A dream come true.
Going through security to see a show at Wembley Arena was something I had not experienced before. Keys and anything metal had to be put into a dish as I walked through the metal detectors.
I was nervous in apprehension and excitement for this was to be the culmination of a 25 year ambition and an impossibility for decades past.
This was to be a dream come true. A life times ambition.
I was in a state of disbelief that I was even there.
Wembley arena with its 20,000 capacity was only half full as I took my seat - my Black Market £250 ticket in hand and looking around I could see that all the adverts, all the concrete beams, everything that made this an impersonal venue - was covered in black fabric and the entire venue had been carpeted to make it more personal.
The stage set before us was partially lit and so very elegant.
As I sat waiting - stylishly dressed people started filling the seats and you could feel the excitement, the joy at being here and the atmosphere was absoloutely electric.
I could hear people around me talking and saying exactly what I was thinking - and what I had been thinking ever since getting the ticket for the evening...
' I can't believe I am here. After all these years.'
As the venue filled and it came closer to the advertised start time, and announcement came over telling us to switch our mobile phones off... and everyone cheered... the excitement was mounting.
Then the 72 piece orchestra started taking their places and 'warming up' and the sound of an orchestra is a very special prelude to what was to come.
The excitement soared. My stomach churned, my mouth was dry and I was in a sate of mild shock, a pleasant shock - of disbelief and bewlderment. All these people - all as excited as myself - all as anxious - all as thrilled. It was a joy to just sit and absorb the enregies.
Eventually the orchestra started up the opening medley of greatest hits and the crowd cheered - the music played on and on changing from one famous tune to another with more cheers each time, and eventually,
The lights dimmed.
The crowd hushed.
A spotlight lit the side of the stage where an elegant staircase was postioned
The music built and the curtain opened and Barbra Streisand appeared - walked to the top of the stairs and the audiance went bolistic.
On our feet clapping and cheering, wistling and making all sorts of din as 20,000 people roared their absolute delight.
The one and only.
The biggest star.
One of only a handful to have won Grammies , Emmies , Tony's and Oscars.
A massive movie star.
And here she was after decades of adoring her, decades of not performing lice, and here she was standing just 100 feet away from me taking in the audiance and the standing ovation.
The music built louder, and eventually she took the mike, the audiance hushed - and that voice I had played thousands of times started singing 'With One Look' and I was in Heaven.
I almost cried.
This was her first tour - her first singing in public - for decades, and I was there to see it . This was 1994 and was the first time I saw her live. I had already bought 5 tickets for closing night and was taking some friends I knew could not afford it but who would have given their left nut to attend - and it was my delight to treat them to this forever memory - and I had also managed to buy this black market ticket for opening night from a member of Sony staff, who were the promotors of the tour, and I was in second heaven.
A couple of hundred yards away, sat someone who was in the future to become a good and dear friend - someone who was actually in Yentl with Streisand and had quite a few scenes with her - and at that moment we had never met, while living 3 houses down on the opposite side to me in Hammersmith... and he was also sat there in awe and wonderment that here he was, at the first Streisand concert in decades, and he - like me - was close to tears.
Naturally, everything went exactly as very well rehearsed and the whole evening was a lifetime memory. As it would be,- this was, after all, - Barbra Streisand and not Lulu or Kylie - no offence to Lulu or Kylie, as there simply is no comparrison. We were in the presence of royalty - pure royalty.
This was not just a singer.
This was not just any singer
This was the 'worlds greatest star'
Frank Sinatra Elvis Presley
The list of all time greats is a long one and there are many ' greats' but there are few with the longevity, the talent and the passion and few who go on to being a Diva with reason - a 'once in a lifetime' experience and someone who has always been there for you in times of need with a song or a film that has captured the moment and helped you through. There are few who you have truly followed from that initial moment of hearing for the first time - to becoming hooked - grabbed by the balls and just held there, in awe, for decades.
From her first oscar winning movie 'Funny Girl' - I had every album,. knew every song, had watched every film and read every article about her in the papers and even kept scrap books of paper cuttings on her - and here she was singing just for me... Up close and personal, or so it felt. As the mass of people dissapeared and my vision, by consciousness, my very being, was in full attention of every word, every breath and ever 'typical ' Streisand move and pose and expression, seen in her movies and now here live. Right in front of me.
It was th first of many occasions I would see her live and the first always sticks out in your memory as the best.
John Bellamy ~