Sunnier, sassier and smarmier than ever, Bette Midler brought her breathless, breathtaking "De Tour" to a packed Merriweather Post Pavilion last night.
Midler easily outdid her recent, rather anemic Baltimore outing, from the opening number, "Pink Cadillac," to her final encore, "The Rose." She was on the whole evening, waddling and wiggling through a set of camp classics, raw rockers and whiskey-voiced ballads.
Midler seems to have learned from her movie, "The Rose"--she now has a convincing rock style, which she unleashed on a new song, "Let Me Drive," a raunchy paean to autoerotism.
In addition to her strong singing, Midler delivered several riotous raps, and unleashed her outrageous arrows on cocaine, Jane Fonda and the royal family. Midler also revealed her new esthetic theory, "Pretty Ladies With Great Big Knockers," as she bawdily brandished an enormous lavender pair of balloons.
Midler stopped the show with her second-act opener--as wheelchair-bound mermaid Delores del Lago. Midler and the Harlettes romped through a medely of disco hits with stunning wheelchair choreography, complete with a June Taylor kaleidoscope effect and a wheelchair kick line. Then she stopped it again with a steamy string of "Sophie's Choices."
Midler returns tonight.