Sunday, August 21, 2016

Streisand plays Boston

Trina went to Barbra Streisand's concert last week and wrote about it for POLLY'S BREW.  That column was so popular, she revisted the topic at her own site and we're reposting that.

Streisand's never been 'hip'

I wrote about Barbra Streisand's concert for the community newsletter POLLY'S BREW and have had a ton of e-mails asking if I had anything else to add.

For those who missed my column, this week Barbra came to town and gave a pricey concert.

I don't dislike Barbra but I'd never spend that kind of money on anyone except maybe Cass Elliot if she were still around.

I love Carly Simon and Joni Mitchell, for example, but they'd never charge that kind of money.

My brother got tickets and he took my mother and I.

He bought three ticket -- one for him, one for our mom and then thought he'd find someone easy for the third ticket.


My husband likes rock and soul and he's fit into the family so well for decades because they share that.  My father likes the blues as well.

But we're not really a Broadway family.

Celine Dion, for example, has no fans in my family -- not even my brother.

But he and my mother like Barbra and usually see her movies together.

And my mother and he love Barbra as a singer.

I don't dislike Barbra and when they couldn't find anyone else to go with, I said, "Sure."

I wrote about how Barbra did two sets.  She had a break in between and I won't bore you by again going into the bad novelty act that came on between the two sets.

Each of the sets was roughly one hour.

The concert, if you don't know, is because Barbra needs some quick cash to buy a painting at an auction.

So she's doing something like seven or nine cities in this 'tour.'

She talked more than she sang.

She's for Hillary Clinton, of course.

She's been treated poorly, she felt.

Hold on let me grab something from Wikipedia.


That's the cover of Barbra's 1973 album THE WAY WE WERE.

One of the great crimes?  They airbrushed her nose in that photo.

That's probably the big news I left out of the column I wrote.

I didn't think it was accurate -- her 'sadness.'

I've checked with C.I. since and it's not.

Babs had complete control in her Columbia contract from day one and by the mid-to-late 60s, it included approval of all photographs.

So if this was one of the great crimes, Barbra perpetuated it on herself.

The stories weren't that entertaining and she should have sang more and shared less.

Especially since so much of the concert -- basically the entire second set -- was about her new or forthcoming album.  Not sure which, my brother and mother could tell you.  It's either out or due out, I don't know.  She sings Broadway songs as duets with various actors.


The other thing that irritated me -- my column focused only on the music -- was her looking down her nose at her own music.

She did a medley of "A Woman In Love" and "Stoney End."

The first song was written by the Bee Gees and is from the Barry Gibb produced album GUILTY.

GUILTY remains her best selling album of all time with over 5 million copies sold in the US alone.

"A Woman In Love" was one of Barbra's rare number ones.

The reality is, Diana Ross had the hits, not Barbra.

She wasn't radio play.

She sold albums.

Nothing wrong with that.

But she needed hits to sell albums.

And "A Woman In Love" wasn't just a hit, she marketed it in later years in remarks about how it was about empowerment (lyrics include "It's a right I declare . . .").

"Stoney End" is an incredible song written by the late Laura Nyro.

Peggy Lipton, Diana Ross and Linda Ronstadt have all covered it.

As Michael Douglas has noted, in need of a hit, Babs did a note-by-note rip off of Laura's version of her own song.

It gave her, in 1970, the second top ten hit of her career -- a recording career that began in 1963 with her first solo album.

"Stoney End" was her second top ten hit.

Absorb that.

So Barbra runs them together in a medley -- no, it did not work -- and then looks down her unairbrushed nose at the two songs and makes an insulting remark about how she recorded them when she was trying to have hits and be hip.

(Her last hit was in 1996 with "I Found Someone.")

She made clear that she wasn't about being 'hip.'

Of course, her middle-of-the-road recordings made clear she wasn't hip by 1968, if you ask me.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Friday: 
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