I first saw Bette Midler when I was in my early 20’s and was fortunate to see her four more times over the years. I always dreamed of meeting her but knew it would never happen–how wrong I was! When her tour was announced, I planned to go, not knowing a Meet & Greet was a possibility. A friend of mine encouraged me to buy two tickets to the Meet & Greet and I am so glad I did! The show was phenomenal and Bette is truly a consummate entertainer…rarely is an audience treated to music, comedy, stories and a humble performer. In addition, Bette had commentary with several of her songs which only added to the poignancy of the lyrics. My brother went with me and our third row seats were fantastic.
Then the moment came when we got to meet her! I was teary eyed and everything I wanted to say to her was lost in my disbelief that I was finally meeting someone I had loved and admired for decades. I thanked her for her support of the gay community and HIV, even before it was popular. She smiled and brushed off the compliment and said she had not done that much. I told her that my bother and I both work in the HIV field and truly appreciated her support. She asked us several questions about HIV-who was contracting the virus, why was it so prominent in the black community, and why some people did not want to take their HIV medications. She was truly interested in our answers and was shocked that HIV is the leading killer for black women. She was also taken back that some people do not take HIV medications because they don’t think their lives are worth anything.
I then thanked her for the joy and love she had given through her music and movies and she thanked us for our support of her through the years.
The magical moment came to an end but it is a night I have relived for the past few days and I know it is a memory I will cherish forever. The experience was worth every penny and I will do it again if and when she tours again. I did think her handlers rushed us–we paid a lot of money for the chance to meet her and I think they hurried us too much.
Loved every second of the entire night! Bette continues to my hero!!!
Lesi Nelson & Todd Hargan