I don't know what I expected from this . . . another well-timed but superficial performance to enhance sales vis a vis Oprah . . . the former president was there, and his wife and child . . . lots of old timers from the theater world. Phyllis Newman, Mrs. Jule Styne, Lorraine Gordon, etc. Her buddy, Cis Corman, and husband, the very cool Mr. Brolin. Could this possibly be a sincere artistic effort? I got it in the mail yesterday and sat down with my dogs and a glass of red wine and a little trepidation. I am not that fond of the "Love is the Answer" CD, though on repeated hearings, I think it is masterful, but requires some effort like an obscure artsy French or Japanese movie, maybe. Not a simple listen for me. I have purchased everything Streisand has released since I first saw the movie "Funny Girl" in 1968; I admittedly have not liked everything she has done. I walked out of her 2006 concert tour in Washington, DC at intermission because I thought it was awful (mostly Il Divo, in restrospect). I guess I mostly like my Barbra to myself and not in an arena with 15,000 other people. Anyway, I watched this thing once, and as each song passed, and as the banter played out, I became haunted and mesmerized once again by this "girl singer." Where did she come from? Where did this voice come from? This face? These eyes? That knowing smile? The gift of irony and sharp-edged humor? So after another couple of glasses of wine, I watched it again knowing I could just sit back and enjoy the give and take of it. I still don't know what to say. It's unlike anything I've seen previously from her or anyone else. As good in its way as "Happening in Central Park." Once she hits her stride and we get used to the panning shots of the audience and band, and take a deep breath because we know this is a "real" and "live" performance, then the thing makes complete sense as a work of art and not as the promotion it may have started out as. The long delay at the beginning waiting for her to appear, the anticipation, her inner Barbra shining through (she IS funny) in the dialogue (scripted? who knows);the planned or unplanned pan and zoom to her long-ago self singing at the "Blue Angel." This is the "girl singer" we hoped was still around somewhere. By the end, I wasn't sitting down, but was up against the big screen, with the speakers turned up to blasting, staring at this woman that could have been 67 or 17, she was that good, that eternal. Through all the showbiz stuff, and criticisms, and praise and awards, and whatever, here is at last a performance that will stand up there with the best she has ever done, or at least that we have the privelege to view. She worked at this, you can tell, her hair is a mess by the end. And she is hot, not just dewy. And did I say that she was beautiful, and funny, and sweet, and complicated, and . . . simply Streisand. I loved her interactions with the piano player, so cute, so giving. He must have been stressed, especially when she walked off the stage early, and you can hear him in the background shouting to the band "Happy Days are Here Again" to cover her leaving the stage unexpectedly. The camerwork is startingly considering all the limitations in this small and crowded room. I don't know, for some reason this made me think of the incomparable Robert Altman and how he might have made this. It even plays a bit like a movie. It really is that good! So finally, thank you, dearest, for all the years. Thank you most of all for this performance. What a gift!