Anaheim, CA
Arrowhead Pond
November 30, 2004

Bette at the Pond - Dreams do come True
by The Divine Debbie

Photo: BaltoBoy Steve Weiner

What a fabulous evening. Bette's crew planned a surprise birthday part. Every floor seat had a birthday hat and a note to please hide it until it was time to sing The Rose when everyone would put on their hat and sing Happy Birthday. As always Bette sang and danced her heart out and sounded absolutley fabulous.

Who would have thought - The Pond - Orange County where all the birds have 2 right wings. Greeted with enthuisiasm Bette quipped "pretty blue in here for a little red county!"

The entire floor was on their feet when she started Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. She also received standing ovations for When a Man Loves a Woman, Wind Beneath My Wings and The Rose.

Wehn Bette sat on the stage for The Rose she started to sing California Here I Come but the band wasn't following because they were ready to do Happy Birthday. Bette turned to Bette Sussman and said what's wrong? They know the tune, don't you after I just bragged about how great you are. After a quick rendition of California Here I Come it was on to Happy Birthday. The crew had dropped the back screen down and showed pictures of Bette and wished her a happy 40th birthday. The whole cast and crew came out with a crown for Bette, streamers, baloons and a birthday cake complete with candles. Pink was also on stage. I think she was truly surprised. Bette had Pink stay to sing The Rose. She started with the audience which was pathetic then Bette took over, sang a few verses and then had Pink sing a few verses.

After that the curtain came down but the house lights didn't go up. Bette came back out after a little while and said they didn't have anything else to sing except for an under rehearsed In the Cool, Cool of the Evening. Which was great.

Before the start of the show I met up with fellow Bettehead Libby since we were both attending the show alone.

Dreams do come true - we waited afterwards for Bette to come out. It was after 12:30pm before the limo came up the ramp and there was only four of us left by then. She stopped and autographed. It was the perfect end to a fabulous evening.

Thank you Bette and crew for another fantastic evening.

The OC Weekly
Commie Girl: Do You Wanna Dance?
Indoctrinating the next generation
by Rebecca Schoenkopf

My father, who is a Jew, and thus usually an informed person, had not the faintest inkling that a Bette Midler show would be full of the gays. "Gay guys?" he asked, with the same faux-shock with which you’d say, "There’s traffic on the 5?" except that shocked he actually was when I explained the reason the Pond was packed (on a Tuesday!) was that all the gay guys had come down from LA, where Midler wasn’t playing a date. "Nobody’s coming down from LA," he pooh-poohed. "You came down from LA," I reminded him. He had no idea the woman whose album The Divine Miss M he’d proclaimed the Album of the ’70s had started her career as Bathhouse Betty. He didn’t even realize that everybody to whom I’d mentioned my father’s Bette Midler fandom had asked whether my father was one of the boys in the band.

"No," I kept explaining, "he’s a hippie and a Jew."

But walking through the Pond, my father actually began to point at the queers. "There’s one!" he said. Pointing. "Oh, there’s another! But of course you knew that, with your history of faghaggery."

He almost made it sound as though my days of faghaggery were done and gone.

And for those of you who pooh-pooh the Divine Miss Midler, which is pretty much any straight under 60, you must realize that before she emoted "Wind Beneath My Wings," she was a completely inspirational, foul-mouthed freak who mostly sang boogie and big band.

Behind a huge screen painted with the very Tom of Finland The Fleet’s In by Paul Cadmus (the original, a beautiful mess of sailor booty, showed at OCMA a few years back) were Midler’s band and her tutu-ed backup girls, and Midler arrived in satin sailor suit and Shirley Temple curls flying in on a giant carousel horse. Gay? But oui! And my dad and I and every Jew and old lady in the place loved every second. Not to mention the queers.

So she’s hilarious, and she talks like a trucker, and for God’s sake, she’s 59 and was tap-dancing for an hour—while she was singing—and my dad loved nothing better than the ancient Catskills jokes she was doing (which were older than the Raiders offensive line), but she updated lots, too, for the young men in the house, with lots of jokes about Britney and Christina and watching the particular trash that is Ms. Aguilera strutting around in pasties and a g-string—pasties and a g-string!—and does Ms. M get even one word of thanks?

The second half of the show was mostly retreads—the famous mermaid-in-a-wheelchair routine goes on for an awfully long time, with lots of different fish puns, and the Catskills and the Bush jokes, and the jitterbugging, and the full raw mouth—but at the end of the show, Pink showed up to sit in on "The Rose." And if you’ve ever wondered if the maybe-Sapphic-but-hanging-with-Tommy Lee rock songstress Pink knows the words to "The Rose"? Yes. Despite that somewhat beefy appearance, she does. Toward the end of the show (after, I think, "Wind Beneath My Wings"—and no, cool kittens, I don’t like it either, but I suppose it has to be done—and right before a scorching "Do You Wanna Dance?"), there was a particularly touching homage to Mr. Rogers. With him singing on a screen (I’m not at all appalled by it like I was with ghoulish Natalie Cole positively eating her dead dad), Midler delivered a lovely counterpoint during a very poignant "I Like to Be Told." They like to be told if it’ll hurt or it won’t, and they like to be told when you’re coming home. It’s such a simple plea for honesty; they can handle it, if you’ll tell them, but they really want to know.

Of course, I’m pretty sure I cured my son of that once and for all.