Divine Intervention. That’s the name of Bette Midler‘s current tour. And that’s exactly how it felt having the opportunity to stand right next to her after her spectacular show in San Jose last Tuesday evening.
I was actually surprised and delighted to find that the Meet-and-Greet for VIP ticket holders (yes it was expensive, but you only live once!!) would take place after her two-hour performance. Experience has taught me that pre-show Meet-and-Greet’s are much more brief, while post-show opportunities provide more room to interact with the performer. I also know that post-show opportunities are more rare, so you can imagine how thrilled I was at the prospect of having a special moment with Our Lady Divine!
Before I continue I must give a shout out to the other fans I met that evening. Bette Midler has some of the best fans around! I’d like to acknowledge Heather, who I met at the VIP Lounge before the show, as well as Diane and Julie who sat next to me at the concert. I met several other people whose names I don’t recall. Part of what made the show so great was meeting all of them and sharing in the excitement and enthusiasm of the concert and meeting our legendary & iconic muse together!
Additionally, Heidi and I spotted Toni Basil in the audience before the show who was gracious enough to chat with us for a few moments and take a picture with us as well. What an unexpected surprise to meet this AMAZING choreographer and vocalist to one of my favorite songs of the 1980’s (“Oh Toni, you’re so fine! You’re so fine you blow my mind! Hey Toni!!”)
Bette’s show lived up to it’s name and I relished every moment from my 4th Row seat! Divine in every way, from the upbeat jazzy opening complete with horn section to the girl group covers from her latest album. From high camp to stand-up comedy, from rock-and-roll to the signature ballads that comprise her biggest hits. The evening concluded with a rousing rendition of ‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy‘ which had everyone on their feet, singing and clapping along.
Afterwards, the VIP guests met in a private room where we awaited our moment with the diva herself! We were informed that she actually wanted to interact with us and for us to feel free to say hello and chat for a few minutes!
As my turn approached I felt the thrill one feels before getting onto a roller coaster, excitement mixed with butterflies in the stomach. As I walked up to her she greeted me with that beautiful, familiar smile and asked me how I was doing. I told her that I was SO excited to meet her and followed that with “you have no idea!” (Good one, Ronnie!)
We took our photo together and then she complimented my shirt, asking me where I got it (Etsy) and then actually complimented my hair! I followed by complimenting her hair, which on hindsight I now find silly for some reason!
I then asked her about a song she sang during the show, ‘Everybody Knows’, which I found particularly poignant, powerful and hauntingly beautiful. She informed me it is an old Leonard Cohen song. I told her that song deserves to be recorded by her and asked if she would ever consider doing so. She didn’t say directly, but her reaction gave me the impression that it would be difficult to record due to copyright legalities and such (who knows?) but it’s truly a shame she hasn’t put that song out because her voice, heart and soul captures the message so beautifully.
I also asked her about the song ‘September’ from her last tour and whether she would ever record that. She told me a friend of hers had written it and seemed to have the impression that the audience didn’t really react well to the song, though I told her I thought it was beautiful and still remembered it. She thanked me for bringing it up and for reminding her about it.
Before leaving I told her that as an artist she has touched my life through her music and films, as well as the genuine heart & soul she exudes in her performance. I told her it was truly an honor to be able to look into her beautiful eyes and say “thank you.”
What made this all the more special is that she actually reached out and held my hands as we spoke. She was truly present and warm, something I will always value and appreciate about her.
I asked her if I might have a little hug and she said yes, so before I walked away I actually got a hug from THE DIVINE MISS M!!!!!
Needless to say, I have been walking on sunshine ever since. And as her Sophie Tucker character would say, “I will never forget it, ya know….”