I know what you’re thinking. So let’s just get it out of the way: Like buttah. Like satin. Like whatever that perfume is that Elizabeth Taylor hawked. Oh, right: White Diamonds. Barbra Streisand sounded like diamonds. And porcelain and a freshly drawn bath and consommé.
The voice is 74. So maybe the carats are fewer, but so what? It remains The Voice. Thursday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, it never asked to be received in pity, graded on a curve or helped across the street. There was some nervousness beforehand that it would be somehow … off.
But no: On, on, on. For example, its owner continues to make the finale of “Don’t Rain on My Parade” sound like a space shuttle leaving Earth, the gravitational force enough to yank what looked like a sold-out crowd to its feet.
That came well into the second act during a “Funny Girl”-“Funny Lady” stretch, in which Ms. Streisand walked us through the films’ plots, while movie clips played on screen behind her. We didn’t need any of that, but it made a kind of sense. This wasn’t a star doing battle with a former self. It was a woman having fun with the past.
Backed by an elastic band and aided by teleprompters, she spent a lot of her more than two hours onstage explaining the stories behind songs and performances and album covers. Her “A Star Is Born” soundtrack — the third-biggest movie of 1976, by the way — has that great image of a shirtless Kris Kristofferson palming the head of a shirtless Ms. Streisand, their mouths almost meeting, their hunger mutual. Staring up at that cover, she said, “If you’re wondering what I was wearing during this shoot, it was musk.”
For well north of two hours, Ms. Streisand was like that: amusing, self-amused, at home. Before her encore, she chided us for keeping us from her dinner: “My pizza’s getting cold!” People would shout compliments or requests, and she’d talk back. Early on, after “Everything,” from “A Star Is Born,” she said, “There’s just one more thing I want” — which turned into an endorsement for Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy. Before doing “Pure Imagination,” Gene Wilder’s song from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” she offered environmental entreaties that made you think she was going to do “Mercy Mercy Me” instead. When it was over, she said, “And that’s why we shouldn’t vote for someone who believes climate change is a hoax,” referring, presumably, to Mrs. Clinton’s opponent, Donald J. Trump.
So the arena became Ms. Streisand’s living room, her audience became guests, and stage patter sometimes took cozy TED Talk turns. Meanwhile, the people in the front rows leapt up so often it was fair to ask whether she was delivering a State of the Union speech too. Ms. Streisand sang about two dozen songs — the ones you’d expect (“People,” “Evergreen,” lots of Stephen Sondheim) and a few, like “Pure Imagination,” which you wouldn’t. That one is on her new duets record, “Encore,” which comes out later this month and has her singing with stars from Melissa McCarthy and Anne Hathaway to Antonio Banderas and Chris Pine. (Her partner on “Pure Imagination” is Seth MacFarlane.)