So I saw my beloved Babs on Friday night and -- after spending hours and hours with Bruce Springsteen and Sir Paul (who is only 2 months younger than Streisand) -- I was a little disappointed. Her show was considerably shorter, had what I felt was an annoying amount of filler, and she left me wanting to hear so much more.
On the other hand, whereas The Boss and his lordship are singer/songwriters, she is purely a singer. We were there to hear That Voice, live and in person. Perhaps this is what she needs to do to preserve that amazing instrument. I heard people around me discussing how both Madonna and Cher "sweeten" their live performances by lip synching to pre-recorded tracks. There is no doubt that I was hearing Streisand -- live and unfiltered.
She is not a tall woman and the United Center ("The Madhouse on Madison") is a cavernous place. And yet she filled it with her presence. She literally ascended from the floor and walked toward the front of the stage, singing "On a Clear Day" and she took my breath.
Just as I was moved by how many young fans Sir Paul attracted, I was touched by how many women younger than me brought their little girls to see Streisand. Young ladies under 10, all dressed up, clutching their Barbra souvenirs in one hand and Mom's hand in the other. I was reminded that Babs is a singer but so much more. She's a feminist icon in the true, old school sense. (I'm getting verklempt!)
1) On a Clear Day
2) Nice 'n Easy/That Face
3) Didn't We
4) Smile (with Il Volo)
Il Volo performs here
5) No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)
6) The Way We Were/Through the Eyes of Love
7) Rose's Turn/Some People/Don't Rain on My Parade
9) Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered*
10) What'll I Do? (with Chris Botti)
Chris Botti performs here
11) Lost Inside of You
12) My Funny Valentine
14) How Deep Is the Ocean? (with Jason Gould)
Jason Gould performs here
16) Make Our Garden Grow/Somewhere
17) Here's to Life
18) Happy Days Are Here Again (with Roslyn Kind)
*My favorite moment
This is by no means an exhaustive or official set list. It's just what I remember, and I'm posting it here so I can help myself remember this fabulous evening.
I also must remember NOT to drink champagne. It seemed to right, so special, to be sipping bubbly while watching Babs. But it gives me a bitch of a headache every time. When will I learn?
As the lady herself said, it was "family night in Chicago." Her son, Jason Gould, sings well and is much better looking than I recalled. (He had a part in Prince of Tides
.) Her sister, Roslyn Kind, got the suicide mission of singing Garland's part on the "Happy Days/Get Happy" encore. For me, it was a completely unsuccessful way to close the show.
Except for this -- Garland's voice failed her toward the end of her life and she was dead at 47. Whitney Houston had been called The Voice and she's gone, too. The "Happy Days/Get Happy" duet reminded me that Streisand is still here, still looking and sounding terrific, and that should be celebrated. We spend so much time wringing our hands over tragedies that I don't think we fully enjoy the successes in our midst.
The only thing better than seeing Streisand is seeing Streisand at age 70. The woman who has been teaching me through her work and her example for the last 40 years still inspires.
Photo credit: The Chicago Tribune