SHE was singin' in the rain in Co. Kildare on Saturday night, and it's quite likely Barbra Streisand was none too happy with the downpour that greeted her first ever show on Irish soil, or should we say mud. But her anger can't compare to the untold number of fans, many of whom forked out hundreds of dollars per ticket, who were stuck in the mother of all traffic jams trying to get to the show at Castletown House in Celbridge -not that far from Dublin and then had to endure a seemingly endless trek through a muddy parking lot to get inside. To add insult to injury, once they did they discovered that the show had started and their seats were taken . . . and nobody did a blessed thing about it.
Streisand was forced to delay the 8 p.m. start by 45 minutes to accommodate the stream of fans who were still outside the venue because of the combination of bad weather and worse traffic. Media reports in Ireland said that some concert-goers literally abandoned their cars on the side of the road in an effort to get to the show on time, but only gate to Castletown House was open. (Of course, there was a separate entrance for VIPs, making matters even worse.)
"It was chaos outside, and chaos inside. People just rushed up to the front; you could just walk up and hob-nob with the rich and famous in the €500 seats," one upset fan who spent 3 1/2 hours journeying from Dublin told The Irish Times.
Concert promoters MCD have major egg - or should we say mud - on their faces due to the ineptness. They blamed the weather, the traffic and Streisand's inability to reschedule the show due to other commitments.
"It was felt that despite the less than perfect weather and traffic conditions, her fans would want the concert to go ahead," the company said in a statement.
"Some fans who arrived late to the show encountered problems with their designated seating. This was due to a small number of opportunistic fans taking seats which were not assigned to them and refusing to move when requested by authorities." Refusing to move? Who knew Babs' fans were so rowdy!
On Tuesday, as fan outrage grew via radio call-in shows and letters to the media, MCD announced the formation of a committee to examine exactly what went wrong with the staging of La Streisand's first (and probably last) Irish gig. The committee has some heavy hitters on board, including the former commissioner of the Irish police force Pat Byrne. MCD said it had received 127 complaints from fans about the event.
Aside from all that, how was the legend herself? "Barbra herself was brilliant. But I spent the first half looking at people fighting over seats," said one fan. She sang lots of hits during the two-hour set, including, most appropriately, a cover of the Ray Charles song "Come Rain or Come Shine."
Reports had it that Streisand, who bunked at the Four Seasons in Dublin during her Irish stay, requested 200 fluffy peach bath towels for her dressingroom at Castletown House. She's not only a funny lady but a smart one, too. They undoubtedly came in handy when dealing with the inclement weather.