(“A New York Minute with Jim Caruso” can be heard at 8:20am every Wednesday on “The Morning Lounge” with Rich and Jill Switzer on Legends 100.3 FM radio and online.)
I’ve been a Streisand fan since my family and I saw “Funny Girl” in the movie theater…way back in 1968! That’s 48 years of pure, unadulterated Barbra-love. So…I was overjoyed to make the schlep to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn this past week to see Her Royal Perfection in a new concert called “The Music, The Memories, The Magic!”
It’s hard to believe that the woman is 74 years old. She looks like Barbra Streisand. She talks like Barbra Streisand. And most importantly, she sings just like Barbra Streisand! I don’t know…maybe her vocal range isn’t exactly what it was when she was 22. But why would it be? And why should it be? As a fan, I want to hear the life she’s lived so very well.
When I first saw her in concert, it was 1994. She performed what can best be called…a recital. There was an enormous orchestra. Every word was scripted, and not a note was left to chance. She seemed mannerly, but not what you’d call jubilant. Last week, she stormed the stage with the elegant vigor of a kid, told (what seemed to be) impromptu stories about album covers and leading men, and when an audience member started hollering out their love for her, she quipped, “Write me a letter!” The act, beautifully directed by Richard Jay-Alexander, was as at home in the 18,000 seat arena as it would be at Carnegie Hall, or better yet…the Royal Room at the Colony Hotel! It was intimate and warm, because this Funny Diva seems to have finally made peace with her fame and the extraordinary responsibility that goes along with it.
She and the ten-piece band gave us exactly what we wanted…a celebration of six decades of albums. There were the standards, of course, including “Evergreen,” “The Way We Were” and “People.” But there were oddities from the Streisand cannon that made fans like me absolutely giddy.
Streisand’s current concert tour proves once and for all that she is a show business icon of the highest degree and to witness her performing delirium is a gift you owe yourself.
I’m Jim Caruso and that’s my New York Minute!