September 2006

A Convenient Tour That Addresses An Inconvenient Truth
Streisand “Must Sing Again” To Ensure Our Well Being

In late summer of 1986, Barbra Streisand made an announcement that shocked and delighted the entertainment industry, not to mention her throngs of fans, she announced she was about to give a one night concert in support of the Democratic party. It was a time during the Reagan years when AIDS was practically ignored by the administration and the horrible accident at Chernobyl had recently occurred. On her audio invitation to an invited audience of celebrities and political dignitaries, she declared “I felt I MUST sing again.” On September 6th of that year, she fulfilled her commitment by giving a concert entitled “One Voice” and raised millions of dollars for her fellow Democrats and establishing The Streisand Foundation. The foundation was formed to raise awareness, but most importantly money for causes such as HIV/AIDS, Gay Mens Health Crisis, AmFar, equipment and general health care facilities as well as the political causes she believes in. Since 1988, The Streisand Foundation direct contributions to charities have raised $15 million. Additional monies she has helped non-profits raise through her talents are an additional $14 million. Contribution of her 24 acre Ramirez Canyon estate in Malibu to the people of California and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a conservative estimate at the time of the 1993 donation) is $8 to $11 Million. This does not include $20 or more million raised for political causes such as her concerts for presidential and congressional candidates

On June 8th, 2006 she announced an 11 city tour that consisted of 20 concerts kicking off in Philadelphia on October 4 taking her to New York City, Washington, D.C., Detroit, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta, Chicago, San Jose, Las Vegas and winding down in Los Angeles on November 20th.

People had mixed emotions from elated to “how dare she!” The latter group of people seemed to be more than a bit peeved since they shelled out their hard earned dollars back in 2000 when Streisand announced her “Farewell Concerts.”  They were labeled “Timeless – Four Final Concerts” with two concerts in New York and two performed in Los Angeles. They thought she was worth the $100.00 to $1500.00 (not including scalpers tickets that sold for thousands) since they’d never hear their beloved diva give another concert again…ever! It’s fair to say that when the announcement was made, these people had a right to be upset. But hold on a minute, I also have a couple of pet peeves that seem in synch with Ms. Streisand’s reasons to go on the road again. Since September of 2000, we have endured 9-11, a corrupt administration, an unnecessary war, not to mention the rapid demise of our planet earth due to global warming. (Have you seen An Inconvenient Truth yet?)

With a commitment to direct millions of dollars to charitable organizations she supports, Barbra Streisand will undertake her first national tour in over a decade. To the concerned citizens, fans and the naysayers alike, Ms. Streisand has issued a statement noting “A prime reason I decided to tour again was the increasingly urgent need for private citizen support of women’s health and educational issues and environmental efforts to combat dangerous climate change. This will allow me to direct funds and awareness to certain causes that I care about deeply.” As her past efforts have proven successful, designated proceeds in support of philanthropic initiatives will be distributed through The Streisand Foundation. According to my sources in the Streisand camp they conveyed Barbra’s sentiments by saying, “this was the key consideration of why the tour was undertaken.” My contact also informed me that Streisand, as many Americans, “have been living in a world where things tend to go from bad to worse unless generous and passionate people pursue cures. She has always been motivated to support those people and the decision to tour again derives directly from the sense that these three issues are crucial points where the additional money and awareness can have impact.”

As for the tour, it will be presented by Michael Cohl for Concert Productions International and The Next Adventure (A Live Nation Company). “It’s an incredible opportunity to work with Barbra Streisand, certainly the greatest female performer of all time,” said Cohl. Streisand will be touring with the multi-platinum record selling quartet Il Divo. In a joint statement, Il Divo commented, “We believe the experience of working with Barbra Streisand – a truly legendary artist –will forever shape the way we approach our own singing and performing. Her voice and her music have profoundly influenced and inspired so many artists, including Il Divo, and we are thrilled to be sharing the stage with her.”

Barbra Streisand’s status as the #1 best-selling female artist with 50 gold, 30 platinum and 13 multi-platinum albums sold are pretty well publicized. The fact that she ranks ahead of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones and is only exceeded by Elvis in record sales are also facts that her fans know by heart. I would be remiss without mentioning she is the only artist in entertainment history to receive a Tony, two Oscars, six Emmy’s, eight Grammy’s (not including the Living Legend Grammy and the Lifetime Achievement Grammy), eleven Golden Globes (twelve when you count the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award) Cable Ace and Peabody Awards, and the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award.

As for Il Divo, in two short years, they have sold more than 12 million albums and have garnered over 80 gold and platinum awards in 33 countries. Their first two albums, Il Divo and Ancora, achieved 26 #1 chart positions Internationally, including a #1 debut in the United States. What? You think Barbra was going to have anybody but the best and most current and hottest musical act accompany her on what is sure to be her finest and most important tour? It’s not too shabby that besides their glorious vocals, these four guys happen to be major heartthrobs to millions of fans as well. How do you say “Hello Gorgeous” in Italian? I think we’ll find out this fall when the tour of the year, perhaps the decade kicks off. I’m so glad she felt she “must sing again.” If ever the world is in need of people needing people, it is now.

This article first appeared in the BottomLine Magazine in Palm Springs, CA.

© 2006 Steven M. Housman. All Rights Reserved.