For years the rap on Bette Midler has been that if you want to "experience the divine" (to use the title of one of her periodic, increasingly elaborate stage revues), you have to see her live. After all, she got her start on the steamy stage of New York's Continental Baths, singing for the towel-clad, all-male, all-gay patrons, and for those of us who were there at the start, she's still the most electrifying live performer of our generation. (No, I wasn't quite old enough to make it to New York by the early '70s, but I caught up with her soon afterwards.)
Midler has been barnstorming the stages of the world ever since, but that hasn't stopped her from enjoying massive hits with self-described "inspirational ballads" like "Wind Beneath My Wings" and "From a Distance." But her humor, pathos, and freewheeling joie de vivre are not always easy to capture...
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