A Fan’s Perspective: THE GAY CLUB TOUR

THE GAY CLUB TOUR

In September 1998, Bette’s next album was released. It was called BATHHOUSE BETTY. This was the promo postcard sent out to record people, radio stations, and record stores. I love what it says, “IT’S HER WORLD. YOU’RE JUST SOAKING IN IT”.

In January 1999, VH1, aired it’s series BEHIND THE MUSIC that focused on Bette’s career and it was a huge success for the both VH1 and Bette.

Bette’s album, BATHHOUSE BETTY was doing very well in sales also.

Bette always loved having club dance hits from some of her albums. It kept her name in the clubs and with the gay club crowd.

Record labels would hire a D.J. remixer to go into the recording studio to take a short album version of a song and make it into a long dance version, 12″ singles (DJ’s used 12″ singles for years to play and mix in the clubs) were remixes of club dance music.

Over the years Bette has had many dance club 12″ singles released. Again, she knew that they would get played in the Gay Dance Clubs for sure.

Just to name a few 12″ singles released, 1976, STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT, 1979, BIG NOISE FROM WINNETKA, MY KNIGHT IN BLACK LEATHER, MARRIED MEN (but Bonnie Tyler had the best selling version of Married Men), 1990, MOONLIGHT DANCING, 1995, (my favorite) TO DESERVE YOU, 1998/99, I’M BEAUTIFUL, 2000 and IN THESE SHOES. This is the cover of the re-mixed CD for IN THESE SHOES.

In 1998, Cher went out on a small gay dance club tour to promote her mostly club dance album, BELIEVE.

Not to be out done by Cher, Bette thought that is something she should do also with her release of BATHHOUSE BETTY.

Bette (Bette was on Atlantic Records for years, but now on another part of Time Warner) and Cher were both on Warner Bros. Records.

In early 1999, Warner Bros. Records and Bette wanted to put together a small gay dance club tour doing about 4-6 clubs around the country.

In the business it’s known as a promotional tour, paid for by Warner Bros. Records, a local radio or tv station and the club that the artist will perform at.

Like Cher did for her club tour, Bette would be doing what they call a TRACK SHOW.

A track show is when the studio music is on tape/dat/cd/etc. and the vocals and backup are done live.
So, when a song is recorded in the studio they make a track show version, which is sometimes with the lead vocals layed back in the track and sometimes with the backup vocals on the track show version. Also, sometimes it’s just the instrumental version on the track and all vocal are live at the performance.

I was on the road with The Uptown Girls doing track shows all around the country for almost 10 years.
Our tracks just had the music and backup vocals on it and the two girls sang the lead vocals live.
Also, most track shows are between 15-35 minutes long depending on how many tracks an artist wants to do in the clubs.

Bette’s track show just had the music and Bette and the two backup girls sang live (can’t remember who they were, but they were two of Bette’s current Harlettes that were on the Experience The Divine tour).

The only two clubs I can recall were, SALVATION, in Miami and ,RICH’S, in Houston.

I lived in Dallas and The Uptown Girls on our label had performed at Rich’s twice and Dave and I would go to Rich’s when we were visiting Houston. So, I was very familiar with how big Rich’s was and thought it was the perfect place for Bette to perform.

I also, had a friend in Houston (his name is Bruce and I’ve known him since 1978) that had a store in Houston that sold club dance music, like our store in Dallas back then. Bruce, also loved Bette and I knew he would be going to see her at Rich’s.

I would fly down to Houston and meet Bruce at Rich’s that night. That was the plan!

It was on a Friday night, March 19th. and the tickets were $35.00 each. What a bargain to see Bette perform live!

Bette would be getting into Houston early Thursday to do a CD signing of her BATHHOUSE BETTY album at Border’s Books and Music Thursday night and more than 1,500 fans came to see Bette on a very rainy Thursday night in Houston.

Then Friday morning, Bette would do a radio morning show on a local station KRBE at a club called City Streets and 2,500 fans were there to see Bette.

It was standing room only!

These are the photos and headline from the Houston Chronicle when Bette was in Houston.

I flew to Houston in the afternoon on Friday, I could not go on Thursday and hated that I had to miss it.

I knew that the club would be packed and wanted to get there when the doors opened (you know I’m always early) and my friend, Bruce, would meet me later in the club. The club opened at 8pm and the show was to be between 11pm and midnight.

By 10pm the club was packed and it was very hot and it seemed that it took forever for the show to start. I knew that if the Houston Fire Marshall showed up I would not be seeing Bette perform that night at the club.

I knew that the club was way over capacity and it was a little scary getting pushed and shoved around and then someone spilt a drink down the back of my shirt. It cooled me off a little. If you had to go to the bathroom, forget it!

Finally, the show starts and the crowd went wild and they were so loud you could not hear Bette when she first came out on stage.

The show was about 20-25 minutes long and Bette told some jokes and when she sang BIG SOCKS, Bette and the two girls threw out baskets of white socks to the crowd.

It was very unusual to see Bette doing a track show in a club. I would say that I never thought I would see that from Bette.

Hope you enjoy the photos I took that night at Rich’s.

I never did see my friend Bruce in the club, but we had made plans to meet outside after the show if we did see each other in the club. We finally met up about 20 minutes after the show ended.

The both of us were invited to go to a small after show party that Warner Bros. was hosting at The Houstonian Hotel (where George and Barbara Bush lived at one time), so we drove over to the hotel.

When we arrived Bette had not come down yet. I would say the party had between 15-20 people there.

We were walking around eating and drinking and I saw this women on a very long white couch with two dogs.

As I got closer it was Liz Rosenberg from Warner Bros. Records, (she is the person that has been with Madonna from the beginning of her career and has done many projects with Cher) was watching over the two dogs at the party.

I had met Liz once before at a record promotion convention in NY. Liz has been with Warner Bros. Records for many years.

One of the dogs was Bette’s dog Puddles and the other dog belonged to Liz. I was surpised that Bette had brought Puddles along on this promotional tour. What a cute dog!

I sat on the couch, played with the dogs and spoke with Liz about Bette’s tour and what was new at Warner Bros. Records.

Bette came down about 20 minutes later and she had on the same outfit she wore on stage, but she had added a boa for the party.

Bette was making the rounds and finally we got to speak. First, she said, “I knew you would be here to see the show”. She knew that I lived in Dallas and it’s only a 50 minute flight to Houston.

Then, Bette, said,” I know that you know a lot about club dance music (being we had a club dance record store, a label, and we had produced some big selling club dance songs over the years), could you help me with some ideas and songs for a club dance album I’m thinking about doing”.

You know I said, YES, and she went on about maybe helping her choose songs to record, dance remix producers and help with some ideas about marketing the album.

I told her that when I got back to Dallas, I would start looking for some club dance songs for her and would send them to her once I found some.

Bette, wrote down the address to NYRP on the back of the ticket from her show at Rich’s for me to send the songs to her and she had her personal assistant take my business card and phone numbers to call me about the project.

So, about four weeks later I sent a cd with songs that I had found and felt that Bette could do a great job of singing all or any of them.

I did get a call from her personal assistant one day about the tracks I had sent to Bette and she said, that Bette was reviewing the songs and they would get back to me in a few weeks. I never did hear back from them after that call.

As you know Bette has never recorded an entire club dance album to this day.

It was great to see Bette again and get to talk to her at the party.

The party was a lot of fun and here are a photo of Bette and me and also a photo of Bette and my friend Bruce at the party that night in Houston.


(Bette and Ray)


(Bruce and Bette)