In 1980, the head usher at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium gives his crew a pep talk: he wants tonight's "Betty Midler" show to go smoothly. He's a little worried about risque language, ... See full summary »
In 1980, the head usher at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium gives his crew a pep talk: he wants tonight's "Betty Midler" show to go smoothly. He's a little worried about risque language, Liberace recently gave him a scare. Then, boom, there she is, with her backup trio, "The Harlettes," going from rock to ballad to medley, from "Big Noise From Winnetka" to "I Shall Be Released." It's a concentration of camp: she imitates Sophie Tucker, she's mermaid Dolores Delago, and between every song, it's non-stop movement and lots of raunchy patter. Written by
The number of songs performed in this concert movie totaled sixteen. The film's soundtrack only included about just over half of the songs featured in this concert movie and none of the comic routines. The songs were edited and re-recorded in the studio for the soundtrack. The "Divine Madness" soundtrack album peaked at No. #34 on the Billboard's Album Chart. When the album was digitally remastered and reissued on CD by Warner Music & Atlantic Records in 1995 it still did not include any bonus tracks or the songs that were left out of the vinyl release. The songs "Shiver Me Timbers" and "Rainbow Sleeve" were removed from the Home Video Version (and are not in the DVD either) which at 87 minutes runs about about 7 minutes shorter than the theatrical cut (94 minutes). See more »
I wanted to like it, because Bette Midler circa 1980 was someone you'd like to like. And you can see previews of future acts from Madonna to Hedwig (one of the Harlettes is even named "Hedwig"). But ... well, there's no nice way to say it, and her fans would disagree, but Bette Midler's a kinda awful singer, goes flat on a regular basis, not flat like when Lucinda Williams lets her twang get the best of her, but flat as in missing the note. And while I admire Midler's desire to sing rock, and she's better at it than Barbra Streisand, "Fire Down Below" is mostly awful, and this Bruce fan cringed when she threw in a bit of "E Street Shuffle." Kael loved Midler, and I can see why, but I give it a 5 on a scale of 10.
3 of 15 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?