Like so many others, I’m in shock this morning over the death of one of my musical idols, Prince. It’s funny how we can feel such an emotional connection to people we’ve never actually met. I suppose that’s the genius of great artists, their work finds its way into your heart on a very personal and intimate level.
Just like the rest of the world, I got swept away by Prince’s talent and unique persona after Purple Rain was released. It was a fun and free time in my life – and my friends and I began to voraciously buy up anything that had to do with him, previous recordings, merchandise and concert tickets. In fact, I found some old pictures that illustrate my love and devotion for the purple one. This is me in my “Let’s go Crazy” t-shirt. Why am I not wearing pants, you ask? Good question. I can’t remember for sure, but I think this was a trip to the beach. (Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)
Around that time, the news reported that Prince was thinking of calling it quits and that his final concert would be held at the Orange Bowl (to be transformed into the Purple Bowl) in Miami – and I had to be there! A local radio station was giving away tickets so my friends and I grabbed our sleeping bags, headed to a friend’s house and took shifts staying up all night in order to make the hourly phone calls to try to win them. It was a long night – and needless to say, we didn’t win. I remember staggering home, burry-eyed and sleep deprived and deciding to “just lie down for a minute.” Apparently that was last anyone saw of me that day – but, of course, my amused parents decided to snap this blackmail picture – of me and my cat, boo boo kitty – as evidence that I had indeed “gone crazy.”
Never one to be deterred (a true fan never is) my friend and I managed to get our hands on a couple of the coveted “final performance” tickets and set out for Miami in her beat-up, old tank of a car. The air didn’t work, so we cruised down the road with the windows down and cassette deck blaring (wow, I feel old). She was driving with her left leg out the window (which seems exceptionally flexible and dangerous now) and we were singing I would die 4 U, complete with hand gestures.
Since this was his “last ever” concert, we were all supposed to wear purple and come in full Prince Regalia. My friend and I did ourselves up Apollonia-style, with black lace gloves and high heeled boots and made our way into the “purple bowl” along with 70,000 other hard-core fans dressed like something out of a bad music video. And despite all the trouble it took to get there, this concert was completely worth it. Prince jumped off a 6 foot platform to the stage below (in 6-inch heels no less) all without missing a beat, shredding on his guitar. My favorite moment was at the end, when they lowered the stadium lights and all 70, 000 of us swayed in unison to the falsetto portion of purple rain. We’d all been given light-up purple roses that created a magical and surreal effect. There we were – this vast and diverse crowd of people – in complete unity, brought together through the genius of this man’s music. Memories like those are treasured. They mark a time in our lives – an innocence even – that can never be recaptured. It was a moment that I will always cherish.
Just to complete the story, my friend’s old jalopy of a car actually did decide to call it quits and breakdown on the way back from the concert, leaving us stranded in the worst part of Miami at 10:30 at night (wearing black-lace gloves and high-heeled boots, you’ll remember!) Yet, it’s amazing how friendly people can be. I can’t tell you how many people honked their horns, waved and offered us rides that evening. As heart-warming as that was, we decided to take our chances and walk to the nearest gas station to call for help at a pay phone (if you don’t know what that is, look it up.)
Anyway, my fondness for the talent of this artist and the wonderful memories that he’s given me will live on long beyond his earthly years. Thank you, Prince, for your wonderful contribution to this world. In the words of Shakespeare, “Goodnight, sweet prince/and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”
Copyright © 2016, marciwise.com. Material is copyrighted but free to repost as long as proper credit is listed, including our website address. Marci Wise is the author of Pain, Passion & Purpose, a Self-Help/Motivational finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards.