Seeing Prince live was my kind of Rapture … the end of the world as I would know it. And it didn’t happen on May 21, but over a week later, at the last show of Prince’s 21-day Los Angeles residency at the legendary Forum. Original home of the Lakers and the Kings, the Forum is more importantly where the Jackson Five sold over 18,000 tickets in 1970, where Elvis performed his second and tenth tours, and where Barbara Streisand, Led Zeppelin, the Bee Gees and Kiss performed, in addition to countless additional artists over the years, not to mention a few services for the Faithful Central Bible.
Religious predictions couldn’t account for this kind of Day of Judgment. I was led down memory lane back to 1984 when I first heard “Purple Rain,” saw the movie and sang into my hairbrush all those fabulously high falsetto “ohhhs,” swaying from side to side, tears streaming down my cheeks with reverence and passion. At this show, Prince Rogers Nelson was actually right there in front of me, standing in his white furry snow boots with flashing red heels on top of the purple baby grand piano, stage-right (I think it was stage-right, but there really was no “right” or “left” since the stage was in the shape of the symbol that Prince formerly went by, so you could say “the curly part of the across section of the stage” or maybe just “the piano side of the stage”)… anyway, backlit, there was no one between him and me … he was of course singing to me, and the ground did move and I remembered being 11 years old again and the feeling of… Rapture, kinda like how Blondie sings abut it!
Just the day before, I was lamenting how all my friends had been to see him two or three times already and I was beginning to give up hope. They were telling me they had seen Byoncé, and Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan and Sheela E, all performing with Prince. Even Stevie Wonder came up to jam out on the purple platform for a while but time was running out and ticket prices were quickly climbing. How could I have been so uninformed when I planned my trip to LA? Did I read the wrong blogs? Did I talk to the wrong friends? What was the mishap? Maybe it was because I missed Prince’s interview on the George Lopez show, or maybe it was because I missed his announcement of the Welcome 2 America tour he gave in NY in December.
Fortunately for me, I have a friend (who had already gone once already), and who just couldn’t stay away! He wanted more, so he stood on line for six hours the day of the show, risking sunburn, boredom and scalper threats but finally emerged victorious with three shiny white tickets. In the end, thanks to him, my friends and I walked down the purple carpet all the way to our front row seats and jumped up and boogied down when we heard “Purple Rain,” “Little Red Corvette,” “Raspberry Bourée,” “When Doves Cry,” “1999,” “Cream,” “Controversy,” “Cool,” and also when Maceo Parker graced the stage and performed “Pass the Peas” moving things in a definitively more funky direction. Three hours and five encores later, Prince had made at least seven costume changes and still looked as ready to rock as when he began. All that apocalyptic bang for only $25 a ticket (thank you, Live Nation)! Thank you Prince!