We had our meet and greet with Bette on 26 June at MSG. The show was fantastic of course. We were 4 rows from the front so we had an amazing view. Bette sang Chapel of Love as the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that day that all states had to legalise same sex marriage. My wife and I got quite emotional at this point. I think it made us homesick for our five kids back in Perth as we have a family tradition that we play Chapel of Love whenever one of our daughters was getting married and also probably because our son is gay and our extremely conservative government in Australia will never legalise gay marriage. We can’t wait to vote them out!
After the show we went off to the meet and greet. I was still feeling pretty emotional and was hoping I wasn’t going to get teary. I let most people queue first and I watched the first couple of meet and greets to see how it works. She greets you very warmly and then the picture is taken and some small talk and then the big bouncer goes “ok thanks folks” and then you are hustled out.
I couldn’t have been more happier how our meet and greet went. I milked every second that I could. I went first for a solo pic. I was introduced to her and she said “hello Gary” with a big toothy grin and I said “Hello Bette it’s so wonderful to meet you” and she immediately picked up that I had an accent, but we found in the U.S. people often think we are British, but I told her we had travelled all the way from Perth, Western Australia and she mimicked my accent and said “Peeerth” and “I remember Perth”. I told her I saw her in Perth in 1978 on her world tour and that she looked at me in the audience. She said “oh yes I was looking straight at you (not!)” and I said “yeah you gave me this funny look as if to say who is that tall scary guy, which she laughed at. Then she asked me whether Perth had changed much and I said there has been a lot of development. She remembered that it was beautiful and I said it’s still beautiful. Then my wife Hilary came over and we had a joint picture.
I then told Bette that I was so happy that she sang Chapel of Love because of our family tradition. I felt like I was holding centre stage as the bouncer, photographer and Bette were all listening to me. I told her we had four daughters and one son who is gay and she said “Well tell him to come here and he can get married!” Then we posed for the group pic. Then we were preparing for the end of our allotted time and I told her I had brought her a gift (which I had to give to the meet and greet coordinator). She looked nervously to her left where they keep the gifts. I don’t know if she was thinking “oh God he hasn’t brought me a stuffed kangaroo from Australia?) I told her it was Australian wildflower seeds from a company that uses recycled packaging materials and she was absolutely thrilled. I thought it would be a thoughtful gift as she is an environmentalist and runs the NYRP which greens NYC and I also saw in Architectural Digest that she has a large rooftop garden on the top of her triplex opposite Central Park. I told her I had included an email from Sow n Sow with instructions on how to germinate the seeds. She was really pleased at which time I had milked our meet and greet as far as I could and we got the move along and we parted and she thanked me very much and I said thank you to her.
She is so natural and warm and friendly. The smile on my face couldn’t have been any wider. I relived the moment for days after.