RECLUSIVE Edie Brickell charmed a packed room at the Guild Hall Saturday night after being asked to join a double-bill lineup by her pal, former "Saturday Night Live" bandleader G.E. Smith.
But the ever-modest songstress, who was performing for the first time since ending a tour in April, told the crowd she'd had anxiety dreams about the show, and later admitted to Diary she feared she was a little rusty.
"I was feeling anxious. It was a while since I've played. But then, when I got onstage, I thought to myself: When I'm 90, I won't be able to do this, so I'm just going to enjoy myself," said Brickell.
She confessed she'd even banned hubby Paul Simon from attending because of her nerves. They're spending a few days in their Montauk home, and Simon's distinct 12-string guitar was onstage during Brickell's set, leading eagle-eyed fans to believe he might join her for a song, as he has in past gigs.
"I asked him not to come. I didn't have a great sense of confidence," said Brickell, who was nevertheless all smiles backstage after the sold-out gig.
That was until one of her friends, who'd come to congratulate her, made the error of lighting a cigarette in a dressing-room corridor, causing a stage manager to go ballistic.
"Get out!" he screamed. "Get out of my theater! I've got a million dollars worth of art in here. What the hell are you doing?"
In a very unrock-'n'-roll moment, the gentle musician, her bemused band and the cigarette-holding culprit all stood looking horrified as the stage manager continued to scream at them before everyone shuffled out.
Brickell headed home soon after, but Diary can report she got some A-list praise from Richard Gere, who sneaked in to watch the show because he's a good pal of Smith's wife, Taylor Barton.
"She was great, absolutely great," said the mellow movie star.