Happy Thanksgiving Eve, or as I prefer to call it “Barbra: The Music…The Mem’ries…The Magic,” Day. I woke to an alert from Netflix, made coffee and settled in. My friend Yolanda and I saw her in Florida last December. We’ve been Barbra fans since 3rdgrade when our favorite singers were Michael Jackson and Barry Manilow. Yentl made her cry. For real. I had to hold her hand at the show during “Papa Can you Hear me.” She lost her shit.
For me, it’s the Barbraness. The diva, the voice, and her decades of #1 albums. I live for costume changes and big fans simulating the wind! Sammy and Bernie and John, were there, all adoring her and supporting her on her last tour. Because Barbra. She knows her voice and what it does. She’s mastered it. She has insisted on complete control of her creative life. I love her simple hair, the diamond studs, the acrylic nail manicures, and the fact that although she hovers a bit above us all, she has a weakness for ice cream and jokes with ease about aging. She doesn’t seem to take herself too seriously. I want to be as comfortable in my skin as she is in hers.
I went extra sparkly for Barbra. It’s Barbara, and it’s always nice to have an occasional opportunity to get sparkly. I wore embroidered taffeta and satin heels, we played Barbra all day in preparation. I even picked up a ribbon trimmed cape. Because Barbra.
We splurged for floor seat and floated in like princesses. We felt very pretty. It was easily one of the top 3 shows I’ve ever seen. Her appreciation for the drama needed for her last tour wasn’t just for her but for us too. She didn’t disappoint. I adore a costume change AND an intermission. Scenes from her movies appeared larger than life behind her as she introduced each song. It was less a concert than the Barbra experience.
After the 5th time someone told us how cute we were, we couldn’t tell if we felt condescended to or if we’d tripped into some sort of Barbra sisterhood, but that feeling from us instinctively sitting together nearly 40 years ago resurfaced. We both have a lot of experience being the only black person wherever, and it’s often hard to tell if you’re being laughed at or with. I got so tired of saying “No, we’re not sisters,” that I avoided returning eye contact and speaking to people after a while. It’s not as easy to accept as it used to be, and I can only attribute it to the fact that we all grow and change. Soon, the backdrop appeared for Yentl, and tears came to Yolanda’s eyes. We both decided it doesn’t really matter without saying anything in that moment. We just enjoyed Barbra.
We also stayed up until 2:00 AM talking about it…
…Then again the following Monday after my boss’s wife asked me why in the world I’d go to a Barbara Streisand concert because she thought I like rap music.