It was 22 years ago that I fell in love with Bette Midler as Winifred Sanderson in Hocus Pocus…. I was 3. I’m not kidding either. Now I never was a die-hard fan until 2007 when she announced her Vegas show, and when I feel in love again with Kiss My Brass via youtube. In November of 2014 when this tour was announced I was right there, at work (literally), on my phone getting tickets to see Bette Midler. Of course I knew there was a Meet & Greet opportunity so I snatched those tickets when they came up. I didn’t care where I was sitting because when you are actually going to meet HER! that doesn’t really matter.
I was completely nervous the day of the concert. I was a wreck! I was texting people asking them what I should wear. I went through all my 53 suits and couldn’t decide! A fashionable friend of mine suggested the blue suit, and that made me relax… about 1%. I had the shakes. I rambled all day. I paced. I did it all. A friend that came with me for the show did a great job of calming me down in the VIP lounge. I have done the VIP numerous times at concerts, and I know my way around the arena in Toronto better than its employees. I’m glad I don’t drink as I probably would have several glasses of scotch to help calm me down. I also did not want to drink anything as I had been going to the bathroom nonstop. Bad enough last time at a concert I had to leave a Pat Benatar set to use the washroom. (Ya, ya Love is a Battlefield. We get the picture. Now get off the stage as I don’t want to miss anything- she never did).
Any who, I was relatively calm when I was in my seat. This was the first time I had ever been Row 3. Row 5 was as close as I had ever been for a concert. I knew what the set was going to be. What the jokes were going to be like. I just didn’t know how I was going to react. When the lights dimmed and the show began I clapped and cheered with the rest of the arena. The show was out of this world! I sang along. I cheered. I clapped . Now I was still nervous and there comes a point when I become a hot water bottle. I just retain all the heat and keep it inside and I get hot flashes (could have been the blood rushing from my head to my genitals) What also impressed me a lot was that even though I knew the show from start to finish, and all the jokes I laughed my head off! I had never had so much fun at a concert in my life! You can watch every Bette concert on the internet and you get nothing remotely close to the experience of being there. Her energy was top notch, positive, and she loved my side of the arena (for the obvious reason that I was there).
Once the show finished I was relatively calm, and I began to move my way back to the VIP lounge for the meet and greet. And the moment hit me. I had to go to the bathroom. I thought “Fuck it. With my luck I would go to the bathroom, get locked out of the VIP lounge, and even miss the opportunity of meeting her.”
After being in the lounge of 5 minutes they went over the rules, and asked us to get in line (clearly everyone else had too much to drink as it was the worst line I had ever seen. Probably within 20 minutes of the show being over Bette walked into the lounge to applause of course. The nerves were back. And so were the sweaty palms. I purrelled my hands when I was about 3rd in line and quickly tried to dry my hands. Then I forgot what am I going to say! I had met Sarah Brightman in 2013 and all I said was “Hi”. There was no way I was going to do that again. When the gentlemen in the funky shoes asked me my name I knew it was my time!
She was so genuine. Her smile was infectious. I shook her hand (I was soft) and I was told by my friend later that I was blushing. You can see that in my photo. From what I can remember I said to her “I enjoyed the show. I can’t believe this is happening. I have been a fan of yours for 22 years” She was surprised at that and made a joke “you don’t even look 22” We took the picture and I couldn’t even remember taking it! I was on cloud 9! After the picture I spoke with her again. I thanked her for the opportunity. For coming to Toronto. And I confessed that it was my first concert of hers. She was shocked. She was very humble. And thanked me. I collected my bag of goodies and waited for my friend and I was completely on cloud 9 the whole way to the train. I couldn’t believe that it even happened! I would do it all again if she ever came back to Toronto. It was an amazing show. An unforgettable experience, and I hope one day I could do it all again!