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Concert Review: Now, how do WE perform a divine intervention and demand a new world tour! (London)

Gay Times
REVIEW: Bette Midler – Divine Intervention
By William J Connolly
July 20, 2015

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“An evening worthy of unquestionable icon status…”

The wait is no more. After almost 35 years; she’s back!

Floating effortlessly in a salmon-pink mini-dress, with legs to rival someone a third of her age, the 69-year-old arrives centre stage as the sold out crowd at London’s O2 arena rise to their feet, she announces: “Tonight, I intend to repeat what I can remember…”; and that’s exactly what she did.

An almost lyrical journey back through the archives of some of her greatest work, Bette – or should we say Ms Midler to us all – is joined by her backing singers The Staggering Harlettes as they serve up an evening worthy of unquestionable icon status. But this was anything but a serious night of worshiping a star – this was a party.

Collapsing onto her back following her lavish and lyrical opening number – of which she appeared on a throne – Ms Midler proclaimed “I will never get up now” as she stumbles to keep her modesty intact and get back on her feet, the mood for the evening is very much set.

Divine Intervention isn’t an ‘I want to be loved’ tour but more a ‘here I am, now lets party’! A lady with a career only some could dream of, this Grammy-award winning singer come Oscar-Nominated actress is ready to celebrate the somewhat incredible journey she’s been on.

From the glittering lights of Las Vegas through to the wonders of Hollywood, this lady has been everywhere and seen it all; yet there’s a somewhat humbling honesty that you can’t help but feel touched by. Regardless of the astronomical size of the audience watching, her chat could be as if it’s just for you and you alone.

Also a comedian, she’s anything but afraid to pack-a-punch; during one 10-minute segment, losing the music for her chance to make fun of the reality of life in 2015. Aimlessly throwing jibes at how the world has become somewhat obsessed with social media today, Ms Midler tears apart the rise of the Kardashian family, our obsessions with social media apps and even shares fake photos of herself getting a little heated with the likes of Boris Johnson and Margaret Thatcher, among others.

Musically you’re spoilt for choice, in a literal barrage of hits and surprises from across her varied career. The iconic tracks are present and correct, of course, though it’s a surprise that Hello In There doesn’t receive it’s usual outing. Her cover of The Exciters’ Tell Him – which received a long overdue revival on her latest album, It’s The Girls, is a delight and a stripped-back, piano-led version of TLC’s Waterfalls induces goosebumps.

However, as unpredictable in song as she is in looks, the buck teeth and orange wig move from screen to stage as we step into the land of her phenomenally successful film Hocus Pocus with I Put a Spell On You; small routine included. Although we could enjoy the green cloak and orange hair just a little more than we probably should, with a swift outfit change, Ms Midler rejoins in a dazzling hot-pink sequinned dress; with more cleavage to turn even us gays.

And cometh the hour cometh the… well, diva. Standing centre stage and firmly cementing her iconic status as a music legend, her rousing rendition of Stay With Me from The Rose is nothing short of spectacular.

However no Bette Midler concert is complete without a trip back through some of her beloved tracks including her now somewhat title track, Wind Beneath My Wings. Fighting back the emotion as she once again receives a standing ovation from this loving crowd, the tears fall very clearly from her face as the night begins to end; the reality of how important her fans support all these years later still means.

Without question, Ms Bette Midler is a star, iconic and all-round true diva. In what is sadly the closing weekend of this tour, Ms Midler returns to her standing ovation as she sends audiences away with a tear in her eye, a smile and a small wave in a single fading light as London says goodnight.

Now, how do WE perform a divine intervention and demand a new world tour!

Further information, including future tour dates, for Bette Midler can be found here.

GT gives Bette Midler — Divine Intervention – 5/5

Words William J Connolly, @wjconnolly

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