it be
that there were so many of me? So many who got it – who understood why this woman of contradictions – plain and beautiful, victim and victor, washerwoman and princess – made a difference, mattered?
Then they fell away. Then it was just me and Barbra.
Guess what? She is my friend.
She came all this way to San Jose just to see me, to sing for me – and I am so glad that I could make it . . . though rain, past Fresno, over Mountains, via Avis.
Fanny at the door to Nick’s stateroom, disshelved yet victorious. Except I am in the Fanny role, and she is Nick – and it is hopelessly mixed up – but I get it.
I hope you do.
Starting Here, Starting Now . . .
She is warm, and lovely, and funny, and relaxed, and real. I can see, hear, & feel her clearly and completely – unedited, unembellished, unencumbered by perfectionism, and filters, and mixing.
Her art is perfect.
Throughout the evening her voice soars, dips, caresses, kicks ass . . .
Every so often there is a catch in it.
I know no other way to describe it. It’s as if she is pushing it out of
herself – it’s not a flaw – it’s like finding a diamond amidst gravel. I
love her art more because of it.
It is not real to come through life unchanged, unscathed, or unburnished by time.
I would not have wanted echo, and reverb, and pre-taping to have falsified the truth of that voice.
What are you doing the rest of your life . . .
In a very unusual way . . .
Too long at the fair . . .
She is 64.
I am 44.
That is the truth. Death, loss, joy, elation. All of it was in her every
beautiful, truth-filled phrase.
Then suddenly – she was iconic. All smooth blonde hair, flailing hands, and
shoulders – the Streisand shrug.
She is 24.
I am 4.
She is belting.
Don’t Rain on My Parade.
Happy Days are Here Again.
I am glad she became BARBRA just there at the end. I needed her fully realized – friend and diva, mother and lover. I needed all of it.
I have brought Barbra with me to altars and gravesides, to bedsides and between the sheets, between jobs and between yesterday and tomorrow. She did not, has not, and will not fail to change me with her art.
Last night the voice – God’s gift – healed me.
And then I was back out in the rain – filing away, part of the graying,
well-heeled, transformed, and huddling masses. The soundtrack is again private– no matter what happens, I won’t be the same anymore . . .
I didn’t buy a t-shirt – I didn’t need one –
I am John Norman Howard
Well, I´ll try to write my review of the concert. First, I have to tell you all that I am not an English language native, so forgive my mistakes, but I really wanted to share my impressions of the concert with you guys/girls out there.
I am a 27 years old Panamanian guy who has loved Barbra since I discovered her through my stepdad, who once told me about how much he liked the acting of a certain actress when he was a student in Europe. Since then, and I am going to quote another fan who´s review has already been printed, her music has been the soundtrack of my life too. Sadly, I had to fly all the way from Panama City, Panama in order to attend the San Jose Journey and the whole experience was kind of an expensive one, but boy….was it worthy!!!!
I never thought I was actually gonna see her LIVE in my lifetime, but the opportunity arrived and I had to go for it…and I am so glad I did.
First, I must say that the orchestra sounded TERRIFIC!!! Great musicians (I am a piano player myself). During the overture, I was getting so nervous and I didn’t know what my reaction would be the minute she showed up on stage. You know what? It was PURE JOY. Even though I was a little bit concerned that ever voice wasn’t gonna be in top form by the time of the San Jose concert, as one of the last concerts in the tour, but she reached every note and looked so relax on stage…way beyond the perfectly “acted” concerts from 94.
So here is my modest and honest review:
1) Starting Here, Starting now: this one the song that I really wanted to hear. It sounded great and every note was held completely….even though she tripped walking down the ramp (which I am surprised no fan has mentioned it)
2) The Way We Were: isn’t just the humming worthy? Everyone was expecting that song…as the lady sited next to me said…by the way, she flew all the way from South Africa to attend the San Jose Concert.
3) Evergreen: Even though some songs sound more sophisticated when they are perform in another language, this was not the case that.
4) Il Divo Set: Loud, too loud for my taste. It was pure unnecessary showing up for me. (I think we already know they have great voices…they might learn a couple of things from Barbra: “less is more”)
5) Funny Girl Medley: Simply Gorgeous!!!!
6) The Music of The Night: for me, and my friend Hans, who flew all the way from Brussels to attend the concert with me, it was by far the best number in the show.
7) Songs about relationships: I have never heard Unusual Way before and I must say it´s quite a beautiful song…and her rendition of it, exquisite. I felt very related to the lyrics. On the other hand, what can be said about What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life? Aren´t we all want everything that is said in that song?
8) Bush Sketch: Hilarious!!! It leaded to Woman In the Moon, which on my way to San Jose I was sad thinking she wasn’t gonna sing it, as well as When The Sun Comes Out. But she did sing the first one…and it was very refreshing.
9) After that, every song was a perfect choice and they were delivered flawlessly.
By the way, my name is Dan and I felt quite happy that she sang happy birthday to a guy named as me. I will remember that moment for my next birthday. Well, it took me a while to come back to Panama, I just got home from the airport (enjoyed San Francisco for a couple of days)…but I wanted to share my thoughts with all you fans who were there, and to those who will be attending the upcoming concerts. I must say I entered this site every day since the tour started and, thanks to it, I feel as if I went to everyone of the performances. And congratulations America for your BIG CHANGE.
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