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Yes I was a very naughty girl to watch this at age 12 - but come on, it
was on network television where I lived and starting at 10 pm...
I fell in love with her here. Her comedy flare, her emotional rendering of some songs, her sheer mad-rock ones of others. It made me want to see "The Rose" (which I did) sing "Shiver Me Timbers" all day long and expect ever grander things from her Live (which eventually I got). She seems to exude so much emotion one minute, then so much raunchy humor the other. I just loved the fact that the concert/performance was introduced the way it was. And her hairdo has never quite been the same again, has it? Though myself, ultimate 80s girl-fashion victim went to the altar of sacrifice in that respect, too - just because on top of everything she did so damned well, she just looked so gorgeous.
Perfect intro to her many talents!
Right on the heels of the smash success of "The Rose," "Divine Madness" is Bette in concert - but not the usual Bette in concert up to that point. This is rock and roll, with even some punk rock thrown in ("Paradise") that couldn't have been better nailed if the Sex-Pistols themselves did it. Bette wails on Bob Seger's "Fire Down Below" and blows the roof off the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. Ironically, Bette had the flu when this was filmed, and doesn't like the sound quality of it. Still, "Stay With Me" rips your heart out. Her cover of the Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want" mixes with Dylan's "I Shall Be Released" perfectly. And of course, plenty of biting Midler language, vulgarities, and enough camp to keep everyone happy. Anyone questioning whether Midler should be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this concert alone answers a resounding YES.
Bette Midler is truly a versatile performer. She can sing and act better than the rest of perrformers today. Her taped show is a great example of her abilities to truly dazzle the crowd. She still does that today 25 years after this concert has aired. Bette comes alive on stage more so than in film or television. In this taping, she really is at her best and peak despite her personal problems. I was hoping to see Katey Sagal as one of her Harlettes but she wasn't in this one. My best advice to Bette is to go back on tour. I never did understand the mermaid thing but Bette takes it to a new level. She has an amazing energy and can belt out "the Rose" and the songs before she returned in 1986. This taping must have happened before her nervous breakdown. Bette has performed everywhere imaginable from gay bathhouses in Greenwich Village to Radio City Music Hall uptown. This taped version is quite an event without pushing the envelope even by today's standard. She is still pretty tame in comparison and she can teach the younger generation of performers that you don't have to bare it all to grab their attention. Bette knows that people have paid good money to be entertained by her and she does that. She always does that and that's why she is one of the best live performers of our generation. Sing on, Bette.
I can watch this over and over again. After watching The Rose, I HAD to see this, so I went out and rented it. So what if her jokes are corny, she can sing. I can't wait until I get to see her in december. Rent this if you want to see a good performance by a wonderful singer.
Film version of a Bette Midler stage show. After the huge hit movie "The Rose" Hollywood figured that America was ready to see Bette Midler uncensored on stage. Well--they weren't. Film critics were horrified and/or found the film way too stagy. Also it was made VERY clear that the jokes were really extreme and vulgar. This movie pretty much bombed. But come on! What where they expecting? "The Rose" wasn't exactly PG material. I'm a Bette Midler fan myself but I wasn't too impressed with this. When she's joking it's absolutely hysterical and she does some great songs ("Shiver Me Timbers", "The Rose", "Going to the Chapel") and the stage show is very elaborate. But you never forget you're watching a stage show and uninspired direction doesn't help. Also Midler (unwisely) does some rock'n'roll towards the end which just doesn't work. There are some obvious cuts in the performance too. Still, it has plenty of good moments and doesn't overstay it's welcome. Bette Midler fans will want to check this out. All others--use your own judgment.
This is Bette Midler in her heyday!!! Her live performances were legendary in the business. Word of mouth made her shows sell-outs rather than the material she performed. No offense to Bette, but she's not the greatest singer, but she is undoubtedly one of the greatest entertainers! Think Cher, Ross, Tina - she's a bit of each, but certainly no copycat. She does her own thing!!! She's a great comedienne - as time has proved with her movie career. She has superb comedic timing!!! She does a lot of cover versions in her live shows, but she gives them her unique style. Watch her legendary Dolores DeLago routine in this - it's so tasteless it's brilliant!!!! The highlights for me were Paradise which starts out as a ballad and ends up as a punk rock anthem!!! Do You Wanna Dance is superbly acted out. And her semi-punk version of Leader Of The Pack is outstanding. Her backing singers - The Harlettes (featuring Jocelyn Brown) do a fantastic job of adding to the visual spectacle of this show. Her version of the Stones 'You Can't Always Get What You Want' is just terrific. The show was choreographed by the legendary Tony Basil who has worked with some of the top Divas in the business. She deserves a lot of credit for this show!!! As good as it is on film, I would have paid mega bucks to be there in the theater to see it live!! I heard Bette interviewed on TV one time and she admitted that she got the idea of The Harlettes after seeing Tina Turner with The Ikettes many years before. She laughed as she recalled that she had never seen three nastier looking girls with Tina. But she said that with total respect. She said she was in awe of their live show! If you are offended by near the knuckle jokes, you better fast forward the comedy bits. I loved it!
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.
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