REVIEW: Bette's brassy
Midler brings funny and bawdy show to Grand Forks
By Paulette Tobin
Herald Staff Writer
Photo: Jackie Lorentz
Waving and smiling, Bette Midler flew onto the stage of the Alerus
Center on Friday night on the back of a giant carousel horse,
then launched into the theme song of her "Kiss My Brass"
tour, proving that not all the brass in the show was in the horn
not retiring, and you can't make me," she told the audience
more than once. We believe you, Miss M, and, by the way, "retiring"
is the last word we'd ever use to describe you.
by amusement park lights and backed by a terrific band, Midler
and her fabulous Harlettes back-up singers and dancers mixed it
up, from showstoppers to ballads. They sang fan favorites from
"Skylark" to "Friends" to "When a Man
Loves a Woman" and "Tenderly" from her new Rosemary
songs, Bette was funny and bawdy. Midler's early-in-the-show remark
about North Dakotans and their "Fargo" accents pretty
much bombed, but she quickly recovered with a joke about the local
haven't seen anything so flat since I worked with the Olsen twins,"
about brass: Midler, who turned 59 last week, sang and danced
one of her classic hits next to a split screen of herself doing
the same song 35 years ago. When she finished, she was panting
this is what it sounds like when you do your own singing,"
one - including President Bush, Billy Joel or Rush Limbaugh -
escaped her pointed wit. Nor were the Christinas and Britneys
of the world safe. To be a woman performer today, Midler noted,
"You have to dress like a 'ho.'"
a trend for which she takes full credit, she said, but do any
of today's trashy singers with big - let's say bosoms - ever bother
to thank her?
show was the diva at her best. In the world of entertainment,
there's just no one like her. Having said that, there were problems
with the show. The Alerus wasn't built for acoustics, and sometimes
the quality of the music sounded better out at the concession
stand than in the arena. A Judge Judy segment early in the show
didn't really work, although it did provide a perfect segue into
the Brenda Lee classic, "I'm Sorry."
does get props for her video show about famous couples that are
couples no longer. Over a photo of Billy Bob Thornton and Angelina
Jolie, she said: "Exchanging vials of blood just doesn't
mean what it used to."
figures were not released Friday night. Earlier in the week, estimates
were between 8,000 to 9,000 tickets sold.