A truly divine Bette
BY COCO LACHINE
Bette Midler declared she isn’t retiring, and nobody can make her! Thank God, because her concert last week at the Sports Arena was every bit what you came to see. She opened with a production number of “Kiss My Brass”, descending on stage riding a carousel horse in a beautiful nautical pant outfit, amidst a set reminiscent of vintage Coney Island. She immediately wowed the crowd with her standards “Stuff Like That” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”, recreating the exact choreography with the Harlettes from a 1970s TV show clip. Bette did a set from her latest album featuring the songs of Rosemary Clooney, including “Come On – A My House” and “Hey There”. She also brought out Soph’ from the dusty closet, along with Ernie and Clementine.
Being from New York, my favorite part was her second set featuring Delores Del Largo, starting with her humble beginnings at the carnival sideshow, to her so-so Cabaret gig in “Chicago”, and finally, her big break in NYC with her show called “Fishtail Over Broadway”. Having fun with the lyrics, Ms. Del Largo launched into a series of songs covering Broadway for four decades, with “Everything’s Coming up Roses” (Gypsy), “Tonight” (West Side Story), “Cabaret”, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” (Carousel), “Tomorrow” (Annie), “And I Am Telling You” (Dreamgirls), “All That Jazz” (Chicago), “One” (Chorus Line), “Hello Dolly” and ending with “Give My Regards to Broadway”. All this, while kicking her tail and whirling around the stage in her motorized “Jazzie”, in her fab mermaid suit. The audience went wild when she sang “From a Distance” and “Wind Beneath My Wings”. As a curtain call, she gave us what we waited for all night – “The Rose”. After that, no other song could have followed.
Seen at the concert were Steve Miller, Robert Gleason and Mark Matys, John McCusker, Dan Ferbol and Steve Hardy, Rick Ford and Rafael Holguin, Julia Legaspi and Jess San Roque, Bill Beck and David Huskey, Chris Horton and Mike Zarbo, Ophelia and Cristina Monet, and practically half the queer community of San Diego County. If “Kiss My Brass” becomes a TV special, make sure you catch it. This is as divine as Ms. Midler ever was.