For an April – May in 2011 there was a 21-night stand in Los Angeles at the Fabulous Forum.
Prince played every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night for 21 nights.
$25 at the door.
He was the last artist to play at the Forum before they redid it.
It had just been sitting empty-so he threw a party and made it affordable. I think one night, he tweeted $10 at the door just to get some more bodies there. It lives today in the lore of the city of Los Angeles, the keeper of the magic moments dreams are built on.
I don’t know where you were, but that’s where I was.
The first night we went was April 23rd.
I had always heard Prince was one of the top 5 best artists live.
Could it really be true? Could anyone live up to that much of an expectation?
It was one of the single best nights of my life.
So Jeff and I determined to go back as many times as we could.
We went 4 times and Jeff went by himself one night while I convalesced with a migraine, listening to him quietly on an iPod.
What a gift!
He just brought out his friends and they had a party.
Sheila E.-who is the Queen of all Badasses.
Janelle Monae. Larry Graham.
Chaka Khan. Whitney Houston was in the audience and Chaka brought her up on stage. Chaka had to feed the words to her for “I’m Every Woman”-Whitney died shortly after that.
On Stevie Wonder’s birthday, Stevie came out on stage with Prince and they jammed. The stage shone with sparkling glitter that flew off their fingertips-atoms circulating amongst us all. The undeniable connectedness that happens when artistic geniuses give over to their gifts. It was the very best that music has to offer. It was the reason music is what music is.
One night-in my memory it was a Thursday but maybe it was a Friday-
He opened the show with “Sometimes It Snows In April” and then played “Mountains”
I think we were all in shock.
It started without any fanfare.
If you weren’t paying attention you could think it was part of sound check.
All of the big theatrics set aside for this-an invitation into a living room.
I looked around and all of us were in tears.
That point of view-how you see the world-is your art.
For me, the greatest art and artists inspire me to create from my point of view.
They hold a candle as an invitation into their point of view and then I can see what my function is-how I want to say it becomes clear.
For that I thank you Prince.
At the end of the day let’s be honest.
Prince is just funky, sexy, freaky and his music makes me wanna let loose and get down all night long.
When was the last time you danced?
And if you don’t instantly shake your ass when you hear him and wanna tear all of your clothes off-
Then when was the last time you let go?
And if you don’t know the answer to that-it’s been too long.
We were all put here to get down.
And if you ain’t getting down what are you doing?
There is always time to celebrate, to love, to be loved and to share ourselves with each other.
Prince reminds us of this, gives us permission.
Make time to love.
I don’t know about you, but I have been dancing for 3 days straight now. Dancing, living, enjoying recognizing-
If I look at the soundtrack of my life:
The best moments and memories-
the chances are that Prince, Earth Wind & Fire and David Bowie were involved.
All of which we just lost.
Money Don’t Matter 2night
Was the first dance song played at our wedding.
Jeff and I labored for a year and one day
To create a marriage that we could step into.
We paid for our own wedding but we had so much help.
My mother bought me the dress of my dreams.
The owner of the catering company donated the food-whatever we wanted on the menu-as a wedding gift.
The rentals-donated as a wedding gift.
Friends came to our house and helped craft decorations.
When we had to move our venue on the Tuesday before our wedding-Jeff’s brother paid for the new venue over the phone.
By the time we got to the reception-
Money didn’t matter that night. Receiving did.
Money don’t matter 2night
It sure didn’t matter yesterday
Just when you think you got more than enough
That’s when it all up and flies away
That’s when you find out that you’re better off
Making sure your soul’s alright
Cause money didn’t matter yesterday and
it sure don’t matter 2night
When I moved to New York, I lived all over the place.
When I finally got to the Upper East Side, Uptown was my theme song.
I lived at 83rd and 1st Ave above a pizzeria.
I didn’t really know anyone.
Uptown gave a shape and sound to creating the reality out of the fantasy. Prince kept me company when there was no one else in a city of millions.
In the 7th grade we did a Solid Gold dance number to U Got the Look. I had the same haircut as Sheena Easton-we wore turquoise unitards with silver sequined belts and a silver bow in our hair…wait was that the one? Or was that the outfit for the Neutron Dance Pointer Sisters number? Does it matter?
It was spectacular. That guitar lick-I think it might have been the first time that someone told me I was moving “too sexy” for my age. Too “Adult”
What did I know? Felt right to me – blame it on the bass line. Thanks for eradicating shame, Prince…you are on to something.
Prince owns a year.
A whole year.
There was not a party anywhere on New Year’s Eve 1999 that didn’t play that song.
Purple Rain was the song I had my first kiss to
(That was also with a Jeff)
It was in my best friend’s Mom’s condo bathroom.
There was a little skylight so it was completely dark other than this sliver of light slashing between our bodies.
It was maybe 11 in the morning.
And it might have been a dare-
We had to go in there for the whole song
Or maybe we just decided to stay til the end of the song
And Purple Rain was the excuse to make out for 8 and 1/2 minutes.
I could write about his musical genius, which is inarguable. Or his stance on owning his own art as a matter of principal that he has never waivered on. I could write about the sadness of the circumstances of his death. I could write about my own struggle with the concept of death and how I like to deny my humanity by placing ridiculous expectations on myself to create an illusion of control.
But if I love living as much as I do-to not accept death as an equal partner in living-is just hypocritical.
Prince you mere mortal-Thank you for gift of humanity.
Thank you for showing us what art is worth.
Thank you for demanding that creation be deemed as noble.
Thank you for showing us what soul and beauty and freedom and sensuality and badassedness looks like.
Thanks you for reminding me the impact that our mission as artists can make.
Each night we saw him at the Fabulous Forum, he closed with Purple Rain.
Purple confetti fell from the rafters and Shelby J. would wave this giant purple flag.
It was a call to me, to all of us, to be ourselves.
To let our heartbreaks and silent dream aches out.
To let ourselves be scooped up by the human experience of the many in the one.
It was one of those rare moments-the reason I go to concerts-that moment when you look around at a room full of strangers and are connected to the core. Completely in rhythm merely because you are there…the music is that something bigger.
The music is God.
That rhythm connecting us all-
Purple Rain was the beacon that held all of us in it together.
Sometimes he would come back and play more.
And sometimes he wouldn’t.
Today I feel like I am waiting to see if he will or won’t come back to give us more. And the lights have just come on to an empty stage littered with the remnants of a party. It’s time to move on and it is my job to hold that rhythm in my heart and in my life.
HOUSEQUAKE You Sexy Mother Fucker!
The function of an artist in society is to hold up the mirror to our true nature.
When we accept our mission on this planet as an artist you choose to live just outside of society.
To see it as it truly is.
Artists take notice-there is a call to arms that has been made.
The torch has been passed.
Who is going to take it and run?
May Prince stand as an even greater illustration of how irreplaceable each of us are.
There is no one else who could ever do what Prince did.
Because he was Prince.
Jeff and I will still wander around every once in a while saying: “Hey, it’s Thursday-wanna go see Prince tonight?”
Because we could.
It never once occurred to me that the time would come 5 years from now.
Just under 5 years.
and that would no longer be true.
Doves are crying.