Thursday, 10 May 2007

Review: Philadelphia Daily News

Missed the concert? Try Streisand's 'Live'

VIVA LA DIVA! Ticket prices were sky high for Barbra Streisand's concert tour last year, ostensibly driven by her desire to fund favorite charities but also because she was lugging around a massive, 65-piece orchestra. And because, well, she still sounds great (though slightly huskier than memory serves) and thus "deserves" $250 or $500 a ticket.
But if you didn't take out a second mortgage to attend, or want to hear the material more clearly than you did at the hockey rink, here's the double disc "Streisand Live in Concert 2006" (Columbia, A), list-priced at a mere $25. The package features Babs' best, "like butta" performances culled from five shows at three venues, making us wonder if/how they'll release a video version.

Bits of her gracious between-song patter are included, though not that controversial comedic confrontation she staged nightly with a George Bush look-alike.

Also for better and worse, we get three duets with her special guests Il Divo - the handsome, international quartet of pop-classical singers put together by "A.I.'s" Simon Cowell. Their multilingual collaboration on "Evergreen" drives home that La Streisand is a world phenom, but the gents' sonic sappiness clogs the arteries of "The Music of the Night" and "Somewhere."

While the fans still lap up her "Funny Girl" and "Yentl" material best, I was happiest to hear Streisand's first recordings of the still-telling "South Pacific" songs "Carefully Taught" and "A Cockeyed Optimist."