Bette Midler lit up KeyArena with a racy, megawatt performance Monday, June 1, that included ‘girl group’ songs from her recent album as well as a retrospective of her career.
Sassy, brassy, but not always classy, the veteran singer, dancer and comedian Bette Midler offered a megawatt performance Monday (June 1) at KeyArena.
The capacity crowd was with her all the way, clapping, cheering and hoisting cellphones during a retrospective show spanning a career that began in the 1970s with her debut album, “The Divine Miss M.”
Wearing a short pink dress, Midler, 69, opened with “Divine Intervention,” “I Look Good” and “I’ve Still Got My Health” -— colorful songs that reflected her energy and radiance.
“Don’t I look good tonight?” she crowed, adding, “Everything you see up here is real.”
Midler was backed by more than a dozen musicians and three singer-dancers who wore as many different costumes as she.
The sets, production, choreography and lighting were as elaborate as those of a Lady Gaga performance. But the bawdy humor was classic vaudeville.
The girl-group classic “Tell Him” kicked off a tribute to all-female groups that featured such songs as TLC’s “Waterfalls” and the Andrews Sisters’ “Bei Mir Bist Du Schon,” a childhood favorite.
A hilarious segment lampooned today’s obsession with social media.
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“I could kill myself for not having the brains to monetize my sex life,” she quipped before displaying a series of fictional selfies showing her in bed with Richard Nixon, Vladimir Putin, Chris Christie and the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady (“I was the first to suggest that he might want to deflate his balls,” she said).
Midler bemoaned the long reach of social media and what she called “a perfect storm of useless information.”
“I miss being unreachable,” she said. “Remember when people were afraid of being followed?”
Midler saluted her comic mermaid character “Delores Delago,” which she “retired” last year, in song and video, and belted out a powerful “Beast of Burden” dedicated to Mick Jagger. And she sang a lovely version of the classic ballad, “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most.”
Midler closed with “The Rose,” “From a Distance” and “Stay With Me,” a song of unrequited love that has evolved into a poignant lament about those who have passed from her life.
Midler returned for her signature “Wind Beneath My Wings” before ending with the boisterous “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.”