BootLeg Betty

BetteBack Feb. 14, 1976: The Bette Midler Incident In Buffalo, New York Or Why Bette Wouldn’t Play There Till Kiss My Brass 2004

Mister D: Or why Bette didn’t play Buffalo, NY again until the Divine Intervention Tour

The Buffalo News (Buffalo, NY)
April 10, 1992 | By CARL HERKO News Staff Reporter

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Since Feb. 14, 1976, to be exact.

That was the day the spare-time doings of celebrities in Buffalo officially became an issue.

That was the day of the Bette Midler Incident.

It was Valentine’s Day. The first of two nights of concerts for Midler at the Century Theater on Main Street. Both sold out. Midler’s appearance was the talk of the town.

The final tune of the first half was “Lullaby of Broadway.” It featured a backdrop of a cityscape that dropped away to reveal Midler atop the Empire State Building, fainted dead away in the paw of a gigantic furry King Kong.

What can we say? Bette’s a trouper.

Anyway, she awakened, looked into the eyes of the big hairy ape and screamed: “Mike Amico! Mike Amico!”

Amico happened to be Erie County sheriff at the time. He was known for his anti-drug crusades.

At 1:45 that morning, officers happened to be checking the top floor of a parking ramp next to the Holiday Inn on Delaware Avenue when one of them happened to look into a third-floor hotel room. There he saw — gasp! — a man “holding what appeared to be marijuana,” a News report says.

Police raided two hotel rooms and arrested seven members of Midler’s crew on drug charges.

One concert-goer the next night recalls that Midler raged at length on stage about Amico and vowed never to perform in Buffalo again. She hasn’t.

But she sure has added immeasurably to the fun of celebrity-watching around here.

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