Barbra Streisand made the capacity crowd at Nassau Coliseum feel at home Thursday night, with a lovely show that paired personal stories with powerful songs from throughout her career.
“Music transcends politics,” she told the crowd after discussing the current tumultuous times.
She turned the ’70s anti-war anthem “Being at War with Each Other” into a timely plea, with imagery that ranged from Vietnam to Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, and from the Selma marches to the Orlando Pulse nightclub shootings.
She also molded the songs to accentuate the strengths of her voice, elegantly shifting the phrasing of “The Way We Were.” Her pristine delivery of “Being Alive” was thrilling, making the most of her powerful voice during complicated passages.
The Nassau Coliseum show — which marked the end of the arena’s star-studded first month since reopening after a $165 million renovation — was her first Long Island concert since 1963, when she performed at the Lido Club in Lido Beach. (“I was three years old then,” she joked. “I could get used to these alternative facts.”)
But Streisand made sure to let fans know that 1963 wasn’t the last time she was in the area.
“I started to come here five years ago and I got caught in traffic on the Long Island Expressway,” she said.
Streisand’s “The Music . . . The Mem’ries . . . The Magic!” tour, which wraps up Saturday at Barclays Center, plays off her remarkable record of having a No. 1 album in each of the past six decades by performing a song from each decade in concert. She showed her ability to handle everything from Broadway to disco, with “No More Tears” sounding effortlessly masterful. Even her Lawn GuyLand accent was on target.
“I love your accent here,” she said. “Being from Brooklyn, we don’t have an accent.”
After this tour, Streisand plans to finish writing her memoir and and will be focusing on her duties as the newly named chairwoman of the board for the World Trade Center’s planned performing arts center.
And the research she has done for the book has paid off, as she recalled various life lessons. When she showed an album cover she had to fight for that ended up winning a Grammy, she said, “It was a good lesson for me to follow my own instincts.”