P-Town Phreaks Phor Bette!
by Enchanted BetteHead Erica
Photo: BaltoBoy Steve Weiner
Alright so...backstory first: My friend Sarah and
I met only because of Bette Midler online 6 years ago when we were
fourteen. We are now twenty years old and I flew her from California
to Rhode Island so we could share our admiration together in Providence...front
row. We got our hair and makeup done and we also made a sign that
said "We met because of Bette!" and we put our story on
the back of it along with a picture of us together. So we go there
with the sign in tow, no one took it away, which was very
exciting for us. We bought t-shirts (I got the gray one and Sarah
got the pink one) and we put them on in the bathroom. Everyone in
the audience was very very enthusiastic but also very very respectful.
There wasn't much security AT ALL which surprised me but everyone
there seemed to just be so HAPPY that the whole place had good karma.
Before the show started Sarah and I were really losing it. I thought
we were gonna pass out or something just WAITING for her to come
out. We brought this tiny little digital camera with us but we had
a security guard sitting directly in front of us through the
ENTIRE show, so my investment into that camera was wasted. Kinda
disappointed about that, but what are you gonna do? We knew we were
taking a chance, anyway. When the house lights went off the near-sold
out audience was clapping and stomping their feet. I was quite proud
of my birthplace. It was quite the experience.
Onto the show:
Kiss My Brass/Big Noise from Winnetka: Well...Sarah
and I were on our feet as soon as the Harlette's came out. When
Bette came out everyone else in the front was on their feet, too.
Bette spotted us at some point during "Big Noise"
and she pointed at me and we sang a line together. Oy vey I was
done for. Sarah and I decided to stay standing through the whole
song, much to the dismay of some lady behind us who tapped me and
said rather rudely "Would you sit down!?" to which I said
"No I'm sorry but I spent a lot of
money on these seats..." and she interrupted and said "Well
so did I!" and I said "Well I'm sorry but this is MY concert
experience, too and I want to STAND, thank you!" then I turned
around and listened to Bette. Sarah told me I was so loud when I
yelled at that lady that she thinks everyone could hear me over
Bette's SINGING. Oh well...there are times when you don't want to
mess with me...and that was one of those times.
Anyway...Bette was fabulous. She told some GREAT local jokes after
that. Craaaaaanston. I almost died when she said "They don't
say it! They whine it!" because my MOTHER pronounces Cranston
that way. It was great. She mentioned Buddy Cianci, our beloved
mayor that is currently in jail, and that got lots of roars, too.
She was great.
Stuff Like That There: FABULOUS! Sarah and I were
singing along with Bette and the girls, and I think it was the best
performance of that song that I have seen. She was in great voice
tonight, totally full of emotion but totally having a great time.
Skylark: WOW! The first ballad of the evening...I
was completely mesmerized. Everything is so upbeat up until that
point that she pretty much knocks you dead with that one. Sarah
and I kept looking at each other like "Oh my God". Wow.
Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy: "Well they say this
is the song that started it all!" She said that like a wistful
dumb blond girl or something! It cracked me up! The audience REALLY
loved the younger Bette's behind her on the screen...and a lot of
people knew the words. Bette was eating it up. We were all so into
Judge Judy Film/I'm Sorry/Nobody Else But You/Friends:
Oh she was adorable. I don't know what else to say except that she
was. And I loved when she stopped singing "I'm Sorry"
and she looked at the audience like "Okaaaay...so maybe my
show wasn't MUST-SEE TV!" and someone yelled "I LOVED
IT!" too bad she didn't hear her though. Then she sang "Nobody
Else But You" with that big smile and we were all
swaying when it went into "Friends" of
course. It always seems like you should sway when she sings that
Hey There: I LOVED THIS!!! It is one of my favorites
off the new album, and the audience really enjoyed it.
Tenderly: WHAT A VOICE this woman has! I got the
CHILLS when she held that last note...and this was never one of
my favorite songs but I definitely have a new outlook on the song.
Chapel Of Love: The girls are so adorable during
this. I think the screen in the background was much more accomodating
to Bette's jokes, usually she always seemed to be behind it but
tonight it was perfect and hilarious. "The Britney
Bunch" REALLY cracked me up! Such a great addition
to the show...more people like to make fun of Britney than take
her seriously (who the hell can anyway?)...it was great.
I Think It's Gonna Rain Today: Oh forget it. I
was done for during this one. Bette was so eloquent and flawless.
I cried. I heard people saying "Wow." when the song was
over. It was amazing. She had us in the palm of her hand during
it. You could have heard a pin drop. I LOVE how the spotlight focuses
on her face and eventually dims out at the end of that song...such
a beautiful, dramatic way to end it. The look on her face was priceless.
would have made a wonderful photo.
When A Man Loves A Woman: The place went crazy.
She completely TORE IT UP! I
got chills, the ENTIRE audience was on their feet before it was
over and did NOT sit down until she took a bow and left through
the door on stage left. She totally becomes someone else when she
sings certain songs, and this is an example of one of them. I could
feel everyone word, every note. It was AMAZING.
Walk Right In: I really love this song! One of
the girls winked at me during it when I was singing along...I usually
find myself singing this for days after the concert. I simply love
The Soph Jokes were great. Funny as always. That
damn hat in the tent fell off her head of course, but she caught
it. I'm pretty used to that blooper by now...I think it's too big
for her head! She had a couple new jokes..."Ain't Ya Got A
Vase" was cut out but I love the "Don't you ever park
in my space again!" one so it was all good. The audience was
eating it up like dessert. She had cast her spell.
Shiver Me Timbers: Did I ever tell you people
how much I adore the outfit she wears when she sings this? I love
this outfit and I especially love how the heart on her hip says
"Mommy Loves Sophie". I think that is precious. She was
right in front of us when she got back on the horse...It was odd
being able to HEAR the horse land and stuff. We were close enough
to see that her toes aren't painted...she goes the natural way...so
cute. She was elegant and flawless during it...perfect.
During intermission a person in our row was holding up signs for
the Yankees/Red Sox game and the Sox were in the lead. The crowd
was going crazy and Bette wasn't even there! It was funny. What
happened next was very unexpected. I heard the security guard ask
the lady next to me (who was a Yankees fan and always on the phone)
if she knew who Bette's daughter was because she was supposed to
be there in the 2nd row. I immediately informed Sarah of this and
we were like "Let's go take a walk and see" and when I
got up...Sarah suddenly was telling me to move out of the way frantically
was just like, "Ok..." figuring someone was just trying
to get by but Sarah said "There she is. It's Sophie she's right
there behind you." and she walked passed us and asked a security
guard where her seats were. She was with her boyfriend (who is quite
the looker, btw) and the guard showed them to their seats which
was four seats over and one seat back from us. I looked at Sarah
and she said "This is our golden opportunity." and I said
go say hi." so we walked over there and we said "Hi."
and Sophie said "Hi." and smiled graciously and I said
"We just wanted to know that we met and are best friends because
of your Mom." and she said "Really?" with a big smile
and I said "Yeah I flew her out here from California..."
and Sophie said "Just for this?" and I nodded and said
"Yeah. So we just wanted to tell your Mom thank you. We made
a sign but we aren't sure if we are gonna get to give it to her...but
if we do then you don't have to remember the story!" and she
laughed. We left her alone after that because we didn't want to
be disrespectful or anything. She was such a nice girl...very gracious.
I'm very happy we didn't get up during intermission, because that
probably wouldn't have happened.
Onto Act II...
Delores Delago Set: What can be said about this?
I love the new Phantom of the Opera thing...she was on this HUGE
hook during it...it cracked me up! She was amazing...she looked
a little freaked out during some parts like "OH MY GOD I NEED
TO PUT MY HAT HERE NOW AND THEN I HAVE TO MOVE THIS WAY AND HOP
THIS WAY!" she was totally into it and focused. I looked over
at Sophie and I am pretty sure this is her favorite part of the
show because she was so into it. It was nice to see that, she was
definitely proud of Bette. She really kicked ass during Delores...another
Standing O from the audience...amazing.
The Mister Rogers Segment/I Like to Be Told is
so adorable. The audience kept going "Awww" and stuff
like that. We love Mister Rogers and Bette does too. Such a nice
contrast to the brassiness of the show. So cute.
From A Distance: Gorgeous. No one cared about
VH1 naming it the 14th worst song ever...they really listened to
the lyrics and clapped during some lines. It was beautiful. Another
Standing Ovation followed it. She introduced the band after that,
and we gave lots of roars for them.
Do You Wanna Dance?: Who doesn't love this song
live? Bette leaned forward and looked down at me again, and I looked
up at her and we sang a line together! That was great...I even think
it was an ad-lib part but I even had those memorized! She seemed
to like that! I love the song and the Harlette's and the pretty
lanterns that come down...the whole mood is so sexy and amazing.
Wind Beneath My Wings: Well what can be said about
this song, huh? Tears all around...cheers...singing along...one
of those moments you are never going to forget. After it was over
the audience was on their feet for a LONG time...she got roses from
numerous people and said "I didn't know I was so BIG in Providence!
You have been such a wonderful audience!" she was totally shocked
by our enthusiasm I think., and when she introduced Bette Sussman
she was visibly in tears and said something to Bette (Midler). Not
sure what it was but I think it had to do with the audience because
we were so crazy
and into it the whole time.
It was at this point that Sarah held up our sign. She looked at
it and because it said "We met b/c of Bette!" She was
like "We met b..." and I said "BECAUSE!" and
she goes, "Oh god!" I think she thought we were a couple
or something, and Sarah said "No you have to take it, it has
our story!" and she handed it to me and I handed it to Bette
and she looked at the back and was like "Ok sit down, girls!"
and she pointed at me and said "YOU! You were really bothering
that girl next to you, I SAW YOU!" I think it's because I was
so crazy and Yankees fan woman that was next to me was too busy
calling people on her cell phone to find out the score to be into
the show enough. I'm glad Bette said that...it made the girl next
to me look like an ass. Then some guy tried to give her an album
to sign and she goes, "What is that for me? I already have
one!" HAHA! She didn't sign it...he was a dip anyway...he was
like...walking in front of us trying to get her to sign it. Oh well.
At least she took our sign!
The last part of the show was The Rose. She started
it out and we were singing along and she said "Oh my front
row is very in tune!" and she didn't even sing. Bette looked
like she was gonna jump it and she did a couple times to harmonize
but that was it. We sang the entire song to her up until the end...all
10,000 of us. It was an AMAZING moment that I don't think SHE will
ever forget. Usually she is singing along, too but we just sang
HER...she just sat back and listened. I am not sure what the Provo
guy was talking about when he said that the version was too overblown
when SHE wasn't even singing the song! The look on her face was
priceless. She was totally in love with us all. It was amazing.
After that we were on our feet yet again...and we were chanting
her name and stomping around...screaming for an encore but alas...she
didn't come out. It was ok...I think she was
totally emotional after that and wanted her last memory of the show
to be the audience singing to HER. I do not think she was tired...I
think she was just blissful and wanted to remember the show for
that moment rather than an encore.
Providence did me proud last night. It was a night I'll never forget!
No need for Midler to think about retirement
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
BY RICK MASSIMO
Journal Pop Music Writer
Photo: BaltoBoy Steve Weiner
PROVIDENCE – There’s not much fault you can find with
an entertainer who, in the course of a show, sings on a flying horse,
a floating swan and one of those senior-citizen scooters, and Bette
Midler did all that and more at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center
last night. But she also had more than enough classic vocal power
to handle the serious stuff.
The Kiss My Brass Tour was a full-on celebration of pre-rock variety
entertainment, with Midler ("ageless, timeless and relentless,”
as she put it) as a singing, dancing and comedic triple threat.
Call it vaudeville, or maybe multimedia done the old-fashioned way.
“Big Noise From Winnetka” and “Stuff Like That
There” got the show off to a swinging start, and Midler showed
a still-impressive voice on sultry ballads such as “Skylark.”
The comedic corn was sometimes as high as an elephant’s eye
(how long ago was the Angelina Jolie-Billy Bob Thornton vials-of-blood
thing?), but she took care to include in her comic sights local
targets ("I made it! The Dunkin’ Donuts Center! Who says
dreams don’t come true?” and “Buddy Cianci told
me he wasn’t free to come tonight") and herself (at her
age, “I gotta take the gingko biloba to remember to take the
Pretty much all the classics were there, from her first hits “Boogie
Woogie Bugle Boy” and a ballad version of “Do Ya Wanna
Dance?” to two selections ("Hey There” and “Tenderly")
from her latest record, a tribute to Rosemary Clooney. Of course
there was “Wind Beneath My Wings,” more affecting than
the overblown recorded version, and “The Rose,” unfortunately
more overblown than the affecting recorded version.
Her comic alter ego, Delores DeLago ("the toast of Chicago")
had a long turn after intermission, with a story of the fish lady’s
rise, fall and rise on Broadway full of song parodies ("All
That Shad,” for one) and laffs. A little too silly and a little
Still, every time there were a few too many hot-cha-cha jokes,
and you started not to take Midler seriously, she reeled you back
in with heart-stoppers such as “When a Man Loves a Woman”
and “Shiver Me Timbers” to remind everyone what she
“I’m not retiring and you can’t make me,”
Midler yelled early on in the show. While she won’t be able
to do the old-style hoofing and joking forever, she proved last
night that when she gets old enough that she can only stand and
sing, she’ll still be worth the price of admission.