The new 3-DVD set Streisand The Concerts is being marketed as the perfect Mothers Day gift, and its true that in the two live concerts captured here "Live at Arrowhead Pond/July 1994," from a multi-city tour that marked her first public concert appearances in 27 years, and "Live in Concert 2006," recorded in Fort Lauderdale there are more than a few moms (and a few gentlemen, too) swooning in the audience. But this package is of interest not just to fanatic Babs fans but to anyone interested in the art of singing.
Because what this set confirms is just how extraordinary a singer Barbra Streisand is. You knew that, of course, but over the years the sheer size of her public persona the mannerisms, the speechifying, the self-aggrandizement has tended to obscure the talent. Tracing the arc of her career from the groundbreaking 60s TV specials (excerpted here on the third DVD), its clear that her musical intelligence was not only there from the beginning but has only improved over time. Its also fascinating to see the development of Streisand the entertainer, from wacky ingénue to ultra-polished diva to the woman we see in 2006 relaxed, open, wryly humorous. And all the way through theres That Voice, with its tonal purity, bang-on pitch and astonishing power; even at 64 (her age at the 2006 concert) she can still hold a note like nobody else, soaring up to a big finish that leaves audiences awestruck.
Celine Dion, eat your heart out.