BootLeg Betty

Tampa Review: Midler still has the pipes, bawdy sense of humor

Tampa Tribune
Midler still has the pipes, bawdy sense of humor
May 11, 2015

AR-150519857

TAMPA — On a rainy, gloomy Monday night in downtown Tampa, Bette Midler proved to an Amalie Arena audience that some performers can light up any stage.

Midler, 69, is dubbing this latest 22-city trek the “Divine intervention Tour,’’ focusing on songs from her current album “It’s the Girls.’’

Backed by a big band and fellow vocalists The Harlettes, Midler took command of the stage from the start and kicked up her high heels.

Starting the show 40 minutes late, she treated her loyal fans to signature songs like “The Rose’’ and “Wind Beneath My Wings,’’ sprinkling in topical humor along the way.

In her first tour in a decade, the Divine Miss M poked bawdy fun at both Kim Kardashian and Vladimir Putin with equal aplomb.

Midler generated laughter and applause from a predominantly middle-aged audience thrilled to be in the presence of a versatile performer with three Grammy Awards, three Emmy Awards and a pair of Academy Award nominations in her portfolio.

But it’s on stage where Midler feels most at home, 43 years after her debut album hit the charts.

Midler has always enjoyed shining a new spotlight on oldies, and Monday’s show featured her spirited takes on two hits by The Crystals, “He’s Sure the Boy I Love’’ and “Da Doo Ron Ron.’’

Between songs, Midler displayed the irreverence that helped build a fervent fan base.

“I’m just like vodka,” she said. “Ageless, odorless and tasteless.”

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