This was honestly the best show I have ever seen… and just as well as I’d been anticipating it for several weeks. It worked on so many levels, displaying honesty, intelligence and passion. What more could you want?
I’ve never actually been to a concert at the Sydney Superdome before and so I didn’t really know what to expect from the venue and from getting to and from there. Colin and I caught the train along with several thousand other people – it was like the Tokyo subway – many of whom were going to see a major rugby league match on the night.
As we arrived we quickly became aware of the enormity of the venue which seats 20,000 people. We waited maybe 20 minutes in a line for a drink which prompted someone closeby to comment, “You wouldn’t want to be an alcoholic”. Entering the theatre itself was also quite overwhelming, especially when we realised just how good our seats were. The venue is huge. Nonetheless, we were able to see a number of people we knew including a woman, sitting behind us, who used to clean for Colin twenty years ago in Wagga Wagga.
Bette Midler’s entrance on a larger than life carousel horse was both spectacular and ironic in her usual style. For the first ten minutes or so she sang and gave us one liner after another. “Last time I was here the audience was on drugs, now their all on medication”. A lot of the references though, were very local, as she lampooned the Prime – “needs to be surgically removed from George Bush’s arse” – Minister, Pauline – “the fish bitch from Ipswich” – Hanson, John Hopoate, Shane Warne and others. In introducing her famous backup trio, the Staggering Harlettes, she told us “They love their accommodation at the local Refugee Camp”.
There were all the songs you’d expect, including “Wind Beneat My Wings”, “From A Distance” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” (which featured images of the song’s video clip). She also did her famous “Sophie Tucker” dirty joke routine.
Amongst the most beautiful moments were her versions of “Skylark” and “Do You Wanna Dance”.
One of her most passionate performances was “When A Man Loves A Woman” which resulted in a spontaenous, non-contrived, standing ovation.
In the second half, we’re introduced once again to Delores, the tragic cabaret star who, this time in a mermaids outfit, features in a musical in which all the songs are puns based on famous Broadway shows including “West Side Story”, “Phantom Of The Opera” and a terrific spoof of “Hello Dolly” amongst others. The culmination of which was her famous “wheelchair choreography”, the like of which I’ve never seen before.
For me, the two most emotional moments were when she sang “The Rose” and “Tenterfield Saddler” (encore). As she sat on the floor, she asked the audience – nay, insisted the audience sing the words. As we mumbled our way through the words we didn’t know we all laughed. And I just love “Tenterfield Saddler” as it’s a song which sings to me on so many levels.
Overall a fantastic night… and then we had the train trip home.