KMB Review: The Buffalo News

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Midler is absolutely divine in larger-than-life performance
MUSIC REVIEW
The Buffalo News
By TONI RUBERTO
3/10/2004

Photo: ELIZABETH A.MUNDSCHENK

It’s been nearly 30 years since Bette Midler last performed in Buffalo. Judging by her dynamic performance Tuesday night in HSBC Arena she doesn’t appear to have aged a day – and she’ll be the first to say so.
“I’ve returned, how are you?” the Divine Miss M announced to the crowd early in her show. “I’m fabulous – don’t I look it? Even I don’t know how I do it.”

How she does it is a good question. Midler was spectacular. She danced and strutted across the stage, belted out numbers to standing ovations and let loose with a relentless stream of jokes throughout the 21/2-hour performance that was part of her “Kiss My Brass” tour.

Her show was part music, part humor and all entertainment. Everything was big. Her large set was a replica of a Coney Island Amusement Park; she had a spirited big band with a brass quintet backing her; and that voice was as affecting and powerful as ever.

There were no pyrotechnics; nor were they needed. Midler was on fire without them. She didn’t give you a concert; she gave a performance. She made a grand entrance flying in from the heavens on a carousel horse named Seabiscuit; she jaunted across the stage on a swan; and brought back some fan favorites including Delores de Lago, the singing mermaid.

You might have expected that at age 57 Midler would have slowed down or tamed a bit of her sauciness. No chance. Her one-on-one with the audience was almost non-stop and it was hilarious. She ripped on everyone from Saddam Hussein, who she said needs to be on “Queer Eye for the Dictator Guy,” to the Clintons and Rush Limbaugh. She had plenty of material from Buffalo as well.

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