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Streisand at the Vanguard: Five Numbers Released Online

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Barbra Streisand
Lucky Streisand Fans Were A-Listers for a Night. When Barbra Streisand sings, all fans are equal.

Or so it first seemed on Saturday night at the Village Vanguard, the tiny West Village jazz club where she was singing for the first time in 48 years. In attendance, as you might expect for such a special event, were Ms. Streisands celebrity BFFs like Donna Karan and Nicole Kidman. And, ensconced at a side table, sat Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton.

But outnumbering the boldface names were two busloads of ticket-lottery winners, ordinary fans from around the world. Some said they had never been able to afford a Streisand ticket before, but on this night they rubbed elbows with Oscar winners and a former president, and their entrances to the 74-year-old club rivaled the celebrities in glamour.

When Rene Cole, a slender, blond 25-year-old from Brooklyn who was wearing a black dress she had made herself, stepped off the bus in front of the Vanguards red awning, camera flashes burst from the sidewalk crowd, and at the request of a videographer behind the police barricade, she took a twirl in her new dress on her way through the door.

I was plotzing, said Ms. Cole, an aspiring actress who added that Ms. Streisands story had inspired her to move to New York from coastal Maine to pursue her dream.

Concerts by Ms. Streisand are rare, but the scale of Saturdays show was exceptional enough to briefly upend the natural social order of celebrity events. To promote her new album, Love Is the Answer, which will be released on Tuesday by Columbia, Ms. Streisand was booked for one night at the Vanguard legal capacity 123, absurdly small for an artist who has sold 71 million albums in the United States alone. The scarcity was made more acute by the fact that 74 seats had been given away through online fan contests and that video cameras would be eating up some of the little space remaining.

A selection of video excerpts from Barbra Streisands Saturday night concert at the Village Vanguard are now available online.

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