Barbra: The Music, The Mem’ries, The Magic
Las Vegas, Nevada
August 6, 2016
- Overture/Video Package
- The Way We Were
- Being at War with Each Other
- Everything Must Change
- Woman in Love
- Stoney End
- Enough is Enough
- You Don't Bring Me Flowers
- Being Alive
- Papa, Can You Hear Me?
- Pure Imagination
- Encore Video Package
- Who Can I Turn To? (with Anthony Newley)
- Losing My Mind
- Lior Suchard (Master Mentalist works his amazing mind tricks on the audience)
- Isn't This Better?
- How Lucky Can You Get?
- Children Will Listen
- Don't Rain On My Parade
- Happy Days Are Here Again
- I Didn't Know What Time It Was
T-Mobile arena photo by Michael Kessler
Intermission videos: My Name is Barbra commercial; Butterfly commercial.
Las Vegas Review-Journal
Streisand departs from the script at least enough to be quirky at T-Mobile Arena concert
By MIKE WEATHERFORD
Control versus freedom. Perfection versus learning to enjoy the moment.
I think these will be themes of Barbra Streisand’s upcoming autobiography. And the reason that I think that was Saturday’s concert in the T-Mobile Arena.
The eternal superstar’s first Las Vegas concert in five years — a fairly swift return by Streisand standards — was perhaps unintentionally revealing as she wrestled with these issues in front of us all.
The talk between the predictable hits, both scripted and not, gave us a more honest picture of Streisand at 74 than the over-rehearsed productions of past visits.
The scripted narrative, such as her 42-year displeasure with the retouched album cover of “The Way We Were” — “If I wanted a nose job, I’d go to a doctor” — contrasted with the off-topic or ad-libbed banter.
Donald Trump jokes. Talking to and about husband James Brolin between the sung lines of “Evergreen.” Comments about production gaffes onstage (while trying to detail past victories of creative control). Stopping to ask someone down front, “Why are you texting down there? I’m not interesting enough?”
All of it was a portrait of a tortured artist in her quirky grandma years. Streisand’s control issues still don’t give her a natural rapport with an audience, but she’s working on it.
“I’m taking it all in. I’m soaking it all up,” she announced at one point. Boy, was she. “All the lights just went on up there, that’s very interesting,” she interrupted herself to take note of a VIP box at another point. “Are you having parties up there? Have a hot dog for me.”
Saturday’s stop on a short tour seemed determined to be more casual and less rigidly theatrical than the big Las Vegas New Year’s concerts of 1993-94 and 1999-2000. The musical ensemble was smaller and the set more modest, though it still had the tea set that was much discussed in ’93, and that was refreshed at intermission.
Streisand even came clean about the elephant in the room, the giant teleprompter visible in several sections of the arena. It’s been her “security blanket” since a panic-inducing memory lapse in her Central Park concert for 135,000 people in 1967.
“Even with (the prompters) I’m not that comfortable,” she added. “What if there’s a power outage?”
“At least I’m not lip-syncing, right?”
Right. Streisand’s voice is huskier and lacks the crystalline upper range of her peak years. But it still folds you up in a giant warm pillow, from the opening “The Way We Were” to the “Happy Days Are Here Again,” which she has sung for three presidents (and said she hopes to sing again, to a second President Clinton).
The first half was a look back at her albums and recording career, and the second rooted in Broadway. Both sets had a few surprises, such as Carole King’s “Being at War With Each Other,” accompanied by news footage of civil unrest through the years, or Anthony Newley popping up as a video duet partner on “Who Can I Turn To?”
And both sets had weird misfires. In the first, it was a medley of tunes from Streisand’s pop and disco years with three backup singers, which should have been a high-energy break from the usually seated and hushed, goose-bumpy tone of the rest.
But the first half only caught fire with the closing “Papa, Can You Hear Me?” After a halftime in which I can only imagine a football coach’s locker-room chewing to pale by comparison, the second half rolled with more consistent power.
Until, that is, the quirkiest grandma move of all: Streisand stopped the momentum cold by bringing out Lior Suchard, a mentalist who worked the Palms lounge in 2011.
Still, by the time she sent us all to the exits with a torchy “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was,” it felt less like bucket-list finality than like maybe, just maybe, she’ll be back again. If not because she actually enjoyed herself, at least to fix all those little details.
Bonnie McGuire's Poem
A poem for Ms. Streisand on how I admire how she looks forward:
I was the girl with the voice.
The girl who had no dad.
Music gave me a choice,
and I knew and I know what I had —
Song and dreams and hope and ache
a loss of a lifetime—shapeless, opaque.
I was the girl with strength—and purpose and dreams and drive.
A girl with a knowing of how to push and get to more than survive.
But no dad to tell me I'm strong —
No dad to tell me I'm brave.
No dad to express how he loved—and all that he forgave.
No dad to remind me to gentle my heart
and forgive her the anger that tore me apart.
So I try to remind with the truth that I know
that kindness and rightness repeatedly show
that he's here with me and I'm here with me and I love and I love with grace
Below: Audrey Zuckerman sent this photo of her VIP package ... A picnic basket with four coasters, and a bottle opener.
Jump Menu Navigation ...
1960s Live Performances:
1970s & 1980s Live Performances:
1990s & 2000s Live Performances: