Streisand: 2006 North American Concert Tour
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Xcel Energy Center
- 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 (Stoney End)
- George Bush Skit
- 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
Notes: Barbra rearranged the show once again in St. Paul. This was the first time she moved “Come Rain Or Come Shine” before the Funny Girl medley. She also tried singing “Happy Days” as an encore, instead of after the Bush skit.
Pioneer Press Review
A dazzling Streisand makes magic at Xcel
BY ROSS RAIHALA, Pioneer Press Pop Music Critic
With that hair and those fingernails and that voice, Barbra Streisand may seem larger than life. But it took all of ten seconds into her magnificent performance Tuesday night at the Xcel Energy Center to prove she’s still only human.
A few bars into show opener “Starting Here, Starting Now,” Streisand let out a giggle after an audience member lustily and loudly called out his approval. It was the first of many loving shouts from the crowd and, also, the first of a handful of times Streisand allowed herself to step away from the script and give us a glimpse of her true self.
And to be sure, this evening was scripted. Every line of every song and every word of her voluminous between-number patter scrolled on one of at least six teleprompters onstage and one rather massive screen perched up in the rafters of the arena.
Often, Streisand followed right along, particularly during the groan-inducing comedy bits like the now-infamous stand-up routine with a George W. Bush impersonator. She also played to the locals with a bit that name-checked the Jucy Lucy and Leeann Chin takeout. Her estimable acting skills helped sell most of it, but those rare moments of improv felt genuine. As hard as it may be to believe, Streisand can generate real warmth when she feels like it.
But, really, she could have sat in a dark corner behind her 56 touring musicians and left the sparkly sailor suit and black-and-gold Donna Karan original in a heap back on the bus — as long as she let those golden pipes of her rip. And, wow, she did.
While a bit huskier and a touch on the raspy side, Streisand proved that, even at 64, she remains one of the modern age’s true masters of delivering a song. She occasionally hesitated in hitting some of the high notes in a set list heavy on standards and show tunes, but it barely mattered. She can still sing circles around would-be divas a third her age and imbue the hoariest cliches with a newfound sense of meaning. It was magic and memorable stuff, indeed, particularly her takes on “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” a selection of “Funny Girl” numbers and “Ma Premiere Chanson,” the first song she wrote herself.
Not so magical, however, were guests Il Divo, a four-piece pop opera chorus that brought little to the evening beyond some himbo good looks and the opportunity for Babs to take a mid-gig break. They joined her several times and performed a pleasant, if utterly unessential, mini-set that included versions of “Unbreak My Heart” and “My Way.” But by the time they trampled in on an otherwise delicate and stirring take on “Somewhere,” one couldn’t help but wish they were somewhere else. Anywhere else. This was a night that belonged to Babs.
Star Tribune Story/Review
Streisand gives fans an evening to savor
She blended elegance and emotion in a way that has been her hallmark for 45 years.
By: Jon Bream, Star Tribune
It was a once-in-lifetime concert. Truly.
Think about it: Barbra Streisand, the Voice of American popular music for the past 45 years, has done only two extensive tours since her legendary 1967 Central Park concert -- that's if you consider 12 concerts in 1994 and 20 this year as extensive. So her Twin Cities debut Tuesday at Xcel Center was probably the only appearance the 64-year-old icon will ever make here. Unless, of course, she comes back for a fundraiser for some Democratic candidate.
So was it the concert of a lifetime? Maybe, maybe not. It certainly was a thrill -- and not a cheap one at that, with tickets going for as much as $450. And it was often thrilling, occasionally exasperating (more on that later) and the ultimate for Streisand fans.
This show wasn't as spectacularly staged as her 1994 tour. This was Babs on an intimate stage with two orchestra pits (for 56 traveling musicians), surrounded by runways, decorated simply with four vases of roses. She wore glamorous outfits, read her lines (and lyrics) from a huge teleprompter and, mostly importantly, sang her tush off.
Her voice was like -- let's say it was creamy, rich and a little bit raspy, which added wonderful textures and a remarkable realness that's often missing on her sterile, overproduced recordings. To be sure, she didn't often reach for her spectacular high notes, but she practiced such restraint and control that it didn't matter. She offered the right mix of elegance and emotion, a mix that has been her hallmark.
Streisand's impeccable taste didn't extend to the entire show. She misstepped by inviting Il Divo, the pop-opera quartet, to join her. The four singers ruined two of her best numbers, "Evergreen" and "Somewhere"; after she sang magnificent first verses, Il Divo blasted the beauty away. As for the quartet's own three-song set, let's just say it was like margarine -- generic margarine.
Streisand smartly reined in the George Bush bit that got her heckled in New York. She did a quick Q&A with a Bush impersonator but didn't sing a duet with him as she had done earlier on the tour. Her Q&A with cards from the audience brought much-needed spontaneity to the carefully choreographed -- what else do you expect from La Diva? -- evening. She winged responses to folks from Minnetonka and Eden Prairie. Her only faux pas came when she mentioned she'd eaten at the Nook on "Ham-line," instead of "Ham-lynn."
Enough kvetching. Because Babs put so much humanity and personality into her performance, especially in the second set.
She was philosophical and funny, spontaneous and diva-like (she seemed to chew out a fan for being on her cell phone), and loose (she took her shoes off) and lively -- and terrifically real on almost every song, including the lighthearted soul of "Stoney End," the intense and graceful "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?" and the rousing encore "Happy Days Are Here Again."
Star Tribune Story/Review
"Even Republicans Give it Up For Babs"
by Chris Riemenschneide
On the night Barbra Streisand finally came to town, Rod Oman officially became a good husband. Oman, 39, of Burnsville, shelled out $250 apiece for two tickets to Tuesday night's sold-out Xcel Energy Center concert, even though he's really not much of a fan of Streisand's music. His wife, Stephanie, is, and she didn't want to miss the first and perhaps only chance to see the superstar diva perform in the Twin Cities.
One other snag, though: Rod is also (gasp!) a Republican. "Throw in a $100 dinner and her dress and pantyhose, and I figure I paid a whole lot to essentially hear someone speak on behalf of the Democratic National Committee," Oman joked on his way into the St. Paul arena.
Streisand, 64, is on her first tour in 12 years, and much of the money and the limelight from the concerts are going to her famously/notoriously liberal causes. Babs wasted no time bringing up politics Tuesday -- but she did bite her tongue on the matter.
"I understand the Republican National Convention is going to be here in 2008," the singer said after her opening number, "Starting Here, Starting Now."All I'm going to say is they couldn't have picked a lovelier city to host it."
With a wink, she added, "There's more I want to say, but I won't."
Streisand did plenty of apolitical talking during her two-hour performance, reminiscing about her four-decade career and hamming it up with her touring partners, the male pop-opera quartet Il Divo.
"I don't think I can take anymore of your compliments," she said after Il Divo's 30-something members talked about growing up with her music -- and their parents growing up with her music.
Tuesday's crowd definitely skewed toward senior-age fans, but there were some Gen-Xers scattered among the 15,000 or so attendees.
"I remember listening to her on eight-track way back when," said Elroy Schroeder, 34, who rushed out to buy tickets -- but intentionally didn't go for the expensive ones.
"We have the best of the cheap seats," he said proudly, holding up an $85 ticket.
With the priciest tickets reaching up to $450 (compared to $750 in many other cities), the concert was expected to be one of the -- and maybe the -- highest-grossing concerts in Twin Cities history. Exact figures weren't yet released Tuesday.
Partners Chris Rush and Michael Elliott of St. Paul, also in their 30s, sprung for the top-tier tickets -- and amazingly, it wasn't the first time they paid $450 for concert seats.
"We paid that to see Madonna in Chicago this summer, too," Rush said. "With [Streisand], you don't know if you'll ever get the chance to see her again."
Elliott was another Republican who braved the show. "I'm hoping she just keeps politics out of it and just sticks to the music," he said, "but it's her right to do what she wants."
Harvey Orndorff, 78, of Sartell, Minn., didn't believe she did have that right. A fan of Il Divo, he refused to see them perform with Barbra.
"I cannot deny her talent and success," Orndorff said, "but like so many 'celebs' in Hollywood, they are now very against the America that made them wealthy."
The only real politicking was a few college-age volunteers waving signs outside for gubernatorial candidate Mike Hatch. Streisand did bring out a George W. Bush impersonator for a few canned jokes, but the results were far tamer than her much-publicized, expletive-spiked shouting match with a heckler at a New York concert -- which she coyly referred to Tuesday.
"You can take the girl out of Brooklyn, but you can't take the Brooklyn out of the girl," she said. "I speak my mind."
Most fans were happy Streisand mostly just opened her mouth to sing.
"Her voice is still one of the best in the world," said longtime fan Virginia Berg, 48, of Brooklyn Park, who won tickets through WCCO Radio.
Even as a longtime fan, Berg said that without the freebies, "No way would I pay those ticket prices."
Welcome to Minnesota, Babs.
I can't quite fully describe in words my feelings last night or as I am writing this. I am in shock and awe. I am a changed women forever. I will never be the same. But for the sake of my friends who were not there I will try to put into words what I saw and heard.
My night started when I saw her name in lights on the Xcel Center Board. I stopped cold and began to shed my first tears. My grandmother snapped photos as I could barley stand. We entered the center and walked upstairs to wait for the gates to open. As I sat trying to compose myself I heard music and a voice. Thinking it was a recording I put it out of my mind for a moment and then realized I was wrong. SHE WAS WARMING UP!! I heard the voice and the song, Come Rain or Come Shine, and I basically fell to my knees. She was less then a football field away from me and I could hear her.
As we took our seats my heart was pounding. Bill Ross emerged and I grabbed my grandmothers hand. Funny Girl played in my ears and the tears began to accumulate. The orchestra swelled to its finale and the lights went down dark. I knew this moment. "I had played it out a million times in my head". The light came on like the sun in the sky and there she was in her gorgeous glory standing in front of me. The gates opened and the tears flowed free. She was there finally, the woman there for us, all for us.
Her voice was flawless. Her mannerisms impeccable. No matter what is said she is absolutely gorgeous. She is NOT fat, she is thin and beautiful. Jim is a very lucky man.
The questions last night were fantastic. She was asked how she knew Jim was the one, after smiling and fanning herself she said, "Well he's intelligent, GORGEOUS.. (applause and hell yahs),...(more wonderful adjectives to describe him),...and he asked me!" Then someone asked her to say hi to her grandmother who had been a survivor of the Holocaust. She said she was so happy to have her in the audience and told us about the wonderful video she saw on the Holocaust in D.C. She then got a question of Do you ever find that your fame gets in the way of being a regular citizen? She answered, "I still stand in line for my Starbucks like you the only difference is mine is in my kitchen. I am just joking I don't' have one in my house." Then she said George from Texas everyone yelled and laughed and she said, "OK before we get to George someone yelled out early sing Stoney End. Well we actually rehearsed Stoney End but I thought that the lyrics were worn and I am to mature to sing this song". Every one yelled no no. Then the orchestra started and she wanted to sing it but didn't know when to come in and forgot the words. She yelled, "I forgot the words" as the audience started singing to her she looked out and said, "oh ok I think I go tit now". Then Bush came out. She didn't sing Happy Days after that and I got worried.
The songs were perfect and her voice magnificent. She hit every note we could have asked her to. Her voice just sunk into our hearts.
After her last song she came back out twice. She sang us Don't Rain on my Parade with people clapping and singing. She came out once again and said "Alright lets sing the Democratic Anthem, you can join me if you want". As the room filled with thousands of voices she yelled, "oh you sing great". She bowed and exit. We clapped and cheered and she appeared one more time to blow us kisses and touch our hearts one last time.
As I walked out of the arena I knew nothing would be the same for me. Every time I hear her voice I will see her that night. Every moment she is mentioned I will feel happiness. With every bone in my body I am complete and utterly happy. Thank you Barbra for making my dreams come true! YOU ARE FABULOUS!!!
Vee's Concert Experience
I went to the opening in Philly and it was great. So many songs that she has since cut or rearranged. The crowd in Philly was so enthusiastic and it was a true sell-out. I was seated on the floor in the $350 section. I took a friend who is a Madonna fan and didn't hold Barbra in the highest esteem. He's also more Republican and didn't dare tell his friends and family how much we paid. His sister told him he was going to a political rally. Needless to say, he has been converted to the point of when Il Divo took over He said "I miss Barbra". It was a magical night.
I then went to the Washington show w/ my best friend who also likes Barbra. It was nice but for me it couldn't compare to Philly. The crowd didn't seem as charged as in Philly.
Well last night I went to the St. Paul show and it exceeded Philly for me. I work for an airline so I could get there for free. I was afraid to by a ticket in advance because traveling standby I couldn't be sure that I would get there. I did indeed make it there and to my utter amazement the guy at the boxoffice told me that it was my lucky day. I was nervous because his facial expression changed. The other people that were working the the tickets came over and asked"how did you do that". He sold me a ticket for front row center. I was in dreamland. I felt like Linda Richmond when Barbra invited her onstage. I get to my seat and I see the lucite table w/ her roses and the stool that she will use. When she appeared I borrowed binoculars from the guy next to me. I wanted to see her face clearly but I didn't want to offend her. When she was singing Evergreen w/ Il Divo she noticed me and she paused while singing "morning glory and midnight sun". She noticed that I was wearing a hand painted shirt w/ her face on it. she didn't stop singing but she pointed to the shirt as she paused. At intermission I changed into another shirt that I painted. When Act 2 started w/ Il Divo I think they sang "Music Of The Night". Inbetween songs she noticed me again and this time she spoke. She put a hand on her hip and said "you changed" and I yelled back you changed too. She then said "who drew that" and I said I did. I think she then said something like that's nice. I was in another world. I turned to the people beside me to be sure that it was real. They just gave me the thumbs up sign. The fact that she could appreciate something that I created after she has and is creating so much still hasn't sunk in.
Huge Thank You To Ms. Streisand
My night at the Xcel with Barbra was a dream come true for me, it was a birthday gift from my children. I am 59 and have admired her ever since I heard her sing "People" back in the 60's. Her music and style has been an inspiration for me through out the years and to finally see her live was nothing short of spectacular, and emotionally overwhelming.
In addition to this incredible night I want to tell what Ms. Streisand did for my daughter, me and those others that where in the same section we where in, which made this night even greater. When we got to our section the attendent told us that he was going to move us, and this was what he told us. He said that Ms. Streisand saw that we did not have very good seats, ( we were in the nose bleed section to her left and behind her), she decided that if we where willing to spend $85 per ticket for such poor seats, that we deserved a better seat. The attendent gave us complimentary tickets to the first level up from the floor, directly accross from the stage on her LEFT. My daughter and I looked at each other in disbelief and the attendent said you better hurry so you don't miss the first song. We made it time not to miss a single note she sang. I want to Thank her for her gift and to tell everyone what a wonderful generous, gracious lady she truely is. She already was endeared in my heart but no words can say what she did for me and my daughter that night.
Patty from Solon Springs WI.
Mark F.'s Review
I attended the October 24th concert at Xcel Energy Center and it exceeded my expectations. Her voice was wonderful, she looked great, Il Divo was good (a bit loud), and I enjoyed the political humor. I’m glad I didn’t miss this experience.
Tony Andriacchi's Comments
I was in Minneapolis last night, Barbra did not do When The Sun Comes Out, it was cut. She went right from Music of the night, to sitting on the stool and talking about how children are so impressionable and then launched into You've Got To Be Carefully Taught / Children Will Listen. Also, I was the reason she did Stoney End! When She started pulling the questions out of the bowl, I was sitting second row center, so when I shouted Stoney End to her, she replied, "You really want to hear it huh?" Then after she addressed questions from the audience, she said, "Now I have a question from George from Crawford, Texas. Oh wait before we get to that, this guy wants to hear Stoney End...." and then she launched into it. I think the reason she acknowledged it was because in the first act, after Down With Love, I shouted "You're still like butter" which she liked cause she said " he said I'm Like Buttaaaahhhhh....."
And then after the Funny Girl medley I shouted out "You go get 'em Girl," to which she replied, "Oh god, you read about me in the papers", and she explained to the audience why she lost her cool at MSG. She was very at ease with the audience last night and even tickled by the standing ovation we gave her even before she started Starting Here Starting Now.
Also during the question and answer there was a question about Choy's —someone wanted to know if her stardom stopped her from doing normal things that people do. And she replied "No, I wait in line at Starbucks just like everyone else ... The only difference is the Starbucks is in my living room." Pause ... "I'm kidding!!!!" Now that she's cut Parade from the Funny Girl medley, it gets a much much bigger response since she saves it for the encore. The crowd went wild last night. During her opening comments after Starting Here Starting Now, she talked about the Mall of America, and how she was gonna go shop cause she couldn't believe shopping with no tax!!!!
But she explained how she got sidetracked by the many restaurants she visited along the way. She then joked, "I can't believe I'm in a blue state but the next Republican convention is going to be held right here, in this very arena." She made a joke about her being here first, which got a huge positive response from the audience but I cant for the life of me remember the joke.
As she was talking about the restaurants she said she got Peking Chicken from a local restaurant but didn't have time to eat it cause she was late for the sound check . Later, before Il Divo's 3 song set, as she was leaving the stage, she said, "I'm gonna go finish eating that chicken."
Regarding the sound check, I arrived at the arena at 5:30, and the waiting area outside the metal detectors was inside the actual building. So about 100 of us were treated to Barbra singing Come Rain Or Come Shine during the sound check.
After Down With Love she knew the first few rows were filled with die hard fans cause she looked at us, (we were all standing) and said, "OK?", as if to garner our okay that she was doing songs to please the fans. That's why I was so surprised that she cut Sun Comes Out, because I guarantee the audience would have went wild.
After she did the political satire with Steve Bridges she said, "I read something recently that really touched my heart. It was said in 1918 by our then Republican president Teddy Roosevelt. Yes, a republican president. He said something to the effect that if we can't make fun of our politicians if we can't voice our feelings publicly without criticism, than what kind of a democracy are we. I was really touched by that. Isn't it great that we live in a country where we can express our feelings?"
Also, I don't remember but there were several quips exchanged between Barbra and Bridges that were unscripted. This was obvious because members of the orchestra and Bill Ross were laughing hysterically. And it looked as if they were hearing stuff for the first time.
Before Somewhere she stated she was at a political rally recently, where Desmond Tutu stated that made her stand up and take notice. (I don't remember exactly what she said) but it was something to the effect of us looking for the differences in people and embracing it.
Her voice was very powerful last night, evident on so many songs, that the first few rows were constantly commenting on the lung power she had and her sustaining of several notes at full throttle. Particularly the last "Somewhere" in Somewhere where she goes up (first time she did this was in the One Voice concert) her power was unbelievable. the word "Parade" in her last phrase is gonna rain on MY-y-y Pa rade.
There were times when she was holding notes for an unusually long amount of time, that Bill Ross was looking to her for when he would cut off the orchestra. Several time he was very visibly shaking his head in amazement at the length of some of the notes she held.
The lady did not disappoint.
The guy from the Star Tribune was very wrong. Her audience was not filled with Seniors. Maybe up in the section he was in there were seniors. But where i was sitting the entire front row, I would say I was the oldest and I am far from being a senior. The main floor consisted of all ages as evidenced by 10 youngsters in the front row who ranged from age 6 to 18. I asked one of the girls if they were there to see Il Divo and she said, "Oh no, I love Barbra!! My mom and I watched Funny Girl with my 2 sisters about a year ago, and ever since then we're hooked on Barbra."
Barbra made note of this after one of her songs, she walked by the front row, and said it's so great that there are people of all ages here tonight. And then she said hello to the young people in the first row, and thanked them for coming.
Also, one of the questions/ facts from the audience question segment was from a 22 year old girl who told Barbra on the response card, that three generations of her family were at the concert last night. Her 80 yr old Grandmother, her 45 year old mother, and her (22). Barbra said she was so touched that her music is going down through the ages. And living on from generation to generation.
The main floor ticket price in Minneapolis was only $450 not the $750 and $1000 (Vegas) being charged elsewhere. It brought out a lot of hardcore fans on the main floor, which was comprised of many affluent people from 20 to mid 40's.
Also in the question answer segment when she mentioned Choy's restaurant she mentioned that the owner is now in his 90's and she invited him to the MSG concert, and he was there, and she had a chance to visit with him.
When she sang Stoney End the line, "my poor mother worked the mines" she said "my mother, in a mine?" and she laughed, and when she sang "I was raised on the good book Jesus," she said "good book Jesus? oy!". It was very funny. She had trouble starting and didn't know when to start the song so she looked to the piano player and said where do I come in and he had to sing her in, the audience laughed with her, she actually tried to start the song about 3 or 4 times but Randy Waldman and Bill Ross kept laughing because she kept flubbing it up. But when she was done I think she also realized her Stoney End parody got one of the biggest audience responses of the night. It really did. And I think it showed her even though she thinks she's too old to sing that stuff her fans would go nuts for Stoney, Where You Lead, Main Event and No More Tears.
I had the experience of a lifetime last night seeing Barbra in the flesh. I got tickets for my birthday which I wouldn't have gotten otherwise. I have loved her since the 60's and Funny Girl and all of her movies. I never dreamed I'd see her in the flesh! I was spellbound by her the whole evening. I noticed right away that her voice was a little hoarse, and wondered what she would sound like being we were half way through her tour. Her schedule must be grueling for her, being 64 and all. I hope her voice holds out for the rest of the tour! She still sounded wonderful. I wish Il Divo wasn't part of the show. They drowned her out. I wanted to hear her. The evening flew by and I will never forget it.
Mark's Concert Notes
The first time I heard "Starting Here Starting Now" was in 1973. I was 11. My sister was 15. We had unfolded the poster from the inner sleeve of "Live Concert From The Forum" and we were splayed across the living room floor of our farm house staring at the drawing. The piano began its progression as Barbra began her vocalized ascent. We were spellbound and speechless. Last night singer coupled with instrument and memories coupled with moments. My sister sat beside me. We were spellbound and speechless. Barbra Streisand is the soundtrack of our lives. We dusted the house to "Stoney End." We danced to "The Main Event." We sang into spoons as we begged for "One More Look At You" and we challenged each other to "Watch Closely Now." She translated "Don't Rain On My Parade" for her french class. I serenaded my first love with "Since I Fell For You." We debated whether Barbra was the Greatest Star.
There are so many memories tied to so many songs. Too many memories to remember at one moment. Last night was a new memory. She's a little older. But then ... so are we. She seemed more comfortable and more assured. And so are we. Last night we sat and we listened and we remembered. We remembered how we were. We remembered how she was. And we considered how we are.
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