Let The PR Begin: Bette Interviews Hit Oz

The Sunday Mail
Sexy? You Bette

APART from the cold, hard facts listed on her birth certificate, there is nothing about sassy showgirl Bette Midler that suggests she is anywhere near the ripe age of 60. But that is where The Divine Miss M is headed this year, and it is not something that rests easy.

“I’m totally and completely freaked out, I cannot believe it,” she says. “It’s so shocking to me and, yet, I look really good.
“I look in the mirror, I think ‘Gee, I don’t look 60, I don’t feel 60’, but there’s no denying, I’m 60,” says the star, who is grappling not only with thoughts of her own mortality but the fact that “the world I grew up in no longer exists”.

She learned her craft the old-fashioned way, sweating it out in front of live cabaret audiences in New York long before star-making machines churned out the made-to-order popettes now ruling the music charts.

In her new stage spectacular, Kiss My Brass, which makes its way to Australia in April, Midler is well qualified to direct some good-natured digs towards the likes of Britney Spears and Christine Aguilera. There is no resentment there, she insists.

“I don’t detest anybody,” she says of the new crop of female singers. “They’re just learning, but I wish there were more places for them to learn before they got up and started to lip-synch.”

Midler, whose performance credentials include four Grammy awards, four Golden Globes and three Emmys, has spent much of the past year on the road in the US.

She says she is working harder than ever to deliver her best performances to live audiences – and that takes sacrifices.

“I’m practically a monk, it’s so awful,” she laughs. ‘I mean you can’t really indulge in anything, otherwise you’re doomed. So you can have a couple of drinks after the show, but that’s about it because otherwise you get yourself into such a state, your health just shatters.

“You have to take care of what you’ve got, and when the thing you’ve got is your body and your voice, you’ve got to take care of that because otherwise, it flees.”

When Midler last toured Australia, in 1979, 71,000 fans attended 31 concerts at venues including Brisbane’s since-demolished Festival Hall. This time around she is playing larger venues but she hopes the enthusiasm she encountered 26 years ago remains.

“I had fabulous crowds, really smart crowds that loved to have a good time, and I had a great time,” she says. “People were really happy to see me, and the experience of me meeting them was unforgettable.”

Bette Midler plays the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on April 8. Bookings: 131 931 from 9am on Thursday.

Share A little Divinity
Verified by MonsterInsights