Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016)
When I first heard the news of Prince’s passing, I thought it must be a rumor or a joke. Later, when it was confirmed, I went into shock. I work with the tv on so all day I listened to the reports as they happened. Here in Minnesota, where I am originally from, Prince was a really big deal but long before the world fell in love with him, I was catching his shows in a place now called First Ave. I was about 19 when I started listening to Prince – it was before “Little Red Corvette”, “1999”, “Purple Rain”. Back then he wasn’t getting any airplay, most likely due to his explicit lyrics. But I was hooked. Besides being musically talented and an incredible songwriter, he was so sexy, cute and shy . . . and his falsetto – criminal! I would have to guess that “Head” and “Sister” were probably the first songs I heard off his 3rd album Dirty Mind and they were quite shocking. And to me, a punk at the time, it made Prince a punk too. He was cool.
It rained all day on that sad day and then a rainbow appeared over Paisley Park. I think Prince must have done that.
When First Avenue announced that there would be all nite dance parties for the entire weekend I wanted to go. But Thursday nite looked overwhelming – all those people in the streets like Times Square in NY. I had done that, New Year’s Eve in Times Square, and the idea of being around all those people didn’t appeal to me. But when Friday came, I felt like I had to go. I didn’t have anyone to go with so I went alone. I got into town around 12:30. I knew they weren’t going to open the doors until 1:30 – after the scheduled show was over – so I hung out in the bar next door for an hour. At last call I headed out the door and the line had really grown – turning the corner twice. Below is a photo of my view at some point.
I waited in line for about 2 hours. People kept cutting in front of us. I wasn’t about to travel from WI and wait all that time without getting in. I had started talking to some 20 somethings in front of me. When one of their guys walked off I thought maybe he had had enough. But then he came back a few minutes later and said, “I think we can budge”. What do you mean? “I think we can get in, follow me.” And so I did. And sweet boys that they were, they protected me from the crowd. There was pushing and shoving and one guy got taken away in cuffs for being disorderly – he kept trying to start fights. We just stood there and waited – we were on the wrong side of the barrier. Eventually the security got fed up with the pushing and they sprayed something. I had backed off a little so I didn’t catch much of it – just a bit in my nose. But it sent several people sneezing and running away from the door so I got even closer. Within 15 minutes I was in. Success!
It was a great feeling to be inside with all those other people who loved Prince. I danced and walked around – by myself. I hoped maybe I’d run into someone I knew but it didn’t happen and it was ok. I felt like now that I’ve been to this tribute, I can get on with things – go about my business. The photo below is of the IDS lit up in purple. I took the photo in the parking lot. It was dusk – about 5:40. My navigation said I’d be home by 6:30 and I was ready to go home.
It’s taken alot longer to settle in – the idea that I’ll never see Prince again – that he’s left us. I know he’s in a better place but I’m still cryin’ . . .