Gig review: Bette Midler at First Direct Arena, Leeds

Bette Midler
Bette Midler
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She shimmies across the stage in her high heels and skimpy pink mini-dress looking every inch the diva she undoubtedly is. Bette Midler is in town – and boy do we know it.

This amazing lady, a few months shy of her 70th birthday gave the audience at the First Direct Arena on Wednesday two hours of pure entertainment. She sings, she dances and she tells some pretty filthy jokes – her delivery so polished that even the corniest elicits guffaws of laughter.

Especially funny are the mocked-up ‘selfies’ taken with celebrities in clinches with her. Among many are Andy Murray, Jeremy Clarkson, Jamie Oliver and even Margaret Thatcher, although Midler quips she thought it was Meryl Streep.

With a host of old-favourite songs and a few well-chosen covers she demonstrates her amazing vocal ability and her ability to keep an audience hanging on her every word.

Magic moments include her own take on Tell Him with her three glamorous backing singers in pink frilly two-pieces shaking everything they had and lit up on a giant backdrop; a tear-jerking rendition of the ballad from her film Beaches, The Wind Beneath My Wings and her 1972 hit Do You Want To Dance.

There are some slick costume changes. A daring corset and tail feathers for Bird in The Hand (which show off her amazing figure); the full Hocus Pocus witch regalia complete with towering hairpiece for I Put a Spell on You and a selection of skin-tight shimmery frocks.

She has gathered about her a group of supremely talented musicians who play and swing their way through the numbers and really come into their own during the rousing Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy performed as one of the two encores.

Gig date: July 15

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