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Category:    Home > Reviews > Concerts > Pop > Standards > Barbra Streisand – The Concerts (Live Nation/Universal Music/3-DVD set)

Barbra Streisand – The Concerts (Live Nation/Universal Music/3-DVD set)


Picture: C+     Sound: B     Extras: C+     Concerts: B



Despite her albums always being in print, along with most of her feature films on home video, there always seems to be an eventual lack of Barbra Streisand in concert on any format.  Not that she does many concerts and since she controls her catalog, such material is not available often.  The boldly named Barbra Streisand – The Concerts is not a mega-anthology of every show she ever made, but two more recent concerts (from 2006 and 1994) and other materials now on DVD in another nicely package set.


Streisand in her perfectionist days once said she did not want to grow old singing her early hits like People and The Way We Were, instead deciding to stretch into any new material she could and putting out strong albums for which she would later co-produce.  The strategy worked for The Broadway Album, The Movie Album and a few others, but backfired on Emotion (made too quickly by her own admission after Yentl) and Guilty Pleasures, a sequel to Guilty (1980) which happened far too late.  By 1994, she was willing to sing those classics and it was not the “living dead” death sentence to her career she first feared.


The vocal group Il Divo is the only guest in the HD-shot 2006 show on DVD 1 that includes a Funny Girl medley, Down With Love, The Way We Were, Evergreen, Come Rain Or Come Shine (from her underrated Wet album), My Man, People, The Music Of The Night, Happy Days Are Here Again, A Cockeyed Optimist, Smile and Somewhere.  Her singing is truly amazing and she comes up with some interesting variances to her classics at times, then comes up with remarkable phrasing in others.  You also get a few bonus tracks, interviews – behind the scenes and a piece on The Streisand Foundation.  Note this is also coming out on Blu-ray.


The 1994 Live At Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim show is as strong, including some of the songs from the other concert, plus Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man, Lover Man, He Touched Me, The Man That Got Away, On A Clear Day (You Can See Forever), You Don’t Bring Me Flowers, For All We Know and a Yentl medley.  There are no extras on this disc, but I was surprised I had not seen this show sooner.


DVD 3 has the documentary Putting It Together, about the making of The Broadway Album, a smart, fun, proud documentary featurette like nothing we have seen since, showing the decline and too often lack of pride in album launches from the major record labels.  It plays up Streisand’s career up until that time and helped make the album one of her biggest sellers still to this day.  William Friedkin (who directed the famous Music Video for Somewhere, featured here) does the interviews, we get a few guest stars and it is a welcome reissue.


The disc also has unrelated extras in the form of clips from the Television Specials, a set of which we already reviewed and you can read more about below.  The clips include:


1)     People, from My Name Is Barbra (1965)

2)     Yesterdays, from Color Me Barbra (1966)

3)     I’m Always Chasing Rainbows, from The Bell Of 14th Street (1967)

4)     Silent Night, from A Happening In Central Park (1968)

5)     Crying Time with Ray Charles from Barbra Streisand… and Other Musical Instruments (1973)



It is a solid sampling from what has turned out to be the best cycle of music artist specials in TV history and though the performances are not always form concerts, they fit on this set well.


The 1.33 X 1 image throughout to all materials up to 1996 originated in professional NTSC video, from the first black and white special.  Though there are slight improvements in definition as the footage becomes newer, the range of quality is not as dramatic as expected, with the oldest clips still being colorful and in remarkable shape, while the 1996 concert has aliasing errors and weaker color.  The anamorphically enhanced 1.78X 1 image on the 2006 concert is softer than expected and is likely a 1080i HD source, so we’ll see how improvements are with the Blu-ray when we get it.


The DTS 5.1 sound is available on all three discs and as expected, is pushing and stretching it for the documentary and TV specials, but on the newer concerts, sounds really good and at times, performs exceptionally well.  The PCM 2.0 Stereo tracks are also not bad, but no match for the DTS, which now becomes some of the better audio of Streisand on the market.  The only other extra is a color booklet with tech information, track listing and an essay.



For more Streisand, try these links:


The Movie Album 5.1 SA-CD



The Television Specials




-   Nicholas Sheffo


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