Australia’s live love affair with Bette Midler has been in limbo for 26 years, but the Divine Miss M arrived in Sydney this week, determined to pick up where she left off.

In those years since her record-breaking 13 shows at the State Theatre in 1979, Bette Midler has crossed over from being a gay icon fringe star to an international superstar, accumulating four Grammys, three Emmys and two Oscar nominations along the ways for her efforts.

Now she’s back with a new act, a new show and a new band.

Kiss My Brass kicks off in Brisbane on 8 April, before playing Sydney’s SuperDome on 13, 15 and 30 April.

So why has she been out of our lives for so long?

I’ve been busy doing other things, she smiles. Since those days, I got married, and had my daughter.

The Midler who met the Sydney media this week was a far cry from the raucous, wild woman who won our heart all those years before.

The 58-year-old Midler of today seems more subdued and less shrill, admitting these days she saves the outrageous antics for her audiences.

I really am shy and retiring and I save it for the stage, she said.

I am interested in living life like a regular person and I don’t like being -˜on’ all the time.

One of the things I love about coming to this country is that people here are so hilarious.

Midler seemed unamused, however, at mention of her big break in the gay sauna, New York’s Continental Baths, in the early 1970s.

When asked if she was planning to revisit that part of her past, she replied with a barely concealed scowl, I don’t think so.

Midler was much happier to talk about her friendship from those days with Aussie music icon, Peter Allen.

I was thinking about singing Tenterfield Saddler this time around as it is such a beautiful song -“ I just may do it, she said.

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