Review: Barbra Streisand creates magic on stage in San Jose

Review: Barbra Streisand creates magic on stage in San Jose

Barbra Streisand

Streisand in San Jose – Courtesy

SAN JOSE — The title theme for Barbra Streisand’s concert Thursday night was a literal one.

“The Music … The Mem’ries … The Magic” rang true, celebrating the star’s six decades of No. 1 albums.

But memories, as beautiful as they may be, can be hazy—as demonstrated at the SAP Center in San Jose, the second stop on her 10-show “mini tour,” as Streisand called it. Standing on stage in a glittering black lace outfit and long, sleek hair, she readily admitted the lyrics don’t all come easy. When starting “Stoney End,” Streisand suggested her musical director on piano “point to me when I come in.”

But any mishaps were all part of charm of the 2.5-hour concert, as performer and audience went along on a trip to decades past. Images of Streisand’s album covers were displayed behind her for various songs, as she talked about recording them and how some of the cover art was created. Having a career in recording has given her a place to have control, she said. She later laughed about times where she gave up control, such as when a record company removed the bump from her nose for the cover of The Way We Were.

“Me and my bump go together,” she said.

Streisand is also releasing a new album Aug. 26, Encore, where she sings Broadway tunes with some of her acting costars. Streisand entered the arena to a standing ovation, and proceeded to offer a variety of crowd pleasers including “The Way We Were” and “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,” plus several of Steven Sondheim’s Broadway numbers. At 74, the clarity and nuances of her voice still seemed effortless.

The show included an intermission, with the second half bringing down the house with hits such as the lively “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” “People” and “Happy Days are Here Again.”

Streisand, often known for her liberal-leaning political views, was not shy expressing her opinions about Clinton, Trump and the current presidential election throughout the show.

“Some people say I am a control freak, but Donald Trump is an out-of-control freak,” she said.

Her political commentary and support for the Democratic Party nominee—”I’m in a great mood … and Hillary’s up 10 points”—was mostly met with cheering. Streisand asked if there were any Republicans in the crowd, adding, “Art transcends politics.”

The night may have focused mainly on memories, but the entertainer made it clear she was up on pop culture: “I followed ‘Pokemon Go,’ and it led me here to the Shark Tank.”

Lengthy applause brought the singer back out for an encore, musing, “The problem is that we haven’t rehearsed another song.” People in the crowd shouted requests, prompting Streisand to ask, “Is this the audience participation part?” Her musical director flipped through pages of sheet music to find the piece Streisand had in mind. The final song turned out to be “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was,” from the 1939 musical “Too Many Girls.”

“The Music … The Mem’ries … The Magic” tour incorporates some actual stage magic. Mentalist Lior Suchard came out to perform a couple tricks during the show, including inviting a woman on stage to participate and meet Streisand.

Although Suchard’s illusions were impressive, the real magic came from Streisand herself. Engaging, funny, talented and downright likable, she gave the audience new mem’ries to enjoy for time to come.

Follow writer Lea Blevins at

The Way We Were
Being at War With Each Other
Everything Must Change
Woman in Love / Stoney End / No More Tears (Enough is Enough)
You Don’t Bring Me Flowers
Being Alive
Papa, Can You Hear Me?

Act II
Pure Imagination
Who Can I Turn To?
Losing My Mind
Isn’t This Better
How Lucky Can You Get
With One More Look at You
Children Will Listen
Don’t Rain on My Parade
Happy Days Are Here Again

I Didn’t Know What Time it Was

(1) Comment

  1. donna blevins

    Great review which so nicely captures the feeling of the evening. I was in the audience and loved every minute of Barbra. She still wows!

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