Billy’s favorite diva-du-jour was Kristine W. He loved her. “One More Try” was the soundtrack to our lives for at least six months. Kristine was going to be performing at House of Blues. All of his friends got tickets. I had just finished a project with her managers and told Billy we would have no problem getting on the guest list.
The night of the show, Billy was beyond excited. He was downright bouncy. We meet up with his friends in front of HOB. I go up, like the big shot I am, and pronounce that we are on the guest list. The creepy drag queen at the door that was working with Jeffrey Sanker (it was his event) couldn’t find my name. After doing the typical Hollywood outrage act, I went to buy tickets. Sold out. Billy started to tear up as his friends went into the club. He was really disappointed. Big time. He didn't blame me, he was just really sad.
The next day, I called her managers and told them what happened and how bummed Billy was and how embarrassed I had been. They told me Kristine was playing Las Vegas soon and they would make sure we were taken care of. Billy didn’t know about this…yet.
Cut to Valentines Day 1997. I told Billy I had a surprise for him after work. At his quitting time, I showed up to his office in a bright red rented Grand Am. I had already packed a bag for him and me.
“Hop in, baby, we are going for a drive!”
He looked at me with doubt and curiosity, and climbed into the car. I told him that Bob was staying with our friend, Dean, and that we were headed to Las Vegas. Billy lived for surprises. I handed him a joint, we got on the road and headed east.
It wasn’t until we pulled up to the MGM Grand and he saw Kristine W on the marquee that what really was going to happen registered. It was a look of joy I will never forget. Her managers arranged for a beautiful suite for us and front row seats to her show. They insisted we went backstage afterwards.
Showtime. Kristine comes out and she is spectacular. I had told her managers that “One More Try” was Billy’s favorite song. I guess they relayed that to her because when she started that number, she headed directly to our table, took Billy’s hand, and sang the song to him without breaking eye contact. He was overwhelmed and started, again, to tear up.
Sidebar: One of my many favorite things about Billy was how naked his heart was – not just on the sleeve, it was the sleeve. I loved it when he cried from being happy.
After the show, he was shy about going backstage but I coaxed him into it. We went to her dressing room, she gave him a big hug and an autographed picture. He was swimming in giddiness. I’m not sure I have ever seen him happier. Seeing him that happy, I am certain it is one of my best memories.