Bette Digs Detroit…

Midler’s show is big and brassy
By Alan Sculley / Special to The Detroit News

At 57, Bette Midler can still charm a crowd with plenty of song, comedy and dance.

During concerts on her current Kiss My Brass tour, Bette Midler makes a frequent joke about her stubborn refusal to retire from touring — a joke not lost on fans of Cher, a diva of a similar vintage who undertook a much ballyhooed, seemingly unending farewell tour during the past two years.

That will be good news for fans of the “Divine Miss M” who certainly is having no problems showing that she can still command an arena stage on the current concert tour that stops Saturday at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

Playing in St. Louis about three weeks ago on the third date of her tour, Midler, who looks years younger than her actual age of 57, charmed the crowd with a show that — as fans would expect — combined plenty of song, comedy and dance, as it touched on highlights from Midler’s multi-faceted career.

Midler has called the Kiss My Brass show the most elaborate of her career. The stage set, inspired by the Coney Island Amusement Park in New York, features an abundance of lights and a dockside backdrop, a horse from a carousel and for one segment of the show, a beachfront setting.

The show features the return of two long-time favorites of Midler’s live performance — her backup singers the Harlettes and her wheelchair riding mermaid character, Delores Delago.

Throughout the evening, a large band, complete with a five-piece horn section, provides a full-bodied musical backdrop for the career-spanning set of songs included in Midler’s show. Naturally, her new CD, “Bette Midler Sings the Rosemary Clooney Songbook,” is spotlighted with a couple of performances as well.

Midler’s long-time friend, Barry Manilow, conceived and produced that CD, a tribute to the late singer Clooney who recently received a Grammy nomination for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. Throughout the show, Midler is wise-cracking and occasionally bawdy.

She seems to stay on top of events as the tour continues. For instance, she recently was making fun of former Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein, and this was just a couple of days after the his capture. She even poked fun at herself, using a video segment to highlight “Bette,” her 2000 television comedy that bombed after its initial run. That television show, of course, has been one of the few failures of Midler’s diverse career.

In recent years, Midler has been more of a frequent presence on the touring circuit. She toured in 1999 and planned to return to the road with this current show last year, but decided to delay the tour for a year while she strengthened her singing voice.

While touring, Midler has shown that her voice — not to mention her campy wit — were in prime form (just wait for her show-stopping performance of “When A Man Loves A Woman”).

Midler may joke about impending retirement, but her Brass tour suggests she is far too inspired and excited about performing to exit stage left anytime soon.

Share A little Divinity
Verified by MonsterInsights