Riviera Hotel (Fan Review)

Las Vegas, Nevada

November 27—December 10, 1970

Streisand at Riviera

Thanks to Super-Streisand fan Ronnie Durrence, this page of The Barbra Archives contains a review of Barbra's 1970 Vegas gig, as well as Durrence's sketches of Barbra in performance at The Riviera. Durrence was a talented man (who passed away a few years ago), who wrote about his trip and sketched Streisand's outfits then mailed them to Barbra fans who subscribed via pre-paid envelopes to his Streisand newsletter. The Barbra Archives is proud to present them here for fans who may not have been around in the 1970s ... They are truly a flash back in time—before the internet!

All content on this page is credited to Ronnie Durrence.

Durrance sketch 1

Barbra wore a simple black gown with a Spanish-type shawl wrapped around her shoulders. Her hair was pulled back in a bun at her neck, and she was wearing a black bun warmer that had little silver sparkles in it. She wore three rings on her left hand and one on her right (no wedding ring). I noticed that her fingernails didn't quite look as long as they do in the movies. Also, she is much thinner and (if possible) even more beautiful in person than you could ever imagine.

When she sang the first song ["Somebody Come and Play"], she said that it was her son Jason's favorite song from Sesame Street and that she felt it should be the theme song for Las Vegas. At the end of the song, she removed her shawl and spread it over a stool and sat on it.

Durrance sketch 2

After her second song, Barbra began to tell us about how nervous she had been the last time she played Vegas. "It wasn't fright, exactly. It was more like ... DEATH! Standing there in the wings, you see your whole life passing before you." Then she said that most stars are very nervous and need a crutch (like liquor, pills, etc.) to enable them to perform. She said that she had her nervousness completely under control, though. As she said this she lit up a Marijuana cigarette and began dragging on it. Barbra went on: "No, I'm not nervous at all, but I'll tell you who's nervous." She glanced at the wings [backstage]. "The owner of this hotel is getting awfully nervous!"

When the chorus [the Eddie Kendricks Singers] came out of the wings to help her sing "Let Me Go" and "No Easy Way Down", Barbra did a double-take, acting like she was surprised to see them. It was really funny.

After singing "On a Clear Day," Barbra sat down and said, "Some of you may have seen that picture. If you did, you know that it had many beautiful costumes in it. The studio spent two million on those clothes, but I told them they could have saved a lot of money if they had only bought them in thrift shops." She went on, "I really love old things. I go out in the desert all the time looking for antiques." She held up something from the [tea] table and said that she had found it the other day in the desert. She said it was an 1834 roach holder, and that she had traced it very carefully. So now she knew for sure that it used to belong to an ancient Indian tribe that hung out all the time at Caesar's Palace.

Durrance sketch 3

Then she went into "Second Hand Rose". When she sang the line that goes "Even things I'm wearing, someone wore before," out of the corner of her mouth she said, "Like hell!"

During her next monologue she turned to the band and asked them, "Is there a new sound on stage tonight, or is it just me?" (The reason she asked this is because one of the amplifiers was making a sort of buzzing sound.) When she had been told that it was the amp, she said, "Thank goodness! I thought it might be the pot. I was afraid that somebody slipped me the real stuff!"

An introduction for a new song started, but Barbra whispered to herself, "What should I sing next?" Then she began throwing fingers out on each hand (like an odds or evens, two-out-of-three game). It was a riot to see her playing the game with herself!

During another part of the show, Barbra said it was a good time for us to just sit and meditate. "I bet I could just slip away and no one would notice." She tried to, but the spotlight kept following her. She pretended to be mad at the man working the lights and yelled up to him, "So you're the one with all the power, huh?" Then ALL the lights went off and Barbra screamed at him, "NOT THAT MUCH POWER!"

After the entire show was over, Barbra only came back once for applause.

Durrance costume sketch

Of course, there are many more things that I could tell you about the show, because even her introductions of the band and chorus are a riot, but some things are awfully hard to put down on paper. But one thing I do want to mention is that a couple of times Barbra looked straight at me and smiled, (my seat was almost front row, center) and I thought I would die of happiness. Her eyes are such a beautiful blue that they seem to be able to melt you with a glance.

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