Soundtracks of my life PT #2
My 21 Greatest Prince moments
In honor of my favorite all time singers glorious life I put together my best memories.
- Meeting him briefly in person. Prince headlined the Jam of the year tour in 1997 at the Ervin J Nutter center in Dayton Ohio. I worked at 94.5 FM at the time and was able to secure tickets and get backstage. I had been wanting to see Prince since I was a teen but something always seemed to get in my way but ironically for my first concert I was mainly backstage. I saw the show briefly from the side stage which was still awesome even though I wished could have watched it in its entirety. I had the opportunity to kick it with another legend Miss Aaliyah herself who opened the show and we sat and talked and took pictures. I admit I flirted hard with the R&B queen and don’t apologize even though I took a date. My date was merely a good friend I liked to take to shows so she didn’t mind. She liked Aaliyah also. After scoring some contact numbers I lost my date and wanted to meet Prince. Low and behold I found her ironically in a backroom full of Prince female fans all crowded around him. Besides the security I was the only male so was quite a bit awkward. Prince was perched on a makeshift throne in the sea of lovely ladies, gold outfit on, those crazy heeled boots. I waded through groupieland and found myself right in front of him, I remembered was odd meeting one of my favorite all time performers in such a profound matter. I did all the talking as it seemed the girls were feeding him grapes but that could have been part of the surreal-ness. I stammered out “Hi Prince, great to meet you. Really big fan! I have all your records!” The Purple one hiked his heels up and nodded at me, gave me that well known half smile, half smirk as he knew he ruled all Gotham. He mouthed out a barely audible ‘Thank you’ and we shared a moment of awkward silence as I swear they pushed grapes in his mouth. I semi talked to him and my starstruck date who had happily joined in the groupie cult, “Hey, you ready to go, didn’t even see you in all this.” I motioned around with a bit of sarcasm that he seemed to get a laugh out of. Everyone knew as feminine he could dress and come off as, he could still take your girl. I was cool, I had Aaliyah numbers and my companion had sat on his lap and probably some females lap, was all good. There was talk of after parties which never evolved but that was a very interesting evening indeed.
- Actually catching a full show. In 2000 I was working at 92.1 FM and he was coming to the Cincinnati Music Hall. Still couldn’t afford a show but as luck would have it a co-worker had scored tickets but something came up and they couldn’t attend. They knew I was a fan and offered the tickets. I couldn’t say no! I knew from previous failed attempts you had to take advantage if the right opportunity presented itself. Plus I had lamented about not seeing the full Nutter Center show or any when I was younger. My girlfriend for some odd reason wasn’t a fan so I took one of my buddies and he drove. The show goes down as one of the best overall performances I’ve ever seen in my lifetime amongst Sade, Janet Jackson, the Roots and Public Enemy.
- Recording “Do Me Baby” with all it’s sexual energy, screaming, simulated sex romp at the influential pubescent age of twelve on a cassette tape to play over and over. “Do Me Baby” reeled me in.
- I was sold the first time I heard the synthesized riffs and hard drum loops with a robotic beast bellowing “Don’t Worry I won’t hurt u, I only want u 2 have some fun” of “1999”. That album proved to be a beast itself as every single track jammed!!! The album was a pure party starter front to back setting the standard. Was my first vinyl purchase ever!
- Purple Rain in the theater.
- Hearing “If I was your Girlfriend” wicked groove emulating from a packed car of friends and having to buy “Sign of the Times” immediately. Became my favorite Prince CD another front to back masterpiece.
- Getting my first speeding ticket to “Hot Thing” after mashing the gas to impress passing by females.
- Jamming “1999” when my oldest daughter was born in 1999.
- Attempting an embarrassing simulation of ‘The Beautiful Ones” to be ‘sexy’ for a girlfriend. FAIL! Lol
- Doing a skit to “Let’s Go Crazy” with a buddy in school. We practiced the song over and over until we went crazy with bleeding ears!
- In Chicago a girl I worked with was so hell bent to see the Artist she would sleep with whoever helped score tickets. I was only happy to oblige! 🙂
- Hearing “Erotic City” in a coffee shop! Wait what? Everybody was rocking Prince extensive catalog at time of his death.
- Making a bomb slow jam mixtape from his catalog.
- Experiencing “Another Lonely Christmas”.
- Laughing at my boy performing a Prince routine for a talent show complete with just a trench coat and briefs.
- Watching Julia Roberts sing “Kiss” in that hot tub in Pretty Woman. Her sexiest look.
- “Sometimes it Snows in April” in Spike Lee’s “Girl 6”, yeah I can dig good romance.
- Doing the “Jungle Love” and “The Bird” (Prince off-shot crew The Time) with a gang of females.
- Getting to know the very cool Maneca Lightner, poster girl for Prince’s Madhouse instrumental band. She used to model and be a burlesque dancer! Now she works with children. 🙂
- In the 35+ years absorbing Prince tunes certain philosophies and lessons seep into your consciousness. His music itself ran the gamut of funk, pop, rock, jazz, blues, etc. etc. he could just not be pigeonholed which was a force unto itself. Prince taught us life lessons in standing up for what you believe in, fair rights for artists, erasing racial and gender boundaries, sociability, sexuality and just downright being the unique being you want to be.
- Some lessons took a minute to sink in. As previously mentioned ‘1999” rocked from front to back. At pubescence I originally didn’t care for ‘Free’ as it was ‘boring’ and seemed out of place. It took me about five years later when we debated using the song for our graduation and facing the world that the message of the song started to take hold. It was recently after numerous wars, the fight with terror, many of our leaders and peers passing away that this song really hit home as we thank God for our blessings “Be glad that you are free, free to change your mind, free to go ‘most anywhere, anytime, Be glad that you are free there’s many a man who’s not, be glad for what you had baby, what you’ve got, be glad for what you’ve got.” This was the start of his social conscious movement and eventually his philanthropy that backed up his vocals. The very definitive of ironic, his compelling words will live on for entirety and remind us how lucky we are as inhabitants of this earth and that he was here to share it with us. Thank you Prince, we got it.