Los Angeles Times
Midler at the Greek
Posted By: Scott Harrison
Posted On: 12:12 a.m. | January 10, 2011
Sept. 17, 1979: Bette Midler performs at the Greek Theatre. The Los Angeles Times caption following Midler’s performance summed up the show:
SHOW TIME ”“ Bette the clown, impressionist, chanteuse, mime, rock star and joke teller are all in evidence at her Greek Theatre engagement.
This image, by former Los Angeles Times staff photographer Martha Hartnett, accompanied Times theater critic Dan Sullivan’s review, published on Sept. 19:
My notes for the Bette Midler concert at the Greek Theatre on Monday night are tracked up with exclamation points and question marks. The energy, the reach, the risks! Too much, this girl. Too much?
There is no opening act. She is the opening act, honey, and all the other acts as well. I mean, who do they come to see? This isn’t selfishness so much as Midler’s need to go full-out with an audience and get the same response back from them. Miss M wants to take us places, and her show at the Greek (through Sunday night) goes to a lot of places”¦
Midler’s basic persona is still Bette, the tough big sister who doesn’t care what you are. She still wears sling pumps and used dresses. Her jokes are still X Minus”“oh not all of them: maybe 9 out of 10. She still gets personal with the customers. She and the girls still whip up the joint with the old swingaroonies like “In the Mood.” Bette the tart has not been lost.
But Monday night we also got Bette the clown, Bette the impressionist, Bette the chanteuse, Bette the mine, Bette the rock star and other Bettes too fleeting to pin down. At times it wasn’t so much a revue as a prospectus. Here’s one performer who is never going to be accused of giving us the same old thing.