The Magic Of Moments
BetteHead: Jeff D.
ArtWork: Lucy Wilkins
I was fortunate enough to have seen “The Showgirl Must Go On!” at the second-to-last show (of her first run) on the night of Saturday, March 15. I treated my father to the show.
Seeing Bette live is always a highlight, but I have to say the best way to see her is in a setting such as the Coliseum because it is a much more intimate setting. I’ve seen her previously in arenas sitting in the nosebleed section, and spent most of the time watching the monitor since she was so far away ”“ and the sound was always dubious at best. The Coliseum did come through as far as being a perfect showcase for Bette ”“ the view, the sound, the lighting ”“ all were excellent.
Here are some of my observations, starting with “drama” even before I got to the show”¦
Are these Tickets Legit?!: I had bought my tix through a seller on eBay and received them weeks in advance ”“ 7th row in the side orchestra. I was ecstatic. Then the day before I was to fly out to Vegas, I received a frantic email from the seller who informed me she was sent two new tix and that the current ones ”“ the ones I had in my possession ”“ were cancelled. The seller found out through Caesar’s that they had added more seats and rearranged the orchestra seating ”“ and was told that the new seats were actually better. Thank God the seller lived in Vegas ”“ she agreed to leave the tix for me at Caesar’s where I was staying. I was so paranoid, I had these visions of sitting down and then the ushers coming and telling me there had been a mix-up. So, when I actually got my two hands on the tix, I marched on over to the Coliseum box office and one of the nice employees there confirmed that the new tix were in fact legit. Then, and only then, did I relax.
The drama was all worth it. I could not believe how great the seats were! They ended up being four rows from the stage on the side ”“ with only four seats per row. When Bette came down to our side of the stage she was probably no more than 15-20 feet away! She looked fantastic ”“ and you know how that 1000-watt smile of hers can light up a room!
The set was the same as Kyle (and others) mentions above in their reviews.
For me a highlight was when the camera phones were lit up during The Rose ”“ it really enhanced the experience, and was indeed quite something to see.
A Truly Bette Moment: Before From a Distance, thousands of beads of gold coins came down forming trees ”“ I found out later that they were all individually hand-painted. Coming down the stairs to sing the song, Bette tripped. She regained her composure, stopped the song and then yelled, “It’s these FUCKING shoes!” She then reached down and pulled them off, exclaiming, “$10 million dollars and I got no shoes!” Then she tossed them offstage, turned around, gamely walked back up the stairs and started the song again. The place went apeshit because it was so impromptu, so”¦her! Any other diva would have pretended that the tripping never happened”¦
No Fan of Delores (sorry, sue me!): I don’t wish to be negative, but I have never been a fan of Delores DeLago. I remember even back in 1984 groaning because Bette brought her back for De Tour (which I saw on HBO’s Art or Bust). I remember hoping that was the end of her. Oh well. I’ve never been able to understand why she thinks that character has such an appeal. I do appreciate the effort going into it, but the visual joke of a mermaid in a wheelchair fades after a few minutes. Thus, the Delores segment to me was mildly amusing, but not great in my mind ”“ and the reaction from the audience was not overwhelming ”“ not bad, just not enthusiastic ”“ I don’t think non-BetteHeads know what to think of the character. I would have preferred other segments, more songs or even new characters. The segment just went on longer than I would have preferred. But, that’s my opinion ”“ and it’s a minor issue I admit. Perhaps others love the bit. C’est la vie.
Another Truly Bette Moment: At the end of the Oldest Living Showgirl/Soph segment she quietly sat down on the edge of the stage (really close to me!), picked up her ukulele and sang “The Glory of Love” As Soph she said, “Find your light. They can’t love ya if they can’t see ya.” This was one of the things that has always made me love Bette Midler (for almost 30 years now). These bittersweet magical moments in which the show seems to stand still ”“ where all the glamour and noise and craziness has died down ”“ and it’s just you and her ”“ even in the past watching her on the tv screen I could still feel an intimate connection with her in moments such as these. And there I was a few yards away from her ”“ simply magical and unforgettable.
Although the show was fantastic and energetic and wonderful, the best part of the whole event for me was my father’s reaction. I don’t get to see him that much ”“ he’s in his 70s and has had poor health in the past. I wanted to do something together that would be fun for both of us ”“ hence the thought of Vegas, with the added highlight of seeing Bette. I did not previously tell my dad where our seats were ”“ nor did I tell him how much the tix cost – and when we sat down he was like a little kid, he couldn’t believe we were that close. All through the show, he reacted enthusiastically, laughing during the patter and comic bits, and saying over and over, “Oh that song brings back so many memories.” During WBMW, he reached over and grabbed my knee. After the show he kept repeating to me how grateful he was that I had treated him to Bette’s show. I mean, the man paid for our hotel room at Caesar’s, but me getting him a ticket to see Bette Midler was like winning the lottery to him. So, it was definitely more than worth it and something that I’ll never forget (I will never forget it, ya know!)
So my advice to all you BetteHeads out there ”“ yes, the ticket costs may be exorbitant and may seem frivolous, but I encourage you to make the best effort to see the Divine Miss M while she’s headlining at Caesar’s ”“ it will truly be a memory that you’ll cherish the rest of your life.
My final thought ”“ like many others, I too, am curious to see how the show will evolve during her two-year run. I definitely plan on coming back to see for myself!
Thanks, Don, for letting me babble, and thank you for affording me and others a place to do it”¦
Love, your own “personal brown-eyed motherfucker,”