So this is what it sounds like when doves cry.
It was announced today that pop music superstar Prince passed away today at the age of 57. The news sent shock waves across the music industry, with everyone from Katy Perry to Justin Timberlake taking to social media to pay tribute to the legendary musician.
Prince last visited Vancouver on his intimate and interactive Live Out Loud tour in 2013 and played four sold-out shows at the Vogue Theatre. I was one of about 1,000 people who caught his “early” show there on April 15, 2013 (8 p.m. is considered early in Paisley Park time) and those of us who shelled out the $250 for tickets were invited back to his 11:30 p.m. show for the bargain price of $5.
Prince was (and it kills me to use “was” instead of “is”) notoriously private about his music and likeness, and banned all cameras and phones from the venue – I literally saw a man ejected from the show for checking the time on his iPhone! But those of us who stuck it out and abided by Prince’s rules were treated to an unforgettable two hour show filled with new material and rarities.
I grew up in a Prince-heavy household and my favourite story growing up was my mom’s adventures of taking my bratty older sister to see the Purple Rain tour in Toronto. And thirty-plus years later, if you ask her how the show was, she’ll say “young people were pushing me…and I was pushing them back!”
Thankfully my Prince experience was a little calmer than hers. No young people pushing me – I was the one doing the pushing this time around (I told people I was “doing the Batdance”). I made it to the front of the theatre and stayed put for five hours in hopes of getting my own personal brush with Greatness.
In person, Prince is (sigh, was) tiny in stature but huge in personality – he had the entire room in the palm of his tiny hands from the opening chords to “Breakdown” until the final notes of “Let’s Go Crazy”. The show was a bare-bones production – just Prince, his purple guitar and his requisite harem of backup musicians. The “no phones” thing was a beautiful touch as well, as all eyes were locked on the singer.
I even managed to have a brief encounter with the icon during “Plectrum Electrum”, when he stuck a microphone in my face and literally smacked my hand when I drew a blank on the lyrics. It was perfect, and you haven’t really lived until you’ve been bitch-slapped by a guy twice your age and half your size.
It breaks my heart to say “goodnight, sweet Prince”, but your work here is done.