Hollywood legend and multi-talented Superstar Bette Midler finally came to Manchester this weekend to continue the UK leg of her â€˜Divine Interventionâ€™ tour.
The arena was unsurprisingly sold out so when Bette burst onto stage after a whirlwind of chaos and lightening with her rendition of â€˜Divine Interventionâ€™- dressed in a pink, diamantÃ© encrusted baby doll dress- the crowd were on their feet in joyous delight.
â€˜Donâ€™t I look fabulous Manchester?â€™ which of course she did. â€˜Iâ€™m here to lift you like a boob job for your soul!â€™. Looking round the crowd Bette observed â€˜Christ you all look so jaded! Itâ€™s like Fifty Shades of Grey in this sectionâ€™, but she loved us all the same.
Betteâ€™s set list dipped in and out of hits from her career and tracks from her last album â€˜Itâ€™s The Girlsâ€™, which celebrates great girl group hits. TLCâ€™s â€˜Waterfallsâ€™ was turned into an emotional ballad followed by the uplifting â€˜Tell Himâ€™. Bette had the audience in the palm of her manicured hands. Throughout the night the crowd would cry out â€˜I LOVE YOU BETTE!â€™ and Bette would quip â€˜Honey, Iâ€™m workinâ€™ hereâ€™.
Betteâ€™s comedy was a great way to break up the performances. Her wit and charm was none stop. She had the crowd in hysterics all night. â€˜Iâ€™m like vodka, Iâ€™m odourless, agelessâ€¦.and tastelessâ€™. Bette loved to joke about herself, her age, and even her material. â€˜My husband is German, so I dress up as Poland every night and let him invade meâ€¦You STILL laugh at that! That ones hanging on by a thread!â€™
Bette acknowledged â€˜Hocus Pocusâ€™ with a rendition of â€˜I Put a Spell On Youâ€™ in full costume. Still in witch character she told us â€˜Iâ€™m going to put a spell on all of Manchester! Iâ€™m going to turn Curry Mile gay and all Canal Street Asian! And ban all football in Manchester!â€™ It was nice touches like that that made the show more personal to us. Not may performers do that.
One thing that was impressive was Betteâ€™s voice. The control and strength of her vocals were as strong as ever. Today some young performers still mime *cough- Britney Spears– cough* and 69 year old Bette is putting them to shame.
For the final section Betteâ€™s full length pink sequinned dress set the tone for her biggest hits. â€˜I know you all want to sing along with the next song but remember-thereâ€™s only one diva around hereâ€™ Bette quipped before she broke into â€˜The Roseâ€™. It wasnâ€™t until Bette belted out her spellbinding rendition of â€˜Stay With Meâ€™ that she really brought the house down and received a standing ovation lasting minutes.
She saved the best till last with â€˜Wind Beneath My Wingsâ€™. I doubt there was a dry eye in the arena as Bette sang those lyrics. Even I had to wipe a tear away!
For the encore Bette burst back on stage â€˜with the song that started it allâ€™, â€˜Boogie Woogie Bugle Boyâ€™ followed by a unanimous standing ovation that showed the Divine Miss Mâ€™s magnetic personality and talent is as timeless as ever.