"Get ready. You have 15 minutes until we are leaving."
Those were the instructions from my sister Prinna last night. I had had a really rough Friday night at home by myself in Rochester for the first time ever, so I went back home and spent the rest of the weekend with my parents and sister. Turns out, Prinna had the skinny on a supercalifragilistic event. Prince - PRINCE - was having a surprise concert at his Paisley Park recording studio. Those were all the details we had. There was the concert of a lifetime and it would only cost me a $50 donation and some serious soul-searching.
See, it turns out, I'm not the spontaneous kind of girl I'd like to think I am. Without a schedule, advance ticket sales, assigned seating and a firm parking plan, I was less-than-enthusiastic to spend my Saturday in chaos. But Prinna was adamant...this WOULD be a fun night. Whether I liked it or not.
So I put on my leather skirt (yay! It's already come in handy!), a white tee and jean jacket with some freaking high wedge boots. I slapped some makeup on and came out of my parents bathroom in 7 minutes. Prinna was all "Let's go...crazy."
We drove in her minivan to Paisley Park where a line had been forming since 10 a.m. The lady told us "You can't park here. You either have to go to Target and walk 1/4 mile back to get in line, or park at a remote lot and wait 1 1/2 hours for a shuttle."
Obviously, we weren't going to walk because we are not stupid. We parked and waited in a line of about 30 people in a Lifetime Fitness parking lot. (The attendant there was like "Are you here for the Prince concert?" And I was all, "No, I'm coming to work out...idiot." He laughed and sent us towards the line. An hour later, a ginormous shuttle and luxury van showed up.
[I should note here that Prince explicitly forbids alcohol AND cellphones at these shows. So, while everyone was calm and sober, we were downright lost without our phones. It was like being naked...and sober.]
So as Prinna and I start to board the bus, the bus driver stop us and are all "Sorry, all full." We were pissed. Strike two.
But then they directed us to the fancy shmancy van behind the bus where we waited with 15 other people who were equally uncomfortable without phones. Oddly enough, we all started chatting and it turned out to be amazing.
Forty-five minutes later, we left the parking lot. I was SURE we'd be at the end of the very long line only to find out that we weren't getting in. I was like "Well, at least I saved $50. Someone's buying some new shoes tomorrow."
But we drove to Paisley Park...and then we PASSED BY everyone who had camped in the rain and waited in line since that morning and drove right through the gate. To the front entrance. We were dropped off RIGHT AT THE FRONT. We had skipped the line in a luxury van.
I kept thinking "This can't be happening. Coming to see Prince at a surprise concert could NOT be this easy." I kept waiting for someone to come over to us and be like "You're at the wrong concert, dummies," or something because it had all been way too lucky so far.
We wait in line again for another half-hour or so and then the doors open. Prinna and I ended up being like the 20th and 21st person admitted inside. We paid our donation, and went into this enormous room with this incredible stage. And when I say we got close, WE GOT CLOSE. There were no more than three people between me and me licking Prince's mic stand.
Then more waiting.
But I totally didn't mind. Some warm-up musicians came on and sang with a little 18-PIECE BAND known as New Power Generation and Prinna and I were IN AWE. There is no way to explain how amazing these musicians were. And even the 50-year-old idiot who tried to smoke pot right next to us and then got kicked out couldn't ruin the vibe. And even though my feet were bloody stumps inside my 5-inch wedge boots, I felt amazing.
The doors opened at about 9:15. At around 12:15, my life changed forever when Prince sauntered up on stage with absolutely no fanfare. He just came on during a warm up song, wearing the most amazing 'fro and heeled-boots ever. Then he broke into song and it was all I could do to not weep during "Diamonds and Pearls". He was the show-stopping, top-of-his-game singing musical genius I had always hoped he'd be. And then he'd talk into the mic in this tiny, quiet voice that made me want to crawl up on stage and get inside a Baby Bjorn that he'd carry around stage.
He played for TWO HOURS. My ears have never been happier. If it weren't totally gross and probably a medical emergency, they would have wept with gratitude that I had given them this experience. Prince sounded AMAZING and the band? The band was the best band on the planet. And would probably win every Battle of the Bands competition on Jupiter.
The best part of the night was when Prince whisper-talked into the mic that Purple Rain was Minneapolis' song. Prinna said "I felt like I was on acid during that song. It was unbelievable." And I would have agreed with her if the lump in my throat wouldn't have been there. It was the most indescribable musical experience I will likely ever have.
He played some standards that I sang along to (quietly, because I didn't want to miss one note that came out of that tiny, beautiful man's mouth) and then a bunch of others that I had never heard. But it didn't matter. They were all my favorites. And if you have forgotten, I was THREE PEOPLE away from a musical icon. I could see his sweaty brow, his fingernails, the bedazzling on his tulle cape and I felt like I could feel his breath on my face. It was absolutely surreal. For $50 bucks.
Two and a half hours later, Prinna and I were heading back to the car (after another amazingly-lucky line jump) and in la-la land. It's like we were high on the music. We got home at like 3 a.m. and I fell asleep with "Nothing Compares 2 U" in my head and a smile on my face.
This morning, I was reliving the whole experience to my parents. I tried to explain everything to them, and just wanted to show them pictures of Paisley Park and Prince and NPG, but I couldn't. I didn't have a concert tee or a hand stamp. I had nothing but the images and notes smashed inside my brain. And while I feel a little bad that I can't share it with others, I feel amazing that I got to have it all to myself.
And to think...I would have missed it all if Prinna hadn't insisted that I buck up and try something new for once. I guess some pretty amazing things can happen when you leave your scheduling, phone and inhibitions behind.