DIVINE INTERVENTION REVIEW: Bette Midler makes magic with her music (Chicago)

Windy City Times
CONCERT REVIEW Bette Midler makes magic with her music
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times

Photo: Jerry Nunn
Photo: Jerry Nunn

At 69, Bette Midler proved that blondes have more fun at the United Center on June 18. The Divine Miss M joked about herself and her audience throughout the evening. “Who drove here?” she asked.”I’m so glad my fans can still drive at night. There are 50 shades of gray in this section!” There was truth in that statement, with an older crowd in attendance that included her rainbow following, who possibly remembered her bathhouse days.

She began her Divine Intervention Tour with the title track, then broke into more humor like, “Thanks for the parade! [referring to the Blackhawks celebration]” and “I’m like vodka–ageless, odorless and tasteless!”

For her 10th tour, she proved she still has the voice with a set list full of her classic covers. She had some hilarious moments but didn’t really have to be the class clown with chops like those. She connected well with people during the two-hour show in the massive sports arena, although there was a strange echo of her vocals in the United Center that bounced off the back walls the entire time that was distracting.

Her rendition of TLC’s “Waterfalls”–from her recent album It’s the Girls–had power to it that was attributed to raising a teenager herself.

The revolving cast of Harlettes were entertaining, at one point dressed as chicks to stick with Midler’s chicken costume. After a theatrical interlude, she appeared in Hocus Pocus drag for the song “I Put a Spell on You.”

She took on social media, Chris Christie and the Kardashians while taking no prisoners.

Her character Delores DeLago the mermaid may finally be put to rest as a short vignette of past performances was played with a tombstone ending being projected on a massive screen. That fin sadly waved goodbye “From a Distance” and may she rest in peace.

The diva rocked out to The Rolling Stones‘ cover “Beast of Burden” and reminisced with Ella Fitzgerald’s “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most.”

The room waved lit up cell phones to “The Rose,” which she sang wearing a fabulous red sequined dress.

After a quick break she returned for an encore and mentioned being grateful to the longevity of “Wind Beneath My Wings.” Her rendition of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” was a delight, especially when she stressed the Chicago hometown lyrics.

Midler has made so many other people’s songs her own over the years and that was indeed the focus throughout the night while still managing to keep the spotlight on herself. The talented gypsy waved goodbye ready to finish off her 22 city tour. For those of us that attended in Chicago she showed that she’s still got it.

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