BETTE MIDLER – “Live at Last” (Atlantic, SD2-9000). I doubt if any of the people who hire casino acts for our local entertainment palaces read this column . . . at least not by the old (and I do mean OLD!) acts they book But if any of you faithful readers has the ear of a main showroom talent scout, whisper in his ear no, shout in his ear: Bette Midler! And if you’re really concerned about the future of Nevada entertainment, slip him a copy of Midler’s new double LP, “Live at Last ” If he doesn’t realize that she would be a dynamite act for all ages, then he deserves to be booking the Vicki Eydie Global Review into Swingo’s Celebrity Motor Lodge in gorgeous downtown Seven Hills (That’s Midler’s parady of lounge acts, which takes up side 2: “Vicki Eydie is definitely a lounge act.)”
This show was recorded at the Cleveland Music Hall. That’s right Cleveland. Midler was not too sure In an unusual innovation the recording opens back stage with her asking, “Where are we? Cleveland?
Then the show starts: 80 minutes of hilarious comedy, skits, outrageous costumes and good music. Midler’s humor is delightfully offcolor as she makes herself the butt of most jokes – except for a deft stab at Cher)- Of course, you can’t see the costumes, but you can visualize them.
So skillfully does Midler have the audience eating out of her hand. She has a kind croaky voice, but her power and enthusiasm” make it worth hearing She can carry a tune as well as any female vocialist in the business And she chooses appropriate material for her strong pipes.
She has a mellow side, too, believe it or not. as she does a ballad by Neil Young, the sentimentally beautiful Up the Ladder to the Roof” and age old show-stoppers. “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” and “Lullabye of Broadway ”
Midler can sing anything she wants. She needs no comedian to warm up the crowd, since she’s better than most. She has a preposterous costume review. Excellent crowd rapport.
Better Midler spells entertainment. What more could any casino ask. Get the album and sign her up, in that order!