Concert Review: Barbra Streisand is Joined Onstage by Jamie Foxx, Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds

Barbra Streisand Concert Review: 'The Music…The
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for BSB

Gender politics, environmentalism and anti-Trump zingers rounded off Barbra Streisand’s two-and-a-half-hour, sold-out concert at Staples Center Tuesday night, the first in the singer’s nine-date “Barbra: The Music…The Mem’ries…the Magic!” tour.

At 74 years old, Streisand doesn’t always hit the power notes — as ironically evidenced in opening number, “The Way We Were” — but a few spots of pitchy imperfection could hardly detract from the sheer magic of watching a living icon return to the stage after a three-year absence, recounting her storied career through a varied set list that included tracks off each of her No. 1 selling albums, from “Stoney End” to “Woman in Love” to “No More Tears (Enough is Enough),” her disco-fied duet with the late Donna Summer.

A steady rotation of guests joined Streisand on stage to promote her 35th studio album, “Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway,” which drops Aug. 26. Renaissance man Seth McFarlane, whom Streisand affectionately called “such a good whistler,” teamed with the songstress on “Pure Imagination,” while Jamie Foxx continued to prove himself a vastly underused crooner in a stirring, soulful revamping of “Climb Every Mountain.” Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds sang “Evergreen” with Streisand, a duet from “Partners,” her 2014 album featuring an all-male line-up.

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The crowd was exceedingly colorful: a man with a toy poodle, James Corden, up-and-coming “Pure Genius” series heartthrob Augustus Prew, and a gaggle of elderly ladies who snapped at a concertgoer for crinkling her bag of McDonald’s fries too loudly. There were sleek Hollywood housewives and Orthodox men in yarmulkes.

It was exactly what one hopes for when going to see Barbra Streisand in concert.

There were so many highpoints to Streisand’s show, not the least of which was the singer’s commentary on her album covers over the years. We learned that Streisand has a soft spot for “Yentl,” the first film she directed (her emotional rendering of “Papa Can You Hear Me?” elicited a misty-eyed response in the crowd), that she was experiencing  “a bad hair day” during the photo shoot for “The Way We Were” (hence the black headcovering) and that her nose was touched up in post.

“I became very successful with that bump!” declared Streisand, a clarion call for ethnic inclusivity that has worked to ingratiate Jewish female fans — and anybody not born with a ski-slope schnoz — for decades. “That bump deserved to stay in the picture.”

Streisand also revealed she’s working on an autobiography, that’s she’s voting for longtime friend Hillary Clinton, and, riffing on a famous scene in “Funny Lady,” that being famous “is fan-fucking-tastic.”

There were a couple of schlocky moments over the course of the concert, mainly in the way of international superstar mentalist Lior Suchard, whose comedic bit with Babs between songs felt a little too much like Vegas-motel-meets-suburban-bar mitzvah. However, the exchange did give way to one of Streisand’s most biting quips of the night: “The only person’s mind he can’t read is Donald Trump’s because he doesn’t have one.”

Streisand waxed political throughout the show, presenting a slideshow filled with stark images of polluted landfills and whales washed ashore, and touted the prescient words of famed 19th century abolitionist Frederick Douglas, who proclaimed, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

Streisand called this current election cycle “a doozy.”

But there is hope, promised Streisand, who launched into two of her all-time, inspirational fan favorites, “Don’t Rain on My Parade” and “People,” which had everybody singing along, animated hand gestures and a few leg kicks included.

Streisand ended the night with “Happy Days are Here Again,” one of the most influential recordings of all time and a song that she’s sung for three presidents, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Bill Clinton.

“I hope in the next several months I’ll be singing it to the next President Clinton!” she proclaimed. “And I love Obama!”

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    1. she can leave for argentina now

    2. Jenny John says:

      I have been a long time follower of the lovely and talented Barbara Streisand all my life. Being fully aware that she loves the Clintons. I would expect from her a small comment about her friends.
      However, she did not advertise that this would a political up set for a portion of her paying fans. What I was lead to believe was that this would be supporting her cause for heart awareness and research for women…
      We also saw her in Vegas:
      The area in which we were sitting was sounded by a divided fan group the constant slams against Trump and support for Clinton were totally inappropriate and disrespectful for anyone going to enjoy a concert at this paid venue. I and the women next to me had bear thrown on us, security guards constantly having to control the fans from fighting each other. People being escorted out, and fans walking out!! All of which was disrupting, so we could not enjoy or hear Barbara. It was also frighting when we thought there was going to be a big fight just four rows in front of us.
      I saw Barbara three years ago in New York and she was just everything you would have imagined.
      However to have flown such a distance and pay 1,000.00 to not be able to go to Concert we were expecting was more than disappointing.
      At one point in her concert she said to a person in the audience that if they wrote her she would send them there money back. Well Barbra, unlike politicians I believe you would really do that for unhappy fans. I also would like to have ours back.
      I love and respect your beliefs, but not throughout the whole concert!

    3. Margot Rose says:

      I have been a big fan of Barbra Streisand since I was a young girl and it was always a dream of mine to go see her live in concert. My dream finally came true and bought a ticket to her Saturday show at the Barclay Center. I have to say that I would never go again. When she sang, her voice was amazing, however, there was too much talk and not enough singing. I did not pay $200 to sit and listen to her political views. If I wanted to do that, I would have gone to a political rally.

    4. K. Rosen says:

      From K. Rosen, NYC – I saw the show last night! Barbra was absolutely amazing and lovely!

    5. Jo Rowson says:

      I cannot wait for Thurday evening concert flown from Manchester England to see you xx

    6. Laura says:

      I splurged to attend Barbra’s concert in Las Vegas – my first one. Her voice is still very beautiful. But I didn’t pay a lot of money to hear her political views. Some people were offended and she sarcastically said “we’ll give you your money back!” I’d like to know how to do that! It was supposed to be a relaxing evening with an icon. Instead it felt like a political rally. Someone tell Barbra to go on CNN and express her views or go on tour with Hillary but leave it out of her concerts because people pay for over priced seats to hear her SING!

      • I’m shocked that these folks don’t know enough about her to know that she is a vocal and staunch life long Democrat. She’s been political in every concert, election year or not. Read reviews of shows before you go next time.

    7. Mary says:

      Her concert is a bucket list item…but I want to get away from the crap of life at a concert and not be reminded of it. I guess I have to wait until until a non-election year to see Barbra.

      • Kathy Koch says:

        I also paid good money to see her in Las Vegas and I was also offended. I want my money back as well but my ticket agency would not do it. I left early. In all my years of seeing shows, I have never seen one with so much vicious political rhetoric. Listen to her albums but by all means, stay away from her show!!

    8. AnEnigmaWrappedinSnark says:

      Oy!~ Those bumb notes and the hoarseness is painful to listen to. Suffice to say, Babs is wrapping it up.

    9. Marsha says:

      We loved the concert! Ms. Streisand was awesome! Her voice was beautiful! Pure delight! I wish the evening never ended.

      Having gone to several of her concerts, I knew there would be a little politics mixed in. The comments she made about Trump were short, to the point and so true. We LOVED them.

    10. Julie Neri says:

      Very disappointed. After spending money to fly to LA to see the concert, the last thing I wanted to do is hear hateful rhetoric (while she spoke of how we need to love and come together) and political anything! Two people in front of us started a heated Debate and the people in front of them yelled at them and ended up leaving early. I was looking forward to a beautiful evening out and instead left feeling disgusted and discouraged by the constant barrage of hate.

      • joe says:

        poor Julie, you fool, the concert was great even better than Brooklyn three years ago. You speak of hate and I want to ask you, who hates more than Trump? You must be a fool not to expect a few political references when attending a Striesand tour. If we could be so lucky as to see Ms. Striesand again in four years during the campaign for Sec. Clintons second Presidential Campaign I would not suggest you fly anywherem just stay home!

    11. Mr Michlle says:

      The good news is she’s 74 and want be around too much longer

      • Kathy Koch says:

        There is nothing poor about Julie. She is absolutely right! Does Streisand also feel, like Hillary, that she is above the law and can say what she wants and not offend?? I was at her Las Vegas concert and wanted to hear all of her beautiful songs but also left early feeling insulted for my intelligence. You cannot believe how many people like myself were booing her by her 4th put down of Trump. People around me were yelling to shut up and “you suck!” I saw tons and tons of people leaving early…myself included. I talked to several people on the tram back to the parking who wanted their money back!

      • Julie neri says:

        I guess we’re both fools then. I must have missed the part where it was titled democratic rally. I expected a few one liners not a complete show like that. I also expected Respect for her fans that paid good money and came to the show regardless of her political views. I didn’t want to hear any political rhetoric either way. Just can’t escape it I guess. Some classless remarks made by Trump is nothing compared to what Hillary has done!

        • Ann Thompson says:

          Julie….I completely agree. Life time dream of mine to see Babs, have been a fan since Funny Girl and have bought ALL of her albums. Am now retired living on very hard earned social security,so when my kids all chipped in together to send me from Texas to Las Vegas to see my idol it was a dream come true. Disrespectful sums it up. I went to see, in my opinion the most gifted entertainer ever born,and those gifts and talents were overshadowed by her shoving her political views down my throat. At the Las Vegas concert she stated if we didn’t like what she said she would give us our money back. Honestly, it’s the least she can do. And for all you Trump haters out there, how you would feel if you had spent an exorbitant amount of money to see an icon and had a Hillary bashing instead. Just soooo inappropriate!!!!

    12. seasoned says:

      I’m afraid that babs has lost it. We don’t need her to tell us who to vote for. Supporting Hillary Clinton is the worst thing anyone can do.

      • Marlene Shapiro says:

        Again I am saying that it is a shame and disrespectful that she did not do a concert if I remember correctly for the 9/11 victims but she can do a concert for fraud and corrupt Hilliary. Maybe she will even put her music in Hilliary’s e-mails and send them to her. I do not find Streisand any better than HIlliary Clinton. Barbara is all about money just like the Clintons.

      • Michele L. says:

        Julie you are absolutely right! My husband and I were appalled by Streisand’s political stupidity for obvious reasons. We could have watched this crap all day long on CNN for free! If she is so concerned about the environment and what the world around us is becoming, then she needs to take a good look at who has been responsible for the past eight years. Let her campaign for her pea in a pod friend Hillary! There will be more to come
        and worse. My advise to anyone regardless of the party…go see Celine Dion! She’s not only a better singer and performer, but much more gracious, kind and a Hell of a lot smarter!

        • Deborah T says:

          agree with you 100% Michele L., the show was a joke!! Who cares about her political view, she wants to talk about loving one another and all she did was talk hate! Go see Celine

      • Dunstan says:

        Seasoned, go troll some other publication. Streisand has been an ardent Democrat for decades. Where have you been?

        You want to vote for a racist, a bigot, a misogynist, an incompetent lacking knowledge in world affairs, the federal government, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the military and just about anything outside his real estate bubble?

        Trump has no handle on reality, his “campaign” consists of a slogan on a baseball hat and a boatload of insults.

        His social skills appear to have terminated around the time he was in third grade and his dysfunctional children are pathetic.

        He’s delusional, deranged and demented. And the most dangerous man in America not currently behind bars.

        • Rhonda says:

          Poor Barbra and others like you! Hillary is the only person who belongs behind bars. She is lying, miserable, unhappy power hungry witch!
          She has more blood on her hands than all the Kennedy’s put together. She condoned her husband’s pathetic adultry while in the Oval Office for her own political gain and stole everything she could possibly pluck off every shelf while departing her fat ass out of the White House doors. She is a wicked woman. Karma Karma…she will gets her sooner or later!

        • This was supposed to be about Streisand! Go post on MSNBC.

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