This post belongs to a blog hop of friends, go read theirs.
I have some pretty “out there” music freak friends. We’ve all done things that normal people would consider to be certifiably insane, perhaps criminally so, to hear, see and experience great music. On March 12, 1993, I did something, a series of things, that no conventional thinking person would’ve done to see Prince in concert. His shocking death at the age of 57 not only has eliminated any regrets I had, but it made what seemed like a good idea at the time, become a terrible one and back into a good idea, all at once.
In March of ’93, I was wrapping 4 1/2 years as a student at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa with undergraduate degrees in communications and English. I had handed in my senior thesis papers and was essentially done as Crimson Tider. I was in a serious but failing relationship with an older woman, co-managing a friend’s alternative rock band, working for two different radio stations and trying to not freak out about my uncertain future.
My soon to be ex was a major Prince fan. I was knee deep in being a punk rock jerk and Nirvana fanboi and had decided anything ’80s was awful and should be shot like a lame horse. For some reason, I gave Prince a pass. And went to a concert without her.
After an epic fight with my girlfriend, I was hanging out in a bar in Birmingham, Alabama with my friends’ band, watching them drink their profits for playing earlier when the drummer’s wife said “hey, I can’t go to the Prince concert tomorrow night, who wants my ticket?”
The night was hazy and so was I, but somehow I accepted the ticket for whatever money I had in my pocket.
The show was in Atlanta, my hometown, thirty-five miles from where I grew up. I was without any money and a once in a generation ice storm had enveloped the southeast. Yet, there I was, in the back of 1970s four door something, I think it was an Oldsmobile, with a bad transmission.
We broke down a couple of miles from the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. An argument developed between the driver and one of my friends that led to fisticuffs. This was a winner of a night.
Finally, me and two friends who shall remain nameless but there are no innocents in this story, walked to the Fox and what happened next can only be described as Purple Pleasure.
For over two hours, Prince slayed a city. It was unbelievable. The capper was an almost 10 minute tour de force performance of Let’s Go Crazy. I could feel the flu growing inside of me after the long walk in the ice and rain but the Paisley Prince of rock and roll made me feel like I was perfectly fine.
Prince’s death is devastating. He was a musical genius who could do anything, artistically. I have more memories with his music than I realized. The news of his passing brought them all on. The fact that his last ever show was at the same Fox Theatre I saw him at in 1993 is both poetic and heartbreaking.
He will be missed.
After I left his amazing show, I had to call my soon to be ex-girlfriend to drive four plus hours to come pick me up. I was a terrible boyfriend, a stupid 22-year-old kid and very immature to even think about going to that concert. But that’s what Prince did, bring out the crazy in so many of us.
It seemed like a good idea at the time. I regret nothing.
We are gathered here today
To get through this thing called life
Electric word life
It means forever and that’s a mighty long time
But I’m here to tell you
There’s something else
The after world
A world of never ending happiness
You can always see the sun, day or night
So when you call up that shrink in Beverly Hills
You know the one, Dr. Everything’ll Be Alright
Instead of asking him how much of your time is left
Ask him how much of your mind, baby
‘Cause in this life
Things are much harder than in the after world
In this life
You’re on your own