Living Out Loud
Review: Bette Midler Brings Her Uniqueness to STAPLES Center
By Paul Zahn on May 29, 2015
Bette Midler is one of the world’s most unique performers ”“ she sings, dances, cracks jokes and illuminates any stage she steps on.
Midler has sold over 30 million albums and garnered four Grammy Awards. Additionally, she has three Emmy Awards, a Tony Award and three Golden Globes. And during her “The Divine Intervention Tour” concert on Thursday, May 29 at STAPLES Center in downtown Los Angeles, she showcased all of her talents.
Midler’s the ultimate showgirl, who shines brighter than ever.
“The Divine Intervention Tour” kicked off in May to promote Midler’s latest album, It’s the Girls! The critically acclaimed album has Midler covering iconic songs by historic girl groups ”“ from The Supremes to TLC to The Andrew Sisters. Midler’s full range of vocal styling’s are depicted on this album and it translates perfectly to the stage.
Midler is joined on stage by a 14-piece band and her infamous Harlettes. She describes the band as her “best band ever” and they earn that honor. Midler and her troupe of performers do not stop for a 25-song set list and a show that clocks in at over two hours. Her song selection includes her classic hits like “The Rose” and “Do You Want To Dance?“, as well as tracks from her top selling new album. Midler’s versatile vocal range runs the gamut from rock and soul to Broadway belting to the great American songbook ”“ and she handles it with skill and agility.
Besides her wonderful vocal prowess, Midler is well known for her bawdy humor. She berates the audience with quips like, “I’m so glad my fans can still drive at night,” joking about her career that has spanned over five decades. She went on to describe herself in a self-deprecating manner, “I’m like vodka. Ageless. Odorless. And tasteless.” The audience ate up her barbs interspersed between her songs.
The show was speckled with some off moments including a throwback to Midler’s starring role in the Disney film, Hocus Pocus. Midler emerged from behind the curtain dressed as her character from the cult classic. Her costume was reflective of her original garb from the film, including her buck teeth. She sang through the classic song, “I Put A Spell on You.”
Following that number, she appeared as a bird-like creature and sang “A Bird in the Hand (Is Worth Two in the Bush)”. The audience was confused but as soon as she broke into her Sophie Tucker banter ”“ she had everyone back.
Midler’s long career is a testament to her staying power. With her first tour in 10 years, she truly brings her all to the audience and no one is spared with her humor. The Divine Miss M got her start singing in bathhouses in New York City and she’s never forgotten that grit and Vaudevillian humor. The vocal skills and bawdy humor make this concert and Miss Midler ”“ true originals.