Goin’ To Cali…

Divine Miss M plans Southern California swing
01:06 PM PDT on Saturday, October 23, 2004
By RICK MASSIMO / The Providence Journal

Bette Midler is in the midst of a nationwide tour that comes to Southern California next month.

But unlike many of her contemporaries, she isn’t calling this a “farewell.”

“I’m not retiring,” she says in a phone interview, “and you can’t make me!”

Informed that Cher, Gloria Estefan and Barry Manilow have all done swan-song shows recently, she explodes.

“They’re all retiring? My God, there’s not going to be anyone left! (Although) Cher’s been retiring for five years, babe.”

Kidding aside (maybe not in Cher’s case), Midler says she understands the impulse to pack it in.

“(Touring is) very hard work. … And when you get to a certain age, you say to yourself, ‘What do I need this for?’ ”

So what does Midler need this for?

“I did this beautiful show, and I just want everyone to see it.”

The show is full of her trademark singing, dancing and wisecracks, and it’s set on Coney Island at the end of the 19th century.

The theme, Midler says, is “the amusement park of life, and/or death.”

Midler says the show has her hits – such as “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” “Wind Beneath My Wings” and “The Rose” – as well as new songs for her.

“People do like to hear the hits,” she says, “and they do like to catch up with you and know what it was that happened to you.”

So what happens after the tour?

“Take a rest, and try to see what happened to (the audiences) and to me,” Midler says. “Then look around for the music. Really, the only thing that I find inspiring is music and dance.”

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