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Bette Midler At Masonic, January 28

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Vulgarianism! This-ís bút the latest Wjord that the previousiy-billed "Divine Miss M"-. " Bette Mídler-is using ttf describe herselC Bette, troüper that she is, finishedan unprecedehted five-night stint at Masónic on Kebruary l"st, play-_ ing to exuberant, alinost sóld-out house.s ón an early stop in a massive nacional tóur now under way. . - ■ Bette Midler has become.somewhat oí a'culf heroine since her days at the Continental Batlis in Manhattan, and her Detrqit audience was retlective of her growing mass appeal. The fact. ( that she is a hip rock and roller' comedienne, however, often leaves the straighter segment of ' her audience in the dark, . Bette is the Sophie. Tucker'Barbra ütreisandMae West character of rock and roll. ■ Identitying with the diveye characteristics commOn to . the personalities of all thr,ee ofi these tadies, Bette does comedy and song which is. as bawdy as their "reputations.". Appearing with three women backAip singers, the Harlettes-described by Bette 4S prime examples of honAosher meat-the ladies (who are álso Bette 's best friends) sang, danced, and joked their asses off. Clearly an inspirational wit and a far-ranging rambler, Bette and her writers do their homework well. Her Detroitbased routines were clearly up-to-date,_with Bette taking jabs at the likes of Ei Brooks Patterson, the Ford family, L'Esprit, the Uniroyal Tire, and many of Detroit's less savory institutions. Her comedy is clearly her best asset: she is richly humorous, spontaneous, and wildly inventive. "Vickie Edie," a gushing, obnoxious, sequined singer with her "Aiound The World Revue," is a character come alive out of Bette's head, as is "Nanette," B B . a lush barfly who's fascinated by telephones and calis up Netson Rockefeller for a lark. ■As? singer Bette is versatile within tlie musical petiods and styles she choóses to explore. Her'voice eau take material from the 40's like "In the Möod" (an example af the Glen Miller "hubba-hubba" school) as well as the historie "Lullaby. of Broadway" (sung and-danced on a King Kong set). She gave us a capella Motown hits, Neil Young's "Biids" belted out countrystyle, the recent pop number "Delta Dawn," and welt-crooned renditions of old Bessie Smith and Sophie Tucker blues. Bette borrows jokes from Sophie Tucker, "the firsf vulgarian (with a heart of gokt, s,ays Bette), and she pays iributeto the late Sophie's qualities as a rather lusty blues singer and enter.tainer. In the first Joke-A-Long, which pretty much sums up the spirit and sty-le of her show, Bette taught us an audienceparticipation joke, a la Mitch Miller, which got 5000 people repeating after her: "I was in bed with my boyfriend Ernie and he says, 'Soph, you've got no tits and a tight box.' I said to him, 'Ernie, get off my back.' " Har-har-har, Bette, and hurry back!