Minneapolis, MN
Target Center
December 12, 2004

TwinCities.com/Pioneer Press
Mouthy Midler still puts on a lot of show
Pop Music Critic

Photo: Baltoboy Steve Weiner

Mouthy Midler still puts on a lot of show
Pop Music Critic

Something to ponder: Who would win a cage match between Cher and Bette Midler?

After Midler's Sunday-night performance at the Target Center, it's pretty clear the Divine Miss M would eat Ms. Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves alive. That's because Midler is what they used to call a broad or, more accurately, a mouthy broad. She's tough and not about to let her age — like Cher, she's nearly 60 — slow her down.

Midler's gone through many incarnations since emerging from the bathhouse circuit 30 years ago, from Hollywood actress to fist-clenching balladeer. And while Midler touched on all her public personas in concert, she was best just being Bette, that mouthy broad who swears like a trucker and sings like an angel.

She played the Twin Cities last December, and those who saw that show didn't miss much new Sunday night, save for a few updated jokes, mostly stale election-related humor.

Still, Midler puts on a lot of show, with so much singing, dancing and emoting, the audience needs the 20-minute intermission as much as the performer.

Plenty of aging divas seem content to ride on their legend, but Midler doesn't cut corners. Take her famous mermaid shtick. She still does the whole extended "Fishtails Over Broadway" medley, hopping around in full fish/woman drag and belting out the hits. It might not sound like much, but you try binding your legs together, jumping around and singing and see how long you last.

Midler seems to have a real affection for the Twin Cities (or at least her writers do). Between songs, she amiably chatted about the area where she once spent time recovering from a nervous breakdown, and she praised her local audience as "such smart people" in the way a proud mother shows off a report card full of high marks. She also said she either starts or ends all of her tours in the Twin Cities, this time wrapping up her current run of dates here.

Nearly 8,000 people showed up to see Midler, down some 2,000 fans from last year. When asked from a fan in the front row if she was going to retire, like Cher, Midler simply laughed. Retire, she asked? Nah, she just said she was tired, not retired

KMBII – Minneapolis Review
By The Divine Miss K

Photo: The Divine Miss K

Another fabulous evening with The Divine Miss M, she was amazing. I have been to many shows on the both the first KMB and this one, I have to say this was probably the most emotional show I have been to. To me (my perspective was coming from the front rows) the crowd was tough in the beginning. They really didn’t warm up to her until “When a Man Loves a Woman”. The show started about forty minutes late and the crowd was definitely getting restless, they started clapping in synch and yelling, “Bette”. From where I was sitting you could hear somebody warming up their voice with the piano.

When she came out, she was ready to deal with this crowd. She was giving everything she had in her. Only frustrating thing was that nobody in the first row stood up at all, only a few in the rows behind, they just sat there and this went on through most of the first act. She made a comment after “Kiss My Brass” about a woman who was sitting in the front row with a child on her lap, she asked her age which was six then proceeded to warn her about the show and said something like, she will grow up fast and then said, she felt a bit uncomfortable about it. The lady did eventually leave, Bette commented on it later, “I told her”. She seemed rushed, she rolled her jokes out quickly and kept starting songs early on the wrong beat. I’m not criticizing just never occurred in any other show I had been to.

Rosemary Clooney songs were excellent. In the part of “Hey There” where the Harlettes sing “love never made a fool of you….”, she added in “Only here in Minnesota”. “Tenderly”, she put so much into this song, I have never seen her perform it the way she did, her voice was so strong. Incredible! “I Think it is Gonna Rain Today” was quite a performance, at first she was not singing it with the emotion she usually does, she was rushing it but then at the end, the last words, she stopped and started sobbing uncontrollably, she put her head into her hands, then she would try to start but would stop, somebody yelled out, “we love you Bette”, it was so moving. We were all weeping with her. I will never forget that, it was one of those rare moments that you feel honored to be a part of. Going from that to “When a Man Loves a Woman” was even more powerful, at one point she threw the microphone stand across the stage. Finally the first couple rows stood up and gave her a much needed standing ovation. I always enjoy Soph, cracks me up but the people around me weren’t too responsive. “Shiver Me Timbers” was excellent.

Second act went so fast, especially Delores. Only problem I noticed was at the part when she is at the top of the stairway, the curtain was opening and the right side wouldn’t go up, she was watching it with this funny expression on her face but it eventually caught on and went up. “From a Distance”, “Do You Wanna Dance?” and “Wind Beneath My Wings”, were all astonishing, the crowd was finally alive! Lots of standing ovations! She was extremely gracious and said, “Thank you for my life”.

Some highlights, she talked about Minnesota being very special to her, she came there when she had a breakdown and stayed on a lake. When she was about to do “The Rose”, she said how tired she was and this man in the second row gets up and says something like, you’re retiring?, she said, I didn’t say I was retiring, I said I was tired, you try running around in a fish tail for 20 minutes. Then she asked the audience if we were tired of this and everyone yelled out NO. When she sat down on the stage she said I have nothing else to sing, I could sing “Little Red Corvette”. When we sang “The Rose” she said we sounded pathetic and that we wouldn’t do this to Paul Simon then this guy in the front row said we didn’t know the words so she said, “Video guy, can you put up the lyrics?”. We all sang and she joined us about the middle of the song. She did an encore singing “Friends”, she brought everybody out from the crew and in the background a video played of the last show in Atlantic City where she brought out the crew then it individually showed crew members, there was even a part where it showed them setting up the stage. At the end the crew started bowing their hands to her, she smiled and bowed to them. Her last words were, “See you next year, I hope!”.

The Greatest Live Entertainer Of All Time!
by Adam A. (ok)

Photo: Baltoboy Steve Weiner

After reading numerous reviews from fans and the press, what else can be said about Ms. M that has not been already said before? To put it simply, Bette Midler is the GREATEST live entertainer of all-time! I may be a little biased, I have been in total awe of Ms. M since 1988, even at the ripe ol' age of 7 I recognized the true brilliance of the Divine! In 1993 I first Experienced The Divine, the following year I Experienced More of The Divine! In 1999 She rocked the Target Center with her Miss Millennium tour! Last year I Kissed her Brass and LOVED it! And last
night, at that very same arena that was rocked in 1999, she proved to over 8,000 people why she is and always will be The Divine Miss M!!

Bette came flying down to thunderous applause and a well deserved standing ovation. Bette and co. kicked (br)ass in gear with Kiss My Brass and two of my all-time favorites, Big Noise from Winnetka and Stuff Like That There. In between she tantalized us with local and political humor. Nobody was safe from the wrath of Miss M, she took jabs at Edina and Bush! (which were well deserved I might add!)

Bette slowed things down with a b-e-a-u-t-I-f-u-l rendition of another one of my personal faves, Skylark. Then, it was time for the "one that started it all!" Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy! Bette and co. gave 110% during this number! Bette sounded and danced like she was in her 20's! AMAZING!!

The Judge Judy segment was followed by two loving tributes to the late and great Ms. Rosemary Clooney. Bette sang beautiful renditions of Hey There and my personal favorites Rosie song, Tenderly. Bette never ceases to amaze me! She sang those songs with such elegance! It was as if Rosie was there blessing every note that Bette was singing. Just beautiful!! Afterwards, Bette joked how radio used to play songs like Tenderly and now plays songs like Toxic!(by Britney Spears) How true, how so very true!

When Bette said she was going to sing a song from Beaches I immediately knew what song she was going to sing! The gorgeous I Think It's Going to Rain Today. WOW!! Bette sang this song so beautifully! She looked so elegant, her voice was strong and perfect! Towards the end she paused and began to sob, she wasn't alone! Someone from the audience yelled "we love you Bette!" and was followed by applause and cheers! After she contained herself she finished this masterpiece and added another great performance under her belt! THEN...came the showstopper! When a Man Loves a Woman. WOW!! This is why I fell in love with Miss M! There are no words in the English language to describe how GREAT this
performance was. "GREAT" is an insult, it was better than that! Bette sang with such emotion, such depth, and such sincerity! Her voice was rich and full! She hit those notes like you would NOT believe! That voice, that HEAVENLY voice!! WOW!!! EVERY hair on my body stood up, my goose bumps had goose bumps! Tears were streaming down my face! I felt emotions that I had NEVER felt before!! Only Bette can bring that out in a person!

After Bette sang her heart out, she was rewarded with thunderous applause and a well deserved standing ovation!

The Sophie Tucker jokes were trashy and tacky! Just the way I like em! :) Bette's comic delivery is a force to be reckoned with! Every joke "letter perfect" and "punch line in tact!" Bette ended the first act with my favorite song EVER! Shiver Me Timbers. My two friends and I sang every line while Bette dazzled us yet again! After she sang the immortal words "skip like a stone," Bette danced around the stage so freely, that little gesture added so much to that great performance! They just don't sing em like this anymore! WOW!! No words to describe the emotions we were feeling!!

Act two started off with a BANG! As Bette dazzled us with Delores DeLago! I enjoyed the Delores segment much more this year than last year, although it was the same, this year it just seemed so much more magical! Bette and co. really put themselves into this and it showed!

After Delores, Bette came back and sang a heartfelt duet with Mr. Rogers. Bette reminded us all of the importance of Mr. Rogers and the human spirit each of us posses and should use more!

Bette ended the show with such classics as From a Distance, Do You Wanna Dance, Wind Beneath My Wings and The Rose. Bette sang each song with elegance and grace! Her voice was strong and full of emotion! Miss M has never sounded better! After Bette sang Wind Beneath My Wings, the crowd jumped to it's feet to reward Miss M for her brilliant's night work! She came back to thunderous applause and requested that we sing The Rose with her. Not everyone was singing together, after a few eye rolls.. Miss M asked if they could put the words on one of the monitors. We sang The Rose to OUR ROSE!!

This was a night that I will NEVER forget!! Bette gave one helluva show!! Bette Midler you are truly D-I-V-I-N-E girl, those other "divas" don't have a thang on ya honey!! You can tell em all to KISS YOUR BRASS!!!!!!!!