Here’s my fairytale come true…
Once upon a time….there lived the greatest entertainer/actress/musician/environmentalist/ SHOWGIRL that ever lived. She had a show in Las Vegas entitled “The Showgirl Must Go On” (Rather appropriate don’t ya think 😉 Anyway, after travelling to LV to see her 100th show in June, I knew I had to get back out there to meet my hero. I worked all summer and saved EVERY single penny I had. When I purchased the Smug Mutha package I was over the moon, but nothing could have prepared me for the reality of meeting my inspiration.
I arrived in Las Vegas around 5 days before seeing the show, so as you can imagine the anticipation was somewhat overwhelming. I kept walking passed the Colloseum watching people handing over their tickets at the door. I couldn’t wait for my turn. Finally showday arrived. I awoke early that morning which made the wait even longer. However, I left the hotel around 4 hours early (just to be on the safe side, of course) and arrived at Caesars half an hour later……..I kept pacing up and down, round and round, but time insisted on moving slowly. Finally, after what seemed like a lifetime…it was time to go and ask for “Bruce or Bob.” So I wandered over to the box office and asked one of the receptionists if I could speak to “Bruce or Bob.” She told me that one of them would be out in a minute. So I waited, with so much excitement. Then a few minutes later “Bruce or Bob” appeared (forgive me I can’t remember which one it was). He asked me if I wanted to be seated right away or whether I wanted to wait a little while whilst everybody else was seated. I told him that I most definitely did not mind waiting in the colloseum. Walking down to the very front row felt incredible. Being so close to the stage is AMAZING. I was sitting right where Bette sits and plays that beautiful ukelele. She looked at me at one point and smiled.
Of course, the show was INCREDIBLE to say the least. Bette just gets better and better. Nothing will ever compare to hearing her sing “When a Man Loves a Woman” live. The absolute magic that she manages to spread when delivering the most meaningful performance I have ever seen, is just unbelievable. I literally smiled the whole way through. Even during performances such as The Rose, From a Distance and Wind Beneath My Wings. It was because I knew I was finally going to get to meet the lady who had given me so much hope and provided me with so much joy over the years. There was not one inch of sadness in my heart. At the end of the show, after WBMW we all stood up and before I knew it, we were being whisked away backstage.
This was it. The moment I had been preparing for for so long. It was finally here. For those of you who have had the pleasure of meeting Bette after the show, you will know that you are taken into a lovely room surrounded by curtains and beautiful furniture. “Divine” is a word I would use to describe it. Just off the top of my head 😉 Anyway, there was quite a few of us but I made friends with 2 GREAT guys. We sat down on one of the sofas, whilst waiting for Bette to arrive. Whilst we were waiting, Bette Sussman walks in the door. All three of us were starstruck. We sat there looking like we were trying to catch flies in our mouths. Then Bette S turns around and says “Hey guys how are you?” We just stared with cheesy grins and said, in unison “Fine thanks.”
THEN….Bette Midler walks into the room. At first it takes a second to sink in that it is really Bette standing there. I composed myself and began reading over the poem which I had written for her. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to read it to her or not. So a few people went before me, giving me time to compose myself further. Then it was my turn. I walked through and her road manager said “This young lady has travelled all the way from Lockerbie in Scotland.” Bette shook my hand and said “Oh wow. We had a couple of Scots in here a few days back.” I said “I’m so happy to meet you.” And Bette looked at me and smiled and said “Thank you so much.” (I couldn’t understand why Bette Midler was thanking ME?) lol. Nevertheless, I held the book I had made her in my hands and told her that I’d written her a poem but wasn’t sure if I had time to read it or not and she looked at me with a smile and said “Sure go ahead.” I couldn’t believe it. So I began reading her the poem. I made sure that I made eye contact whilst reading it to her so she knew it was from the heart and I meant every word. She kept smiling and laughed at one point (which was a good thing because it was supposed to be funny.) Then I finished reading the poem and she gave me the biggest and most motherly hug. It was amazing. I can’t describe that moment. I handed her over the book and she looked at it and said “Oh wow.” I didn’t expect her to look at it there and then but being the absolute kind-hearted woman that she is she flicked through a couple of pages. I was so shocked that I can’t quite remember everything that she said but I remember her saying “This must have taken you a long time.” And I said “Well I wanted to get you something special and from the heart” to which she replied “Well this is very very special..thank you so much.” I told her that there was also a letter at the back and ONLY IF SHE HAD TIME, could she possibly read it. She said “Of course I will.” Then she handed it to her manager who placed it on some drawers. Then it was time to get our picture taken. She pulled me towards her and put her arms around me so I did the same. I felt so happy. He then handed her a programme, which I presumed had been already signed, however, Bette signed it personally there and then. I couldn’t believe it. It read “For Beautiful Chloe, Thank you for your gifts, Bette Midler.” Whilst she was writing, out of the blue I told her that she’s given me a cuddle on her 100th show. Not expecting her to remember I was about to say “I don’t know if you remember” but before I could finish she said “Oh my goodness..yes I remember. My that seems like such a long time ago. I couldn’t believe it. Bette actually remembered me from that night. I said “I love you so much thank you.” And once again Bette gave me a cuddle and thanked me for her present. I told her she was most welcome. Then we said goodbye. I was so so happy at that point. Just before I left, her road manager said “I’ll make sure she gets the book.” I told him “Thank you.”
Meeting Bette was the single greatest moment of my entire life. She truly is the most genuine, warm, kind-hearted person you can hope to meet. I’m glad I’ve been able to share my story with you Betteheads.