Melbourne, AU
Rod Laver Arena
April 18, 2005

US vs OZ
by Shelly

Mister D:
My friend Shelly from the states was kind enough to write and tell me the differences she noticed in the KMB shows from the States as opposed to the KMB shows Down Under.

Photo: Ros O'Gorman

Opening sequences
- The Harlettes sing a "Vegemite" commercial.

Jokes: "I just love Australia. You're a day ahead and still 25 years behind."

"When we flew in, I got stopped at customs. They asked if I had a criminal record. I said, 'No. Why? Is that still a requirement?'"

She made other references to the "Penal Colony" and told a few jokes about the Australian Prime Minister John Howard and other local people like Rodney Adler (just sentenced to jail), and Pauline Hanson, "the Fish and Chips Bitch from Ipswich". Jokes about Rush Limbaugh and Oprah were omitted as well as shortening the joke about wanting to "wear a live snake but it just ate a whole pig". The reference to PETA was eliminated. George Bush still made a couple of jokes.

Judge Judy - The difference in the "Judge Judy" segment is that it begins with a clip of the show, the theme song and then the broadcast is interrupted for CBS to announce it is removing the TV show Bette from its lineup forever and to apologize for any problems people may have experienced from watching it. Then it goes into the Judge Judy segment.

Chapel of Love - For the "Chapel of Love" segment - Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton are the first couple. The second couple is Brad Pitt and Jennifer Anniston. At the end Bette asks what could have gone wrong and the picture of Angelina Jolie returns next to Brad Pitt. J- Lo is back with "the waiter guy, the dancer guy, the actor guy, and now the singer guy. I don't know why she bothers to take off the dress." Also, Portia De Rossi and Ellen DeGeneres make an appearance.

Soph Jokes - The Soph jokes have some Australian references. At the April 18th Melbourne concert, Soph's "tent hat" fell off her head when she popped up. A Harlette retrieved it for her. She started the "Chihuahua joke" and stopped. She said, "Do you know what I passed on my way up here? My pride. You know what was standing next to it? My timing." Then she continued the Chihuahua joke.

Delores Del Lago - With the Delores Del Lago segment the most noticeable change is that instead of "All That Shad" it is "All That Crab".

Mister Rogers - "BM TV -- all Bette, all the time - 24 hours a day" was substituted for the "Mister Rogers" segment. There were clips from "Seinfeld", her movies -- Art or Bust, Stella, First Wives Club, Stepford Wives, Beaches, Hocus Pocus, Big Business and then part of the Bette-Cher Celebrity Death Match. At the end of the segment, Bette says, "That's too much Bette even for me." She said she didn't understand why they chose Cher and her for the Death Match because both are nonviolent people which segways into "From a Distance."

At the April 18th Melbourne concert, Bette omitted "Keep on Rockin". She started crying at the end of the "Tenterfield Saddler" and the Harlettes helped her finish the song. She received quite an ovation at the end of the show.

Australia is speechless!
Winner of Meet and Greet in Melbourne
David Ilka

Photo: Bruce Pauly, Bette Midler, and David Ilke

Australia is speechless!

Boy have we been missing out over the past quarter of a century...

After collecting Bette all my life it was the ultimate to meet her in Melbourne last night...

What a lady, what a performer, what a rollercoaster...first we laughed, cried and laughed some more.

I was lucky to win the meet and greet...dreams do come true when you solidly direct your energy towards them.

Thank you for your site...would be starved without it.

Love, David Ilke

The Age
By Michelle Johnson
April 19, 2005 - 2:26PM

Photo: David Ilke

Bette Midler wows fans at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne last night.
Kiss My Brass
Rod Laver Arena
April 18

A 26-year absence from Australia has not changed the Divine Miss M one bit, although she coyly admits the crowd is a little different.

"When I last came here, the audience was on drugs, now they're on medication," she laughs after entering the stage on a white carousel horse.

And with that, the sassy and exhilarating Bette Midler blasts into the opening tour title tune, Kiss My Brass, which carries all the finesse and Broadway appeal of a true stage stopper.

The pace is frenetic, punchy and with all the entertainment, high-paced energy and charisma we can expect from the 30-year veteran.

The twinkling lights and painted set evoke Coney Island at the turn of the 19th century and it is under this mosaic of colour and movement that she cheekily pokes fun at Shane Warne and Pauline Hanson among a host of others.

Her back-up dancers, the Harlettes, launch into a cutesey rendition of Happy Little Vegemites to raucous approval from the crowd.

But it is her trademark repertoire of bad taste and trashy jokes that delights the crowd.

Whether it's belting out the hits of Broadway, her tribute to Rosemary Clooney or her signature tunes, the mischievous Midler performs with both aplomb and charisma.

Accompanied by a 12-piece band, Midler's rollercoaster ride carries all her hits, and those she's made her own: Skylark, Tenderly, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, Shiver Me Timbers, From a Distance, When a Man Loves a Woman and show closers Wind Beneath My Wings and The Rose. The show's third encore ends with a tribute to Peter Allen and Tenterfield Saddler.

In between, she pokes fun at George Bush, celebrity weddings, her own short-lived sitcom and Britney's pregnancy.

Part stage show, part concert, part cabaret and entirely splendid - it's two hours of energetic dancers, big bands, fantabulous costume changes and outrageousness.

Bette Midler performs two more shows in Melbourne before heading to Adelaide and back to Sydney.

The Herald Sun
Alison Barclay

Photo: David Ilke

THIS is the woman who recently told the Herald Sun: "I'm much more sedate now." Oh yeah?

Fortunately that was not the Bette Midler Melbourne saw last night.

She was, in her own words, "ageless, timeless, relentless!" -- and may we add, fearless, generous, fatigue-proof and as mouthy as ever.

For "sedate", read "polished", for 30-odd years in the business has obviously taught Ms M how to put on one stupendous show.

And Ms M was not afraid to show her emotions, ending the show in tears with Tenterfield Saddler, a tribute to Australia's Peter Allen.

Kiss My Brass was a glorious romp through her hits framed by a sparkling fun-pier set with bathing beauties and 12-piece band.

Entering on a white carousel horse, Midler hurtled into the show's rowdy title song and her signature chatter. The woman could talk under a tonne of sequins.

Midler's fans come in roughly two groups: those who love the downmarket diva of the 1970s, and those who go red in the eye at Wind Beneath My Wings. Both would have gone home happy, for this was a variety show of the first order.

We had satirical Bette, pasting her Chapel of Love with pictures of Brad'n'Jen (Pitt and Aniston) and other eternal partnerships.

However, a surprise highlight was Midler's new cover of Rosemary Clooney's Tenderly, which sat beautifully on her mezzo voice.

The Age Company
Bette Midler
Reviewer Chris Beck
April 19, 2005

Bette Midler brought the house down last night with her Kiss My Brass show at the Rod Laver Arena.

Glorious Broadway tack came to Rod Laver Arena last night with show tunes, colour and movement and bad taste jokes.

Bette Midler returned after 26 years - and after a blasting version of the tour title tune, Kiss My Brass, she launched into a variety of gags with local references. Her sassy backing vocalists the Harlettes sang Happy Little Vegemites and Midler told jokes about Shane Warne and even Toorak ladies.

The set was designed like a 19th-century Coney Island park with flashing lights. A merry-go-round horse floated Midler to the stage.

Her performance ranged from the intimate, with the beautiful ballad Skylark, to frenzied, with big hit Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.

Midler, 59, made several costume changes, including into a black leather devil outfit replete with ruby sequined bustier.

She told bad jokes about Viagra, John Howard and George Bush's bottom, and Pauline Hanson with such confidence they brought the house down.

Songs included When A Man Loves a Woman, Everything's Coming Up Roses and Friends, which segued into a celebration of her Jewish supporters.

The support came from all denominations last night.

Bette Midler, Kiss My Brass, Melbourne, April 19
by Paul Cashmere
19 April 2005

The term Superstar is an overused term, isn't it? Let run through the list of those who the tabloids rate in the category.… Christina Aguilera? ….Nope, Britney Spears?… Nope, Jennifer Lopez? …. Nope. You can thank Bette Midler for redefining the line. Bette Midler is a proven Superstar and Kiss My Brass is the show to prove it.

It has taken Bette 26 years to return to Australia but in one swoop of the nation, she has reclaimed her territory as one of the world's great entertainers. It's no wonder Kiss My Brass was one of the top 10 shows in the US last year. Bette gave 110% and performed one of the world's most entertaining shows.

She was funny but irreverent. She could rock and she could lay you right back. And she made it all look so easy, which of course, it isn't.

Bette Midler had the crowd in stitches. She huffed and puffed out of breath after the second song and said "that's what happens when you do your own singing". Ouch Britney.

About the Australian Prime Minister and US President "I shouldn't mouth off at George Bush. He is having surgery tomorrow. He is having John Howard removed from his ass".

On the job George Dubya is doing "I'm not certain I could run the world but I couldn't fuck it up any worse".

She even insulted us … and we loved it. "I love Australia. You are one day ahead but still 25 years behind". All was forgiven. She troupe sang the "Vegemite" jingle. Forgiven again…she paid out of Australian politician Pauline Hanson "the fish and chip bitch from Ipswich".

She cleverly grouped the crowd. It was the Toorak audience in the front rows, the Caulfield audience in the middle and the Broadmeadows crowd up the back, all very clever references to Melbourne suburbs.

There was an hilarious moment on film where she explains the disappearance of her sitcom Bette in a sketch with Judge Judy.

She sang 'Chapel of Love' with a backdrop of broken Hollywood marriages. Jennifer and Brad; multiple JLo relationship break-downs and Liza with an Ex.

The show is in two parts. The gags come thick and fast in the first half. The second half features the hits "From A Distance", "Wind Beneath My Wings", "The Rose" and then a touching ending with Peter Allen's 'Tenterfield Saddler".

Bette Midler gives an audience something sadly lacking in the music industry today … Entertainment.

Kiss My Brass setlist:

Act One

Kiss My Brass
Big Noise from Winnetka
Stuff Like That There
Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy
"Judge Judy" Film
I'm Sorry (special lyrics)
Nobody Else But You (special lyrics)
Hey There
Chapel of Love
I Think It's Gonna Rain Today
When A Man Loves A Woman
Walk Right In
"Soph Jokes"
Shiver Me Timbers

Act Two

Delores DeLago: Fishtails Over Broadway

Medley of Broadway Songs:
I Had A Dream, The Phantom Of The Opera, Everything's Coming Up Roses, Tonight, Cabaret, You'll Never Walk Alone, Tomorrow, And I Am Telling You, All That Jazz, One Singular Sensation, Hello Dolly, Give My Regards to Broadway, Oklahoma

BMTV Video (Bette Midler Television -- All Bette, All The Time)
Features a lot of clips of Bette from Touchstone films, Seinfeld, First Wives, Stepford Wives and more...

From A Distance
Do You Wanna Dance
Wind Beneath My Wings
Clip from "The Rose"
Keep On Rockin'
The Rose

Encore: Tenterfield Saddler