'Glee' Stars, Prince, Stevie Wonder Honor Barbra Streisand
If you're gonna throw a party for Barbra Streisand it better be big. Everything about Streisand, from her iconic voice to her outspokeness over the years, has a grandness to it and last night's 21st annual MusiCares Dinner, where Streisand was honored as part of Grammy Week as the organization's person of the year, was Babs-fitting.
From a video tribute by her friend former President Bill Clinton to the legendary Sidney Poitier sitting in the audience, this event brought out celebrity royalty, and most of it took the stage for an amazing night of music.
The MusiCares Person of the Year dinner, which in the past has honored the likes of Elton John, Sting, Aretha Franklin, Billy Joel, Neil Diamond, and more, finds musicians performing the songs of the honoree, which, on this night, led to moments like Faith Hill doing 'Send In The Clowns,' Seal singing 'Guilty,' jazz singer Diana Krall performing 'Down With Love,' Leona Lewis' stunningly powerful 'Somewhere,' and many more.
As much as it was about Streisand, the night also served as a sort of an official welcoming of 'Glee' into the music community. There were 12 performances last night, not counting Streisand's closing set, and at least three of them involved the hit show, including the opening number, 'What Kind of Fool,' performed by the Warblers, who closed their appearance by blowing the guest of honor a big group kiss.
Lea Michelle, who did 'My Man,' earned a deserved huge ovation, but of the 'Glee' performances, the standout was Kristin Chenoweth and Matthew Morrison's Broadway-worthy duet of 'One Less Bell To Answer/A House Is Not A Home.' To add to the 'Glee' theme of the night, even Streisand joked about the show during her acceptance speech, commenting, "My niece just watched 'Funny Girl' for the first time and she said to me, 'Why are you doing songs from 'Glee'?'"
It was a big night for the show, one that had 'Glee' Music Director Adam Anders doting on the red carpet. "I'm very proud of them because I started my work with them vocally and most of them had never even been in the studio before, a couple of them had never sung in their lives," Anders told Popeater before the show. "Now to see how far they've come and how good they've gotten and how professional they are, it's very exciting. I feel almost like the dad a little bit tonight."
And he should've been proud, as they shared the stage wth some of music's true greats. As we said, the night brought out royalty, and among those greats that played were guitar god Jeff Beck, jamming with BeBe Winans and LeAnn Rimes on a show-stopping 'Come Rain Or Come Shine,' arguably the best individual performance of the night, the timeless Barry Manilow, who serenaded Streisand with 'Memories,' a song they both had a hit with, and Tony Bennett, who got the first standing ovation of the night with his sweet rendition of the Charlie Chaplin-penned 'Smile.'
Bennett, one of the greatest singers of multiple generations, normally would close a show but this night had so many greats and if there was someone who could follow Bennett on stage it is Stevie Wonder, who was joined by Arturo Sandoval on horn, jazzed up 'People,' adding Sandoval's trumpet and his own harmonica for another standout.
And then finally real music royalty took the stage, as after a tribute video, Prince brought out, as he put, it, "The woman of the hour." She gave a brief speech, thanking many in her career, and talking about her art, saying, "I love music for what it does to the soul, I love music for what it's given me. It gave me a job when I couldn't find one acting and I love the way it binds us together." She also addressed many of the performers, admitting she was a little "verklempt" at the whole thing, but what people came to see was Streisand sing. And she did, starting off with a medley higlighted by 'The Way We Were' and 'Evergreen (Love Theme From A Star Is Born).' She also thrilled the crowd when she announced she went into the studio last week to start work on a new album of songs written by long time friends Alan and Marilyn Bergman, and she gave a preview, doing 'The Windmills Of Your Mind.' Between the chance to see Streisand in a small setting like a hotel ballroom, hear her speak, and get news of a new album, the night was complete for any fan.
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