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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 2, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 44
A true 'Evergreen'
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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A true 'Evergreen'

Barbra Streisand's classy Vancouver show

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

BARBRA STREISAND
ROGERS ARENA
October 29


On paper, Barbra Streisand is unequaled. She's the only living entertainer who's won all four major industry awards - Oscar, Grammy, Tony, Emmy - plus Golden Globe and Kennedy Center accolades. She's got everyone beat on stage as well, as she proved at Rogers Arena, Vancouver, B.C.'s hockey coliseum. Simply put, Streisand is in a league of her own.

Performing to an audience of around 12,000, this marked Streisand's first-ever appearance in Vancouver and only her 88th live concert since 1963. The crowd was upper-crust for the most part, as tickets averaged $300.

'On a Clear Day,' 'Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered,' and 'Nice 'n' Easy'/'That Face' were built into the first 20 minutes of the show, along with a number by theatrical pop act Il Volo. Streisand then took a breather, sitting down and reaching into a bowl of written questions that concertgoers submitted beforehand. If you didn't know it already, the megastar has a terrific sense of humor, and she displayed it candidly during this somewhat intimate Q&A session.

'Are you a fan of Canadian hockey?' was one question. 'I'm a bigger fan of Canadian bacon,' replied Streisand, who admitted she doesn't even understand American baseball or football. She sparkled, literally, in a sporty black pantsuit ensemble with a hoodie.

DUETS WITH BOTTI
Handsome trumpeter Chris Botti played during a brief costume break, as Streisand slipped into a ravishing, persimmon-colored, draped goddess gown. With her neatly parted sandy blonde hair, you honestly wouldn't guess this woman is 70 years old.

She and Botti, who initially met at the White House, dueted on a few songs, including 'My Funny Valentine' and a drop-dead gorgeous rendition of 'Lost Inside of You' (from A Star Is Born), which Streisand was genuinely surprised that the audience even knew. The pair delivered their finest execution on 'Evergreen,' which featured a wonderfully subtle arrangement by musical director Bill Ross. A full orchestra sat on two illuminated squared-shaped pits with a catwalk running through the middle.

Although the orchestra never overpowered Streisand, allowing her to shine, there were moments when the concert seemed too much like an all-star event - with appearances by the ear-blasting Il Volo, Botti, violinist Caroline Campbell, and Streisand's openly Gay son, Jason Gould. Mother and child harmonized nicely on 'How Deep Is the Ocean,' but his solo interpretation of 'This Masquerade' fell flat, even as mama bear gazed on intently from behind him.

HAMLISCH TRIBUTE
Streisand gave an emotional introduction to 'The Way We Were,' written by her dear friend and longtime collaborator Marvin Hamlisch, who died just three months ago. She immediately followed with a stellar version of 'Through the Eyes of Love,' also penned by Hamlisch and used in the film Ice Castles, a song that featured some impressive high notes, which Streisand can still reach with ease and finesse.

I loved all the spontaneous, off-to-the-side things she did that few other performers could get away with. Whether it was sipping a bit of tea in between songs, or brushing her hair to one side, or injecting the words 'Of course!' after 'Could we?' in the chorus of 'The Way We Were,' or even mimicking herself with the signature phrase 'It's like buttah,' I ate it all up as any fan would. There aren't many artists I'd forgive for sitting down and blabbing about a date with Pierre Trudeau, or for plugging her son's CD as available for purchase in the lobby - in the middle of a song.

'People' was great, as was a Jules Stein medley that included a razzle-dazzle snippet of 'Don't Rain on My Parade.' The closing number, Leonard Bernstein's 'Make a Garden Grow,' brought everyone from Botti to a 100-member youth choir to the stage. It was preceded by a pro-environmental speech from Streisand.

No time was wasted in commencing the encore, as Babs invited her sister Roslyn 'Rozzie' Kind to join her for a duet of the nostalgic 'Happy Days Are Here Again'/'Get Happy,' once performed alongside Judy Garland. A rousing standing ovation, the last of many extended to Streisand throughout the two-hour extravaganza, was generously given to her as she waved goodbye and descended below the stage.

A DOWN-TO-EARTH STAR
There's a realness you get with Barbra Streisand that not many top entertainers offer. She isn't afraid to be herself or admit her mistakes, such as recalling the time when she forgot the words during a Central Park concert and distanced herself from live performances for many years as a result. She also teasingly asked Botti about meeting women on the road, shortly after Botti told everyone that he loved hotel rooms because of room service, housecleaning, a concierge, and chocolates left on the bed - to which Streisand responded, 'Sounds like my house.'

The truth is, artists like Streisand are an extremely rare breed. If you ever see her in concert - and you definitely should - you'll surely agree.

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