The Hilton

Las Vegas, Nevada

December 13, 1970—January 2, 1971

December 24, 1971—January 14, 1972

Showtimes: 8:00 PM and Midnight

Sterisand on stage at the Hilton Hotel

Barbra Streisand returned to the International Hotel (she opened the hotel's show room in 1969) in December 1970, following a 2-week run at the Riviera Hotel. Performing two shows nightly, Streisand played three weeks at the International.

The International was sold to Hilton Hotels Corporation and renamed the Las Vegas Hilton in 1971.

Barbra returned to finish her engagement with the Hilton one year later—another 3 week gig—in December 1971.

A New Years Eve 1970 ticket to the Streisand show


December 13, 1970—January 2, 1971

Streisand with microphone at Hilton

Barbra's act at the International/Hilton was very similar to her act at the Riviera. Barbra would substitute some songs for others when she felt like it. Peter Matz conducted the orchestra during this first gig at the International/Hilton, and comedian Pat Henry opened for Streisand again.

Streisand on stool at The Hilton

(Below: Streisand and her marijuana cigarette prop.)

Streisand tokes at Hilton

Here's an excerpt from Shirley Eder's December 27, 1970 column about Barbra's show ....

What 1-1/2 Years Have Done For Cool Super Barbra

How do you describe a performer who is so super she rises above words? I'm talking about Barbra Streisand, on stage here at the International Hotel. From the time she walks out quietly in an understated black dress that cost $26, with no jewelry, no blare of trumpets, no announcement, until she finishes an hour later, you know you have seen the ultimate in talent.

You see a young woman who quickly steps up to a microphone and sings “Somebody [Come And Play]” from, believe it or not, the children's program, “Sesame Street.” From then on, until she finishes, you've seen the best. The first time Barbra Streisand opened at the International SHE was good, but her choice of material was unwise. And she was terribly unsure of herself. Well, about a year and a half later, let me tell the world that Barbra Streisand is now a great nightclub performer. She sings something for everybody. And the nicest part of the whole evening is the fact that she is having a ball while performing. As she explains at one point in her act, “the last time ‘round, I didn't have stage fright, no sirree. It was more like death each time I had to go on.”

BARBRA IS backed by a 30-piece orchestra that Leonard Bernstein would be proud to lead. And there is an overture of Streisand tunes played at the beginning of the show. But when it's completed, out comes the opening act: Pat Henry—not Barbra. Pat is better than he has ever been before. Starting with his opening crack, “Howard Hughes has been missing for the past four years, so how come everyone is so excited he just disappeared?” Pat Henry has taken on a new kind of dignity, and everyone is going to like him.

After the first show, we went back to Barbra’s dressing room. She was on the phone when we came in, making several Very Important Calls—all having to do with food. With her son, Jason, Barbra rents a house when she plays Las Vegas. She said she's sick of cooking steak, chops and chicken. She felt like eating something exotic and was ordering Lobster Diablo from the hotel's chef for the next day's meal at her home. The next call was to room service for Italian soup and hors d’oeuvres sent to the dressing room right that moment. Her dressing room, incidentally, has a huge built-in bar around which we sat drinking two-cents-plain, old-fashioned egg creams. That's what she serves!

What did Barbra Streisand give her friends and crew for Christmas? Well, she gave them as gifts specially-made, solid-gold roach clips! No, I these gadgets do not hold cockroaches. Ask your teen-age children to explain the function of a roach-holder.

Christmas Eve Barbra and her longtime manager, Marty Erlichman, entertained the crew at a party after her last show. New Year's Eve, she said, Barbra is giving a party at the hotel ballroom—for all the stars entertaining in Las Vegas.

Dec. 24, 1971—Jan. 14, 1972

Streisand and Klein on Hilton marquee


Robert Klein (opening comedy act)

Joe Guercio (Conductor)

Tommy Chek (Drums)

Ray Neapolitan (Bass)

Bo Ayars (Keys)

Eddie Kendricks Singers

One year later, when Barbra returned to the International (now the Hilton), her show was almost identical to her 1972 album Live Concert at the Forum. Joe Guercio was Streisand's musical director for the gig. Guercio also conducted for Elvis Presley in Las Vegas during the same time period and, in 2010, compared the two singers: “They were perfectionists in different ways. One was from the North, one from the South. He liked peanut butter and banana sandwiches. She liked a piece of herring and a bagel. She liked Johnny Mercer stuff. He liked Hound Dog. But they both wanted it perfect.”

Ad for Streisand at the Hilton Hotel

(Above: An ad for Streisand's Hilton gig; Liberace and Streisand pose backstage.)

Below is a review of Streisand's opening night at the Hilton — December 24th, 1971:

Christmas eve was a happy time because Barbra Streisand was here for her annual gift giving pageant. Her gifts to an audience of middle- aged whites — who at the outset I knew were not the audience for her current pop sound at Columbia—were 18 songs wrapped in silken hues and golden tones.

And this audience of people accustomed to "Happy Days Are Here Again" rather than "Space Captain," showed their love and respect for her with their own gifts of rich applause and a standing ovation.

Significantly this was not an opening night audience filled with freeloading movie stars or entertainment personalities. These were the people who pay the tabs and react to true artistry.

Miss Streisand gave them true artistry, her marvelously unique voice, gentle and romantic, warmly caressing and extracting the hunger in romance and also earthy and magnificently assertive when she chose to go off on a swinging romp.

The hotel's 32-piece orchestra plus her own sidemen gave her a rich setting in which to prove that musically, she can be whomever she wants, playing with the emotions of her audience with sure-fire confidence.

Her new year songbag included: "Sing a Song" (her son's favorite song this year from "Sesame Street"), "Starting Now," "Don't Rain on My Parade" (showcasing her eloquently sustained long notes), "Second Hand Rose," "On A Clear Day," "Where You Lead," "Yesterdays," "More Than You Know," "My Buddy," "It's Over," "Beautiful," and the startling "One Less Bell to Answer/A House Is Not a Home" medley.

On the latter tune she sang with a tape of her second part and watching her out do herself was a treat. She is dramatic, fearless, overpowering and capable of handling every kind of impact tune.

ELIOT TIEGEL / Billboard

Robert Klein (Barbra's costar in The Owl and the Pussycat) was her opening act in 1971-72. He performed a 30-minute comedy routine, then Barbra took the stage and sang her opening number: “Sing/Make Your Own Kind of Music.”

Streisand at Hilton


Barbra's 1971-72 Hilton Set List

During many of her Hilton shows, Barbra wore stretch satin pantsuits, with her hair up in a bun. The tea table that has become synonymous with a Streisand concert was also present on the Hilton stage.

Streisand performs

Excerpts from Dec. 30, 1971 review by Robert Hilburn:

The big difference between her midnight show Monday and the time I saw her last year is in her manner. She's much more relaxed, much more confident on stage, much warmer to the audience.

Just as the applause is ending for comedian Robert Klein [...] she walks on stage. There's no big fanfare. Not even an introduction. She just walks out, wearing a casual (but stylish) white pantsuit with a black blouse underneath.

She starts off with a song from Sesame Street and she seems to enjoy singing it. In fact, she seems to enjoy the whole show. That's a big difference from last year. She seemed nervous last year, almost hesitant on stage. She seemed to be performing only because it was an important aspect of her career. But it was a burden. For whatever reason, that burden seems lifted. As she sings, she is confident enough to reach out for her audience, but not so overconfident that she takes it for granted. It's a very natural performance, almost as if she were singing for friends in her living room. She always had the voice. Now, she has the manner as well.

One part of the show that best points out her more relaxed manner is during her spirited rendition of Carole King's ‘Where You Lead’ and the gospel-flavored ‘Sweet Inspiration.’ There's a great freedom of movement about her as she sings the song: a shift of the hip here, a raising of an arm there, a near bump and grind at another point.

[...] One of the show's highlights is when she does a duet with herself (one voice live, the other on prerecorded tape) on the Bacharach/David medley [‘One Less Bell to Answer’ and ‘A House is Not a Home’]. There's also a nice moment when she does a speeded-up version of “Second Hand Rose.” By changing the arrangement, she satisfies both the audience's desire to hear one of the songs most associated with her and fulfills her own need to bring freshness to a song.

Indeed, the highlight of the Hilton concerts was the duet “One Less Bell To Answer/A House is Not a Home.” It was staged dramatically, with Barbra singing the duet with herself, which was a pre-recorded track. It must have been something to see live!

Hilton Postcard

Newspaper with headline about Streisand smoking pot on stage

Here's a review of Streisand's January 3, 1972 Hilton show:

A Barbra Streisand, attired very informally, singing completely at ease and with excellent programming is the news of her latest foray at the International. She opened the hotel in July '69, striving for all the glam possible in couturier ornament and otherwise in order to match the occasion. Somewhat shaky in the rest of the assignment, her opening term was judged as only moderate to good.

There should be quite different results this four-frames, having been bolstered by two subsequent trips to Vegas, one a contractual commitment to the Riviera and the other immediately following in this big Internationale Room.

From the opening happy paeans of “Make Your Own Kind of Music,” she wends her highly enjoyable way through a few more faves until a tea-time period. This is her reliever, where she chatters amusingly with double-meaning joke about “tea,” meaning grass, as she takes a deep drag or two on a cigarette before dowsing it. Picking up again with “Second Hand Rose,” the feeling soars upward with aid from the four Ed Hendricks Singers on further in “Sweet Inspiration,” a gospelly kind of tune she obviously likes to belt. A medley of evergreens is greeted with much enthusiasm with an unusual self-taped obbligato to “House is Not a Home” radiating all of her special qualities to perfection. The final “Happy Days Are Here Again” is the complete clincher. On opening night, Christmas Eve, she returned for a simple delivery of “Silent Night,” a stunner.

It is unfortunate that she is preceded by a tyro, evidently from tv talkshows, who carries on like an itinerant high school assembly lecturer. Former substitute school-teacher, Robert Klein, foists his dull problems upon a mostly apathetic audience, his awkward juvenilia revealed throughout an over-long (30 minute) session. His best, and only saving bit of biz is mouthing a harmonica for humorous expelling sounds. Other than that, which was the middle of his act, there is no opening, close, or material of professional caliber. It is hoped that his set will be lopped off considerably in order to give Miss Streisand some sort of lift before her entrance.

As a matter of fact, she could well do this date as a concert, alone, hitting big with all selections from curtain to curtain.

Joe Guercio's excellent guiding hand is apparent as he takes his orchsters through the sock charts, blending with dazzling precision into the Streisand vocalistics.

Following the Streisand month, there is a fortnight open date before Elvis Presley arrives for his month starting January 26.


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