Music — Welcoming The Divine Miss M

Welcoming the Divine Miss M

Midler plays Verizon Wireless Arena on Sept. 30

By Michelle Saturley []

She’s interpreted great songs for three decades, so it seems right that Bette Midler’s latest recording pays homage to another great singer, the late Rosemary Clooney. Her tour in support of the new CD Bette Midler Sings the Rosemary Clooney Songbook kicks off its second leg at the Verizon Wireless Arena on September 30.

The CD reunites Midler with old friend and producer Barry Manilow, who can also be heard singing on some of the tracks. It’s a good partnership, and the result is a fun set of songs, reminiscent of Clooney’s big-band sound without being overly slick, which is my major complaint about the recent Rod Stewart big-band CDs. Midler’s voice might not have the refined grace of Clooney’s, but her power and playfulness suit the material well. Both singers have the ability to conjure up a catchy energy or a quiet poignancy with their voices.

It’s about time a contemporary singer gave Clooney her props. Clooney was not only a huge recording superstar but also starred in six major motion pictures (including White Christmas with Bing Crosby, for which she is most famous) and had her own TV variety show.

Midler covers such signature Clooney songs as “This Ol’ House,” “Sisters” (a duet with Linda Ronstadt), “Come On-A My House” and “On A Slow Boat to China.”

Hard-core fans, have no fear: along with the Clooney tunes, Midler will include old favorites such as “The Rose,” “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” and “Friends.” Her recording of “Wind Beneath My Wings” won her the Grammy for Song of the Year, and the accompanying movie, Beaches, single-handedly started a new genre of film: the chick flick.

Midler’s concerts consistently sell out worldwide, and have a reputation for being energetic and spectacular. Her outlandish, sometimes wacky persona translates into multiple costumes and big, lush choreographed numbers.

Reviews for the first leg of the tour were universally glowing, calling Midler’s performances “funny and tender.”

Tickets are still available for the concert, which starts at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 30. For more information, visit or call Ticketmaster at 868-7300.

- Michelle Saturley

2004 HippoPress LLC | Manchester, NH