KMB Review: San Jose, The Mercury News

Rapid Review
Bette Midler

Over the top and loud was how the divine Bette Midler described herself in a skit during her brilliant, flashy and scathing 2 1/2-hour “Kiss My Brass” vaudeville-style show Saturday at San Jose’s HP Pavilion.

She was just enough of both. Like Janet Jackson, she toned nothing down for the big arena. This was R-rated and bawdy, bolstered by the comedy writing of Bruce Vilanch and Eric Kornfield. She took on sex, celebrities and sex, national politics, and had plenty of local content.

Highlights: Busby Berkeley met the gay bathhouses of the 1970s, as she brought back her “Fish Tales Over Broadway,” featuring a colorful quartet of “Harlotte” mermaids in wheelchairs. She covered hits from “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” to “Wind Beneath My Wings,” to her latest Rosemary Clooney offerings.

Local color: “Nice to be here at the San Jose Arena. No, the Kumquat Arena. The Compaq Arena. The HP Pavilion. This place has been called more names than Larry Ellison.”

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