Prince lovers everywhere are saddened by the news that we've lost another iconic artist way too soon. I've been a fan since my youth. Often lip syncing and twirling around my bed room and forcing even my shy friends to perform and make up choreography to his music at every slumber party. Multiple dance and tumbling routines of mine over the years were performed to some of his greatest hits. I don't often make any fuss about meeting amazing people but this was Prince, The Prince, and my moment was inspiring to say the least. Never in a million years did I think one day I would shake this legendary performers hand or melt with disbelief and a throbbing heart as he captivated my presence. Shall I go on?
I wish I had photos but all I have is a fond memory implanted in my mind and heart which so far has been one of my most memorable nights since I moved to LA in 2000. My girlfriend, Sarah and I got asked by Prince's private-party chef if we were available to pass champagne at his LA home for an intimate gathering. This was one of the last free-lance bartending jobs I had and boy, I can say I closed down that chapter of my life with bang! I think it was a no-brainer, YES, for us since we both were fans. It sounded pretty lovely to be paid a substantial fee to simply greet guests and offer some bubbly as they mingled about hoping we may get to see Prince perform at some point, right? We were told no pictures and to not have too much interaction. Let's face it, you tell yourself to play it cool but that's pretty hard when you see someone like Prince glide into a room with a mysterious essence... you catch yourself trying not to stare and watch his every move like a stalker, suddenly the feeling of pop-rocks candy is exploding in your gut and you can't help but wish that for a moment he might just come say hello. A pretty natural feeling I presume?
And so he did. Not right away but eventually as the evening progressed, I caught eyes with him. Met with a smile, I asked if I could get him anything. He was kind and soft spoken. It was just lovely and enough as far as I was concerned.
No more than 30-40 guests had casually arrived and filled the upstairs, amongst them was none other than the late, Whitney Houston, which too was mesmerizing. As cocktail time and conversations started to wind down, the guests migrated downstairs where the band was set up to perform. Sarah and I sort of lingered with wonderment and curiosity of what we may be missing down there as we cleaned and tidied things up. We saw more of Prince strolling about various wings of the house so we knew the band was still jamming without him. We eventually were guided down briefly to offer some champagne refills. The downstairs hallway was like a museum with a collection of pieces like his motorcycle, amazing guitars and the purple rain velvet outfit... pretty cool to see. The quaint space accommodated the small crowd nicely and all seemed to be enjoying the band playing and getting their dance moves on even though, there was no Prince.
It's now passing 2AM and we catch the band pack up and head out to valet. And then something happens. The band comes back in and we are asked, along with any other staff that is there to head downstairs. There is less than 10 guests still hanging about that I can see. And there he is, less than 5ft in front of Sarah and I. Dripped in a small pool of light, guitar in hand, eyes closed, the electric riffs began and for the next hour we were dancing like it was 1999, our doves were crying, we went crazy, we felt delirious, Sarah and I practically kissed, we melted wanting to be his lover and nothing compared to the purple rain we felt pouring over us 7 times and then some. YOU FEEL ME?
Whether or not Prince intended to perform his greatest hits for those who waited and held out to the wee hours or for his staff who delicately curated a perfect night, I for one was inspired by this random act of what seemed so kind and dear for just us. This will forever be a memory I cherish with my soul sister Sarah Sluder. This experience made me take a moment to pause and acknowledge that every terrible bartending job I did along the way may have just lead me to this unforgettable night with our beloved Prince. R.I.P.
The coffee shop I'm sitting in today is playing the songs of this talented soul that inspired so many of us. It feels nice as I wrap this up. May we all take a moment and relish in a song that gave you a memory of some kind and share it with our youth and let his legacy carry with the world for years to come. Let me know what it is, what's the one your most likely to belt in the shower? I love hearing from you guys!
Click this link for the New York Times announcement article published yesterday morning.