Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Bette Midler: Live at Last [Atlantic, 1977]
Her fans may find some of the material on this live double-LP repetitious--I could do without five minutes of "Delta Dawn" myself--and her overripe singing will offend those she offends anyway. But she's never recorded fifteen of these twenty-five songs, a few repeats are enhanced by the particulars of this performance, and others gather meaning in theatrical context. A typical stroke: prefacing the glorious tearjerker "Hello in There" with campy, occasionally unkind patter about ladies with fried eggs on their heads, so that the song's romanticized heroine and the weird and depressing fried egg ladies both seem to have something in common with Bette, and therefore with each other. A-