Bette’s last tour ended in April 1976 and her next tour would start in November 1977.
This tour would be much different than the last two tours. It would be a much smaller tour with no lavish sets and Bette would perform at smaller venues. It was a more intimate tour and would only stop in seven cities.
This tour was called “An Intimate Evening With Bette” and it would be Bette, The Harlettes ( Sharon Redd, Ula Hedwig, Charlotte Crossley) and band performing most of the time on a bare stage.
Bette did perform at small venues and some of the performances were up to 10 days in some cities.
To help promote the Harlette’s album, “Formerly Of The Harlettes”, Bette gave them a 30 minute spot as the opening act for her show. This was Bette’s way to make up for all the bad things that Aaron had done to the Harlettes during the last tour and for giving them a hard time about the title to their album.
This tour was a throw back to Bette’s early days, before she became famous.
I did not get to go to any of these performances, but a friend of mine did go to three performances at The Copacabana in January 1978 and this is one of photos from the shows he went to at The Copacabana.
He said, that these shows were Bette at her best and the fact this was not a huge production made you feel that Bette was talking and singing just to you.
It was during this tour that Bette’s fourth album came out, “Broken Blossom,” and this was not one of Bette’s best selling albums.
I like this album and not sure why it was not a big seller for Bette.
During the recording of this album the house that Bette was staying at was broken into, the owner of the studio where the album was being recorded drowned, just to name a few things that happened during the time Bette was recording this album.
Bette, also did her first network TV special on NBC, “Ol Red Hair Is Back” that aired on December 7, 1977.
This is the TV Guide page for the special with a photo of Bette and Emmett Kelly.
The other guest on her special was Dustin Hoffman. Bette and Dustin did a song together that he composed and he played the piano and Bette wrote the lyrics and sang. The song is called “Shoot The Breeze”.
Bette had a deal with NBC to do three specials but only did the one. I heard Aaron Russo’s demands to NBC was the reason the other two specials never happened.
Bette and Aaron parted thier ways in 1978, so now Bette was making all the decisions.
I moved from Houston to Dallas in August 1979 and lived there until, November 2004.
Bette’s next project was “Divine Madness” and most people do not know that “Divine Madness” started on December 5, 1979 at the Majestic Theatre long before the film came out.
These performances had three Harlettes that were not in the movie. They were, Franny Eisenberg, Linda Hart and Paulette McWilliams. This is from the Playbill for the Majestic Theatre performances.
The film “Divine Madness” came out in 1980 and was Bette’s second movie release. It was not a huge hit, but till this day it is one of best concert films ever made.
In 1980, Bette’s first book came out, “A View From A Broad.” I did not get to see Bette when she came to Dallas to sign her book at B Dalton bookstore on Friday, September 26, 1980. I was out-of-town that weekend, but here is the photo from the Dallas Times Herald and the title of the story was “Mad Hatter Divine In Dallas” and thousands of fans showed up at a very early 7 a.m. to see “The Divine One” at 1 p.m. Bette, signed 1,500 copies that day.
Bette had a calendar in 1982 and again most people do not know about this calendar. The photos for the months are from “A View From A Broad” and the calendar is too large to show you, but here is part of the front cover of the calendar.
Some of my favorite dates she wrote in the calendar are: “I start to record my first album”, January 5, 1972, “I open in “Fiddler On The Roof” as Tzeitel”, February 25, 1967, “My first Gammy, Best New Artist”, March 2, 1974, “I start to shoot, “The Rose”, April 24, 1978, “Left Honolulu for the Big Time”, August 4, 1965, “I win an Emmy, for Best Variety Television Special”, September 1978, “I open in “Miss Nefertiti Regrets”, November 1965.
This was Bette’s next major tour and this would be her first tour without Aaron Russo.
The tour started on December 8, 1982 and ended up in September, 1983. It was a very long tour and was divided into two tours, Winter tour, December-March and the Summer tour, June-September.
I went to four shows, Dallas, Houston, Austin. Bette, performed two nights at the Fairpark Music Hall in Dallas, January 23 and 24, 1983.
I had lost contact with the Bette people so I did not get to speak to Bette in Dallas either night. This was also the first tour with new Harlettes, Ula Hedwig, Linda Hart and Katey Segal.
The summer tour had three different Harlettes, Joanne Harris, Jenifer Lewis, Siobhan O’Carroll.
I did not see any of those shows.
This tour was a little different than in the past, it was more of what I would call bizarre for Bette. It was rock meets a Broadway stage show. It had very unusual sets and costumes for most of the songs I guess had a very 80’s look to them.
This show had one of my all time favorite songs that Bette has ever sung, “All I Need To Know”.
This tour was after the disappointing releases of “Divine Madness” and “Jinxed” movies, but Bette used a couple of scenes from “Jinxed” in the show that were very funny.
I think the first time I saw the show in Dallas, I wasn’t sure if I really liked it, but by the time I saw the show in Austin, I loved it and wished that I could go see it again.
These are a couple of photos from the program for De Tour!
So, the next show that I went to was in Houston and it would be at the largest venue that I had ever seen Bette perform. It was at the Summit and 16,000 people would be there to see Bette perform. I remember when I walked in the Summit, I said, I’m not going to like this, it’s too big!
I just felt that Bette’s shows were not like a rock concert, they were more of a stage show that you would see in a theater. The show was sold out and everything about the show looked small to me in that big arena. This is a great story about this show.
The show started and after the opening songs, Bette was talking and telling jokes center stage. Up in the balcony you could hear a lot people hollering something to Bette. Bette finally asks, “what are you saying” and the crowd hollered back, “we can hardly hear you up here.” So, Bette points to the sound booth person and says, “TURN THE MOTHERFUCKER UP! ‘OL’ BETTE DOES NOT STIFF ANYONE!” and the sound person turned it up. Then Bette said, “Can you hear me now?” and they answered “Yes.”
Bette said, “Ok, on with the show.” Even Bette’s people were not used to her performing in such a large arena.
The next show was in Austin, at the Frank Erwin Center, and it is not a theater either, but not as large as the Summit. It is a University basketball arena.
This would be the last show that I would be going to and I finally got to speak to Bruce and then Bette just for a few minutes after the show.
I had not spoken to Bette since the Vegas shows in 1976 and she would always ask back then, how have you been and what have you been up to lately?
I gave them my address in Dallas and she sent this post card with a note saying, sorry that we did get to speak that much in Austin.
Bette uses this post card to send to anyone that she wanted to thank for something during her tour.
De Tour ended up for two nights in Minneapolis and HBO filmed Bette’s second special, “Art Or Bust.”
Also, during this tour Bette’s fifth album was released, “No Frills,” which was a big selling album for Bette.
If you want to see this tour look for the video “Art Or Bust” and if you want to hear some of the songs from the tour look for the “No Frills” album on CD.
THE SAGA OF BABY DIVINE
In 1983, Bette had her second book, “The Saga Of Baby Divine” coming out and she would be coming to Dallas to sign her book and I was not going to miss her this time.
Bette would be at B Dalton bookstore for three hours on a week night, so another Bette fan and I went to see her.
She was so happy to see me and I took some photos of her with my cheap camera, but my friend had a very good camera and took a few photos of Bette after she stopped signing books.
She was so sweet to give us a few minutes before she left the store.
It was great to see and speak to her again.
You can find her book “The Saga Of Baby Divine” at the Bette/Cher store in Caesars Palace these days.
Please, enjoy my ok photo and his two great photos of Bette that night in Dallas.
In 1984, Bette had a series of greeting cards out. Not sure if you can still find them.
These are just a couple of them.
During “De Tour”, Bette sold out 7 performances in March 1983, at Radio City Music Hall and the next time that I saw Bette perform would be in September 1993, at Radio City Music Hall when she sold out 31 days of performances.