Back in 1979 Bette Midler’s record 13-show engagement at the State Theatre became part of this city’s show business folklore due to the sheer brilliance of the talent and the ground-breaking show which contained it.
After Midler’s appearance last week at a very different venue, the Sydney Superdome, the Divine Miss M can leave us again safe in the knowledge she is certain to live on in our folklore once more.
Featuring a 13-piece band and the all-singing, all-dancing Harlettes, Kiss My Brass presented a mixture of old, recent and new Midler favourites from the past four decades.
From the moment she appeared sitting atop a merry-go-round horse to when she finally said goodbye, Bette Midler presented a three-hour show which was compellingly entertaining.
Whether it was making political jokes about John Howard and George Bush, adding a local flavour with references to Oxford Street being too gay and Blacktown being full of mullets, or boasting she has more talent than Pauline Hanson, Midler’s sassy, razor-sharp wit kept the audience on the circus ride with her.
Beloved characters like Sophie Tucker also made an appearance, but it was the outrageous Broadway medley of singing mermaid Delores DeLago which almost stopped the show as Midler crammed every show tune and musical clich?nto one sequence.
Midler proved her voice had lost none of its lustre and was equally in charge with the up-tempo dance sequences of Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy and the blues of When A Man Loves A Woman as she was with ballad anthems like Skylark, Wind Beneath My Wings and From A Distance.
She ended with a simple encore of Peter Allen’s Tenterfield Saddler.
I am not retiring and you can’t make me, Midler announced at the beginning of Kiss My Brass, and on the basis of this spectacle, the 58-year-old diva isn’t even close to stepping away from the microphone and spotlight.