Bette is back.
After nearly a decade away from big tours, Bette Midler has returned to the road. The Divine Miss M spent time in Vegas and on Broadway, and now sheâ€™s pulling out all the stops to perform songs from her extensive catalog as well as her new album, â€œItâ€™s the Girls.â€
We spoke to her before she hit the road.
Q. So, itâ€™s been a decade since your last big tour. Why the wait?
A. Where does the time go?
Yeah, itâ€™s been awhile. I think the pattern of touring is pretty much the same. You get to meet great folks, but the arenas are all the same. That is a damn drag. Theyâ€™re all made of cement block. You always go up into the loading bay. You always put your costume in the same place. But the crowds are different and the shows are lively.
I was in Las Vegas for two years. That was as rough as any tour Iâ€™ve been on. It was a haul. It was so hard.
As much as I loved it, as beautiful as it was, no one can afford to go on the road like that. Iâ€™ve pared it down considerably. Iâ€™m also an environmentalist. I donâ€™t want to do 40 trucks. They pile all that stuff into trucks that drive and drive. Itâ€™s so much gas. I couldnâ€™t face it.
Q. Are you ready to hit the road again?
A. Weâ€™re not looking forward to the food (laughs).
Itâ€™s gonna be a lot of fun. I added this Omaha show because I had a good time the last time I was there. I really enjoyed it. If Iâ€™m not mistaken, I bought a bunch of song books there.
Q. How did you choose the songs that are on â€œItâ€™s the Girlsâ€?
A. There were songs I really wanted to sing. â€œItâ€™s the Girlsâ€ was a record that I had when I was a girl. I never forgot it. I still own it, that very same 78 record. I brought in â€œTalking in Mendocino.â€ I always loved it.
Itâ€™s songs that used to make me cry. If they make me cry, I love them.
The other song that I brought in was â€œWaterfalls.â€ I really loved the sound of it when I first heard it. It came to my attention that there was a very strong idea behind it â€” a child who doesnâ€™t listen, who is headstrong and pays the terrible price.
Q. Itâ€™s a lot of iconic music. You were a teenager when some of the songs came out.
A. Itâ€™s interesting. Iâ€™m 100 and Iâ€™m singing songs that are about teenagers (laughs). But theyâ€™re not send-ups. Theyâ€™re sung seriously.
Q. Did you enjoy taking these and making them yours?
A. With â€œWaterfalls,â€ you had to take the beat off and take the rap off and see what was there. When I looked at the lyric, I thought it was a pretty moving lyric. Itâ€™s a different construction than people my age are used to.
Q. What about other projects? You were on Broadway. Any movies in the works?
A. I did the show on Broadway, which was a great, great experience to me. Then I brought it out to L.A. for a couple of weeks.
Movies, theyâ€™re in what they call development hell. Then people pick them apart and they donâ€™t get made. I have a project about Mae West Iâ€™ve been involved in for a long time. Iâ€™m looking forward to it.