BetteBack February 16, 1973: Bette Midler Displays A Passel Of Talent

The Milwaukee Journal
February 16, 1973


Sentimental, audacious, risqué, campy. Singer Bette Midler dished out a conglomeration of impressions Thursday night at the Performing Arts Center’s Uihlein Hall and kept the sell-out crowd wondering what would happen next.

Only one thing was certain: This “Divine Miss M” is a unique phenomenon.

Miss Midler wasted no time in getting acquainted with her fans. She shimmed her way onto stage and romped into an affecting version of her theme song, “Friends.” Parading from left to right, using the stage as her playground, she implored the audience’s affection. And it was permanently hooked before the final chorus of “Oh, you got to have friends.”

An electric pace left no time for gaps. Jumping from period to period, style to style, Bette clobbered her fans with variety. Sheer enthusiasm chased her from number to number. A raunchy rock ”˜n’ roll medley, consisting of “Uptown” and “Da Do Ron Ron” from the ”˜50’s, led into a mimic of the Andrews Sisters doing “Chattanooga Choo Choo.”

Settling down for a trochy revival of “Am I Blue,” Bette hit with gripping intensity. Then, as if struck by a lighting bolt, she ripped into a raucous version of her million seller “Do You Wanna Dance.”

Thunderous applause followed most numbers, and Miss Midler was easily persuaded to provide encores throughout the evening. She seemed inspired by the audience’s appreciation, and occasionally threw in flagrant adlibs to coax them on.

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