The Daily Herald
Crowd gets maximum Midler
Saturday, July 16, 1983
When Bette Midler performs, theÂ folks at Webster s must scurry toÂ t h e ir dictionaries to redefine wordsÂ l i ke outrageous and ‘ entertainmentÂ But outrageous ent e r t a inment isÂ just wh at Midler provided to an enthusiastic crowd of 7 500 ThursdayÂ night at Poplar Creek in H o f f m anÂ Estates.
Considering the hot muggy pavilion Midler’s p r a n c i n g, energeticÂ performance qualifies as a musicalÂ and comedic decathlon worthy of aÂ gold medal. Nobody enjoys the showÂ more than the Divine Miss M herself.
A Midler concert has the u n c a n nyÂ kna ck of peaking w i th Midler’s initial appearance and ma i n t a i n i ng itsÂ ene rgy t h r o u g h o ut the entire two h o ur show.
What helps sustain t h at freneticÂ pace is a blend of her mus ic w i th aÂ n a t u r al Â comedic
t a l ent as she reelsÂ off i r r eve r ent one-liners, lewd stories, and a r u n n i ng social commentary on anything that comes to mind.
HER OUTFITS are best describedÂ by not trying to describe them at all.Â When shes
wa i ling songs likeÂ ‘Stay Wi th Me” or the RollingÂ Stones’ “Beast of Burden,” MidlerÂ takes on the persona of the JanisÂ Joplm-like character she portrayedÂ in The Rose. Her performanceÂ earned her an Academy Award nomina t ion for Best Actress in her filmÂ debut.
Her famous rendition of “BoogieÂ Woogie Bugle Boy” was followed byÂ “Moonlight in My Eyes.”Â To mingle with the folks enjoyingÂ the show under the stars on theÂ lawn Midler dashed through the pavilion to the hill for all to see. HerÂ t r ip included singing a few bars
from this reporters lap, an eventÂ I m sure she enjoyed almost as muchÂ as I d id.
A f t er a mu ch deserved 20-mmuteÂ intermission Midler and her backupÂ singers, the Staggering Harlettes,Â did motorized wheelchairs with hand controls. Their precision whirlingÂ around the stage added to the chaos.
DISCO ANTHEMS “We Are Family” and “I Will Survive” wereÂ sandwiched around a fin-floppingÂ version of “In the Mood,” a MidlerÂ standard.
Though she bills her show asÂ “sleaze with ease” or “trash withÂ flash,” her tender song, “The Rose,”Â was everyone’s choice to cap theÂ evening.Â She urged the crowd to sing withÂ her, but the hushed audience wantedÂ to hear her one voice more thanÂ theirs.
Midler’s ribald comedy would putÂ Joan Rivers to shame.Â Any subject is fair game for herÂ verbal darts. Aerobics, cocaineÂ users, Interior Secretary JamesÂ Watt, Queen Elizabeth II and endless jokes about her bodaciousÂ breasts.Â About Jane Fonda‘s health booksÂ and accessories, she asked, “Did youÂ ever think we’d see Jane Fonda embrace capitalism with such fervor?”