Jul 8, 2019
Barbra Streisand closes weekend one with a touch of class and charisma
Barbra Streisand’s spectacular performance was a fitting way to close a truly special sold out first weekend of BST Hyde Park.
✏️ by BST Hyde Park. 📸 by Louise Morris, Luke Hannaford, Rory James and Tom Hancock.
With the support cast of Bryan Ferry, Kris Kristofferson, The Kingdom Choir, Richard Marx, Jamie Lawson worthy of an award, we couldnt think of a better way to bring the first weekend to a close.
Streisand has had Number 1 albums in each of the last six decades - the greatest longevity for any solo recording artist with 11 US Number 1 albums, 6 in the UK – and also an extensive film career that has seen her win 2 Oscars, 10 Grammys (including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award), 5 Emmys and the Golden Globe ‘Best Director’ – the only woman to who have ever won this.
It should be no surprise then that on the Great Oak stage in the beautiful Hyde Park, we saw the American showcase not only her amazing musical prowess, but also her natural charisma and hilarious acting skills.
Her onstage antics ranged from impersonating a cockney accent to regularly sipping English Breakfast Tea in true British fashion. She hilariously tweaked the lyrics in opening track ‘As If We Never Said Goodbye’, mentioning the likes of Hyde Park, clotted cream, Cornish pasties and even Meghan Markle. The crowd roared in approval.
“On the way here, the driver asked me if I’d gone to any of the Pride celebrations. And I said why would I? I knew they’d be here tonight!” She continued “I believe everyone has the right to love everyone whoever they choose”.
The performance also featured a truly star-studded array of guests. Following Barbra speaking about her iconic role in A Star Is Born, she brought out none other than Kris Kristofferson to duet for the first ever time onstage, performing ‘Lost Inside Of You’ from the aforementioned film.
Later, West End’s finest Ramin Karimloo took to the stage. Finally, Lionel Richie burst onto the scene for a duet of ‘The Way We Were’. “Can I tell you that being in front of this audience, your audience, and being here to sing this song with you is going to be the check of my life”, said Lionel.
Before Streisand, the typically sleek crooner Bryan Ferry had the duty of warming up the crowd for the headline show, something him and the note-perfect backing band did with ease.
Donning a dapper navy suit, Bryan skipped, strutted and grooved through a myriad of hits such as ‘Can’t Let Go’, ‘You Can Dance’, ‘Let’s Stick Together’ and also some from his former band Roxy Music, including ‘Virginia Plain’, off their 1972 self-titled LP – just as the sun began to set on the gorgeous backdrop of Hyde Park.
Before joining Barbra on stage, country superstar Kris Kristofferson offered his own exceptional performance to a bustling Hyde Park basking in the glorious weather. “I’ve never seen so many people in my life”, chuckled Kris before striking the opening notes of his 1970 classic, ‘For The Good Times’.
Opening the Great Oak Stage was The Kingdom Choir, a London gospel choir who performed at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The 20 singers opened with a stunning rendition of Stormzy’s ‘Blinded By Your Grace, Pt. 2’, also doing an Aretha Franklin medley and even a cover of Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’. Here they are backstage after the show.
The Second Stage welcomed a whole host of talent. Hannah Grace, who counts Lady Gaga as a fan, kicked off proceedings with a spellbinding performance, followed by singer-songwriter Jamie Lawson and the iconic, Grammy Award winning Richard Marx.
The aptly named Summer Stage featured AJ Brown, Riva Taylor and Faouzia – whose powerful, infectious vocals and onstage charisma quickly drew in a massive crowd.