Photo by Prince and the NPG.
Where does the time go? I just want to give a shout out on the 10 year anniversary to remember one of the craziest weeks I’ve ever had. When Prince’s career was seriously in the toilet, he opened up his recording studio complex, Paisley Park, up to his fan club for a week of love and music. From June 12 – June 17, 2001, Prince fans from all over the world flocked to Minneapolis, Minnesota to have the chance to hang out in the ultimate Prince mecca – Paisley Park. The rules were simple – Paisley Park would be open during the day and fans could just hang out inside the grounds. In the evenings, live music at Paisley Park would be provided by the likes of Erykah Badu, Maceo Parker, Common, Alicia Keys, The Time, George Clinton, Nikka Costa and of course, Prince! Afterwards, an all night dance party would be held in the sound stages of Paisley with Prince DJing!
On the very first day, my brother and I were first in line to enter Paisley Park (I know, some things never change), and immediately upon entering the grounds, we were taken into one of Prince’s soundstages. After we entered the soundstage, the door closed behind us and there were my brother, myself and Prince, by ourselves! Prince was just converting to the Jehovah’s Witness religion and he and I got in a heated argument about religion. He was trying to tell me that there was only one way to believe and I respectfully disagreed. I got upset that he wasn’t even listening to me and instead was just trying to tell me how “it is.” That was the first 5 minutes of my week long trip!
The week progressed and I spent countless hours hanging out in the recording studio where so many songs that have changed my life (in a positive way) were recorded. I met Prince fans from all over the world and 10 years on, I still keep in touch with a good portion of the people I met that week. That’s, in fact, one of my favorite things about Prince – the fans. When you are in a room full of Prince fans, you have no worries about race, color or creed. It’s all about spreading the love. I’ve always appreciated that.
During the week, we were treated to private listening sessions (with Prince in attendance) to his at the time new record “the Rainbow Children,” which was being filmed by Kevin Smith for a documentary that never came to be. In fact, Kevin Smith talks (for 30 minutes!) about this experience in his DVD “An Evening With Kevin Smith.” It’s really a must see to get a glimpse into how nuts Prince actually is. The week ended with 2 large scale concerts at the Xcel Energy Center in Minneapolis. Miraculously, I had scored a first row ticket and during the end of the concert, while Prince was playing the song “Come On,” with Erykah Badu and Common on stage, he asked for some dancers to get on stage and get their groove on. I got picked by the man himself to join Prince on stage and there I was dancing my ass off! I was dancing so hard, in fact, that Prince decided to put a spotlight on me! It was definitely one of the most surreal experiences I’ve ever had. I’ve never seen video footage of this show, but an audio recording exists and it always cracks me up when Prince says “we need a spotlight. This brother’s jamming!” If anyone has additional pictures or video from this show, you’d be handsomely rewarded 🙂
The above photo ended up on Prince’s official website the next day and it’s been a souvenir of an amazing week that I cherish to this day. Thanks Prince! Happy anniversary!