BETTE MIDLER 1st Direct Arena – LEEDS 15th July 2015
2 hrs – no interval Divine intervention orchestra – Musical director: Maurice No Pleasure
July 15th 2015 saw a sensational event staged at the First Direct Arena – Leeds – featuring Bette Midler and the divine intervention orchestra directed by Maurice No Pleasure. Unfortunately, from our expensive but poorly placed seats we were unable to see anything of the orchestra, but we could hear them and the sound was superb.
The ‘Divine’ opened with Do you wanna dance – then into I know something about love from her current CD It’s The Girls. Followed by a very poignant version of Waterfalls. Then came a comedy routine using photo images of Simon Cowell and Nigel Farage on 3 video screens. Simon Cowell and Nigel Farage! Now there’s a double act if ever I saw one!
Back to vocals with I think it’s going to rain today and into I put a spell on you signifying Bette’s collaboration with the Disney studios on Hocus Pocus.
I believe that ‘The Divine’ has been looking to dump one of her most famous characters, that of Delores Delago, – the swinging mermaid, so unfortunately we were only treated to a video presentation.
Then came The glory of love followed by Beast of burden featuring some excellent guitar work.
The Divine launched into Wind beneath my wings, probably her biggest selling record, and concluded with Boogie woogie bugle boy, the song which started it all back in 1972.
The whole event, for it was more than just a show, wrapped up with two well deserved standing ovations.
The Divine is right at the top of her game and is every inch a global superstar – in the words of the song She wears it well so hopefully, there will be no more rumours of retirement. Bette Midler and retirement should NEVER be mentioned in the same sentence.
The only thing that spoiled the show was the ‘arena experience’ which I had anticipated before attending, though I didn’t think it would be quite so bad. Arena’s, because of their size, have something of a cup final about them, and this was no exception.
And whose brilliant idea was it to allow the great British public to take food, drink and anything else to their seats. No sooner do you get settled, that guaranteed someone arrives with half a pig, a portable barbeque, a crate of beer, a sleeping bag and a two man tent. Apparently all of this equipment is essential to THEIR enjoyment of the evening. I suppose depriving the Brits from access to food and drink for 2 hours contravenes their human rights. Although looking round, if that lot were kept away from food for 2 weeks I don’t think anybody would come to any harm. If England is indeed a nation of food banks, there have been some pretty spectacular withdrawals recently!