It was an evening that
elicited tears, standing ovations, laughter,
and shouts of joy from the audience--and that
was just in the first few minutes.
Streisand's return to touring after a 12-year
absence was the extravaganza that it promised to be.
Monday night's show at Madison Square Garden
was the third stop of a 20-city jaunt across
the nation--a virtual lovefest between the
ultimate diva and an adoring, sold-out,
through a select repertoire of her four
decades of hits. But the night's most riveting
moment came during what was perhaps the only
uncomfortable--episode in the three-hour show.
There was Streisand,
enduring a smattering of loud jeers as she and
"George Bush"--a celebrity
impersonator--muddled through a skit
that portrayed the president as a bumbling idiot.
Though most of the
crowd offered polite applause during the
slightly humorous routine, it had gone on a bit too
long, especially for those who just wanted to
hear Streisand sing like she had been doing
for the past hour.
"Come on, be polite!"
the well-known liberal implored during the
sketch as she and "Bush" exchanged zingers.
But one heckler wouldn't let up. And finally,
Streisand let him have it.
"Shut the fuck up!"
Streisand bellowed, drawing wild applause.
"Shut up if you can't take a joke."
With that one f
word, the jeers ended. And the message was
delivered--no one gets away with trying
to upstage Barbra Streisand, especially not in her hometown.
After the outburst,
which Streisand later apologized for, she
noted that "the artist's role is to disturb" and
delivered a message of tolerance before launching
into a rendition of "Somewhere." That put the
focus back on what the audience came for: her singing.
doesn't seem to have been affected much by her
long layoff from performing.
Early on she seemed to
fall short of her full
potential--moments when she once belted a
tune, she now seemed simplytosing at a steady
register, sounding great but not delivering
the big showstopper as she had in the past. But as
the evening progressed she got stronger, such
as during her stirring performance of one of
her biggest hits, "People."
Though she sang a few
of her signature songs, the evening was not
designed as a hit parade. Instead, the show had more
of a cabaret feel, from the choice of songs to
her onstage banter.(Nekesa Mumbi Moody, AP)