She’s said it before, and some expect her to say it again, but Barbara Streisand has, at last, given her final concert.
“It feels like time to say goodbye to this part of my life,” Streisand said during her parting words at a sold-out concert in Madison Square Garden on Thursday night.
The crowd seemed touched, but as the lengthy standing ovation might attest, was reluctant to say goodbye.
“There’s a magic about her. Chills just go down through your spine. It’s hard to let her go,” said Alan Zaslow, who came from Philadelphia for Streisand’s curtain call.
The 58-year-old entertainer, who has long complained of stage fright, is hanging up her high heels and gowns to concentrate on acting, directing and recording albums.
The Way We Were
The farewell tour, two shows each in Los Angeles and New York, was a revamped version of Streisand’s Las Vegas Millennium Eve concert, giving audiences a trip down Barbra’s memory lane.
Between songs last night, Streisand shared memories of her early days playing small clubs in Greenwich Village, singing with Benny Goodman’s orchestra and doing duets with Judy Garland and the Bee-Gee’s Barry Gibb.
Streisand, whose live performances have been few-and-far between, also explained to the audience why she couldn’t bring herself to perform live for nearly 30 years.
She described playing in Central Park in the late 1960s where she was hit by such tremendous stagefright that she wasn’t able to remember the words to three songs.
“I was so traumatized, I couldn’t perform in front of a paying audience for close to 30 years.”
Streisand performed a 28-song set that included several of her most notable numbers, such as “There’s a Place for Us,” “Send in the Clowns,” “As Time Goes By,” and “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” from the show Funny Girl. She closed with her signature song, “People.”
Streisand ended the show by reminding the crowd that she had no intention of retiring, but that she wanted “what everybody else wants: more time to do things for myself and to live my life. I have been working since I was 11 years old.”
Making Time for Her Man
The decision to stay off the stage is also intended to give the singer more time with her husband. “Now that I’m happily married, I want to live life with the person I love,” Streisand told US Weekly. She married actor James Brolin in 1998. Her first marriage, to actor Elliott Gould, ended in divorce in 1971.
Streisand explained in the magazine interview that she already has a full schedule with Brolin. “We’re about to build a farmhouse barn and that takes as much time and energy as making a movie.
“Jim and I love to travel. We love boats and long car trips. We just drove back from Calgary … we like to eat on the road, mostly in the car. We rented a minivan in Canada.”
Streisand stressed that she still wants to “direct movies, act, write and record. Maybe I’ll write a book on decorating or gardening.”
Streisand, who has 42 gold albums to her credit, admitted that there are some things she will miss about singing on stage.
But she added, “I won’t miss walking around for two and a half hours in high heels.”
ABCNEWS Radio’s Bill Diehl, the Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.