Barbra Streisand opened her first U.S. tour in 12 years last night (Oct. 4) with a show that ridiculed her political nemesis, President George W. Bush.
Before a capacity crowd of some 16,000 people at South Philadelphia’s Wachovia Center, Streisand gave assured renditions of standards from her long career as a singer and actress, including “Funny Girl,” “Come Rain or Come Shine,” “Love Theme from ‘A Star is Born’ (Evergreen)” and “Somewhere.” “When the Sun Comes Out” appeared for the first time since 1967, while Streisand said she hadn’t performed “Down With Love” since 1963.
The show also featured a skit where an actor playing Bush uttered such lines as, “I’m concerned about the national debt, so I’m selling Canada,” and “If I cared about the polls I would have run for president of Poland.”
Streisand, 64, a longtime liberal activist, said she was coming out of retirement to raise money for her foundation, which supports a range of causes related to the environment, education, health care and other issues.
Wearing a black sequin outfit with a slit skirt for the first half of the show and a black gown and shawl with gold trim after the interval, Streisand sat at a tall swivel chair at the front of the stage and at different times during the two-and-a-half-hour show moved upstage on a series of walkways around the orchestra.
She explained her reliance on a teleprompter by recalling that she had been so traumatized by forgetting the words to three songs at a 1967 concert in New York she had stopped giving live concerts for more than 20 years. She declared six years ago that she would not play live anymore.
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