San Francisco, California
December 6, 1963
Above: The Masonic Temple, and below, Streisand (who looks as if she did some shopping at North Point Market) signs autographs for fans.
Barbra Streisand played San Francisco's Masonic Temple—on Nob Hill, with well over 2,000 seats—in 1963. The Freemasons erected the hall in 1957 and it hosted mostly concerts and lectures.
The review below is from the Oakland Tribune's December 9, 1963 review of Streisand's show ...
Streisand Sings; Newest Cult?
By Russ Wilson
Barbra Streisand's concert Saturday night was a rare and stunning performance, not for what she did but for its effect upon her audience.
Miss Streisand is a young woman whose accomplished singing voice, brazen assurance and kookie iridescence catapulted her from Brooklyn into a Broadway musical within a matter of months.
Subsequent television and club appearances and a wave of promotion by Columbia Records for whom she has made two albums, accelerated her still expanding career.
Even so it was somewhat surprising that San Francisco's Masonic Auditorium was sold out for the concert inasmuch as it was Miss Streisand's first such California appearance and had been staged on short notice with publicity consequently limited.
The big shock, however, did not come until the evening's end.
There was no hint of it in the program's first half, which began with an instrumental segment by the Jerry Gray Orchestra, whose leader, incidentally, was not present. Fifteen minutes later Miss Streisand and her pianist came on stage along with a string section to augment Gray's 12 musicians.
The star was wearing what appeared to be a "Gibson Girl" type grey jumper and white blouse. The floor length skirt was tight and slit to the knees on each side. Her straight, shoulder-length hair was parted in the middle and hung loose. She began her vocal performance with a specially written number that seemed to be a whimsical personal introduction. Like much of what followed during the first set, a good part was lost to those hundreds of us who were sitting in the rear third of the auditorium. Imprecations were muttered against the sound system—unjustly as it turned out. Meantime, by combining visual impressions with the exasperatingly spotty aural stimuli one gathered that Miss Streisand was mixing a blend of tender ballads, tomfoolery, swing songs and shouts.
During intermission the microphone volume was turned up a couple of points and the sound of the program's second half was excellent.
The mystical quality that later was to flower became evident as the orchestra played a medley of tunes written or arranged by Gray and made famous by the Glenn Miller Orchestra, of which he was a member for a half-dozen years. As the listeners recognized each tune they applauded. Though such manifestations of the emotion that Miller—dead now 20 years—still stirs are common they are beyond understanding.
When Miss Streisand returned she was the picture of sophistication in a jet black sequined evening gown and with smartly coiffed hair. The songs she sang also bore the mark of careful professional attention, even to the point—as on "Cry Me a River"—of contrivance. yet on ballads like "Color Him Gray" and "Who Will Buy?" she established a consistently tender mood.
Her belting treatment of "Lovin' Arms" and tongue-in-cheek version of "Lover Come Back To Me" won ovations and, together with the mimicry and comedy involved in other numbers attested to her versatility.
Variety reported Streisand's show at the Temple grossed $13,300 — ticket prices ranged from $2.75 to $4.75.
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