Now there are so many meaty scenes in ‘The Rose’, but none thrill me and exhaust me at the same time when Bette (The Rose) sings the final number after she’s taken hands full of uppers, downers, and then tops it off with an injection of heroin. She’s tired. stressed, her boyfriend couldn’t keep up with her lifestyle, so she really is emotionally drained. But she goes on with the show to sing this final song, Stay With Me, Baby!
I saw the news program that took us behind the scenes of the movie and the director made her sing that song 5 times by my account. And the song was brutal, but they wanted to wear her down. After all, she was an exhausted rock singer who was on her last legs, so obviously they were trying to make her sound a little rough around the edges. Bette said at one point after The Rose she had wanted to tour with a rock n’ roll band, but then she said she didn’t think she could because it actually hurt her physically from the inside out. She said always competing with the loud band with her vocals and accessing the wind she needed turned out to be painful. Of course, she always dabbled in rock, but she really did in her last tour in the ’80s, DeTour, where she finally fused her cabaret-style show with rock, and of course, jokes, running around the stage, Delores DeLago the lounge singing Mermaid brought along her sisters, all complete with motorized wheelchairs and choreography singing Disco Hits, Oddly, she left out most of her familiar songs. I had never seen an artist throw out most of the music she was known for with all new songs. A very ballsy move. Plus you could tell she had been working on improving her voice. It was strong. Not only did the fans eat it up, but the critics raved that she had finally combined both cabaret and rock seamlessly. And then the next chapter of her life began and the public got a new bona fide superstar on her way to being a legend. Personally, I already thought she was one since the beginning.
One more thing, I had listened to so many women sing Stay With Me that I thought probably could sing it technically better, like Melissa Etheridge, Janis Joplin, Kiki Dee, all great versions but I noticed I had no chills. I wasn’t sitting on the edge of my seat. I wasn’t caught exhausted from tightening my muscles. And I just can’t figure it out. But on certain songs, Bette sang my mom would be gritting her teeth, tensed up, not being able to take her eyes off her, and then when it was over you just collapse exhausted. My brother, who hated that we tricked him into going to see Divine Madness left a fan, but on those physically demanding songs he reacted the same way, and so did my ex. One day a couple of years ago I called my ex at his apartment. We were talking and I said what’s that playing in the background? He answered as he got caught at something he shouldn’t be doing. He said it’s Divine Madness. I was livid. He said I invited some people over who never saw her concerts. I said that is my job, I turned you into a Bettehead! He said well I can do it too. And I said no, you’re stealing my personality! I slammed the phone down. I wasn’t really mad but flattered.
Now, if I offended anyone because I pointed out some criticisms about her earlier voice, it’s simply true, but I loved all the chances she took. And I didn’t say anything I wouldn’t say to her. I said something that took her by surprise one night, and it was the word “No” She looked at me and said you’re an honest person aren’t you? And I said yes ma’am, I try to be. That was when she told me “I really like you” Then she yelled out to Jill like she yelled out to Connie in her series, And that’s when she gave me her card with 2 telephone numbers. I was to call if I ever needed anything, but I never dared call either of those numbers. I always emailed. But sometimes Jill would call me about something, I think once or twice I said some really stupid things and then realize Bette was listening in and every time I said the word, Jill would go quiet, but she wanted to say yes, I finally realized what was going on and I just wanted to die, What I said was the truth, but I guess I wasn’t supposed to use that word. But I eventually got used to stuff like that, I would just say, well “I don’t know how Hollywood works” But I have grown to love Jill. She went to bat for me several times when got in trouble, and she means business. I was just like wow!