Miss Sandi D, Canadian singer pays tribute to the iconic Bette Midler with her songs, comedy and movies. She started with her 1972 debut album “Divine Miss M” opening with “Friends” which welcomed everyone to her evening. With an auburn hair color and a remarkably similar profile, her resemblance to Bette was striking. Another tune from this breakthrough recording was the old Andrews Sisters signature and Sandi made the very most of the wild World War II anthem, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” Toot, Toot! The duo Rhonda Padmos and Don Pope have created and produced many shows here at Act II, numbering into the twenties. They double as accompanists for singers as Sandi D and Hedda Lettuce, she on the piano and vocals and he on his soothing guitar. Both excel in their fields.
Sandi said she would not bore the crowd with her life’s history, but jokingly started chatting about her musical career at age 13 singing in a band. Since then her career has spanned the media of recording, stage, television and theater and has taken her throughout the globe. Her first tapes submitted to agencies were complimented but declined with the words, “There is already Bette Midler”. So, she widened her material and developed her own style, declaring that when she was old and her career washed up that she could perform musical tributes to Bette Midler! This lady has a grand sense of humor which relaxed the audience, pleasing them with what they heard and saw.
Sandi chose a beautifully slow tender song “Do You Wanna Dance”, a sixty-year-old composition which sounded as fresh and sweet as ever. She even touched on a humorous “Marahuana” [sic] which was way ahead of its time. She slid up and down the notes seducing the listeners with her thoughtful interpretations of this fine discography. Midler made her first motion picture in 1979, starring in the 1960s tragedy “The Rose” as a drug-addicted rock star modeled after Janis Joplin, but whose family denied the use of her name. Sandi delivered the title cut “The Rose” which went on to enormous success. Sandi relished the feelings of emotion inflected in her voice. She was given an enormous ovation at completion. Tears could easily flow listening to her exact vocals.
Another blockbuster Midler [C.C.] movie was “Beaches” about losing your best friend [Hillary]. She sang one on the most beautiful songs written, “Wind Beneath My Wings”, the theme song of the movie. Each note was enveloped into Sandi’s character and seemed to stream from deep inside. This is a very powerful song in lyrics and melody and Sandi’s version was extremely impressive.
Sandi shone with the classic Midler comedy skits involving Bette’s alter-ego, Sophie Tucker, who was a real person possessing an off-color repertoire. She quipped short tidbits of her relationship with her boyfriend Ernie, who could do no good. Laugh after laugh followed as the wee risqué stories were unfolded to everyone’s delight. Another film from the Midler collection is “Hocus Pocus” from which she performed a sexy “I Put a Spell On You”. Both Don and Rhonda took a solo turn, showing their vast lifelong talents. The room quieted as Sandi delivered “From a Distance”. She emphasized the tender words of this special masterpiece.
Sandi could not avoid humor for long, launching into “Pretty Legs and Great Big Knockers”. A little swinging of the frontside added to the declaration of how to get and please a man. The show of Bette’s most fond tunes ended with a reprise of “Friends”, sending everyone on their way feeling a lot better and cherishing the blessings of our friends.