Barbra Streisand jokes that she doesn’t mind being called a “living legend” — as long as the word “living” isn’t deleted from the phrase.
That was one response during a brief (seemingly not spontaneous) question-and-answer period during her “Back to Brooklyn” tour, which stopped at HP Pavilion in San Jose on Monday.
Despite too much filler in the nearly three-hour show, the sparkling performer, still in great voice at 70 and backed by an impeccable orchestra, demonstrated why she has earned those accolades.
“I can’t believe I’m hearing this live” moments included snippets from her career-making musical “Funny Girl” in gorgeous arrangements: “People,” “My Man” and the tear-jerking “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” which closed the first half of the show in a sequence where the movie’s famous tugboat was the only thing missing.
Equally moving was a tribute to her old friend Marvin Hamlisch — with “The Way We Were” and “Through the Eyes of Love” from the film “Ice Castles” — and the thrilling opener, “On a Clear Day.”
Looking elegant in sequins (which she said were hard to sit on), she sounded excellent on standards from “Nice ’n Easy,” “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” and “Didn’t We?” to “Smile,” which she shared with Il Volo, a cute, if not too exciting, teen Italian popera trio.
The show was a family affair. Video screens flashed fun photographs from Babs’ life and career, and she sang “How Deep is the Ocean?” with son Jason Gould, who got a vocal solo on “This Masquerade.”
Gould was OK, but he didn’t measure up to his aunt. Streisand was joined by her sister Roslyn Kind for a reprise of her famed “Get Happy”/“Happy Days Are Here Again” duet with Judy Garland. Smashing.
Trumpet master Chris Botti got time in the spotlight, and he and Streisand made magic on “My Funny Valentine,” “Evergreen” and “Lost Inside of You” from “A Star is Born.” When he said he performs more than 250 concerts per year, Streisand countered with, “I’ve done 90 since 1963.”
Warm and charming, she explained that stage fright stemming from a 1967 Central Park concert, in which she forgot some lyrics, kept her from performing live for decades.
Here’s hoping she doesn’t stay away so long again.