These are the days of wild…

30 May

When you have just the week before experienced the greatest night and gig of your life (no exaggeration necessary) courtesy of Prince and the NPG, what do you do when you’re presented with the option of seeing Prince at his After Show for the second time? Do you refuse and instead bask in the glory of the previous concert fearful that it might sully the memory?

Or do you throw caution to the wind?

I chose the later. Well I was persuaded. That came in a few ways. Number one. The pressure of good friends. I found out about the after show happening at Eatons Hill Hotel (where is that??) at about ten to ten on Saturday night via Twitter. Confirmed by their FB page. I messaged S straight away. She was in, and ready to leave the Entertainment Centre even though the encore was continuing. I messaged my brother, and L and T. And then the doubts came in. Should I or shouldn’t I go? I had chatted to T earlier in the day and he said he wasn’t going, only planning to stand in line for the rest of the group. He didn’t want to marr the memory. Another sleepless night, another $100… Should I or shouldn’t I? Then I re-checked the FB site again at 11pm and noticed the $50 price tag! I was already partying on the northside with friends two suburbs over from the Hotel. The price definitely sealed the deal. I was there! As I was told by a friend: “Twice in a lifetime is better than once Rowena!”

It was a short drive from our friends place and there in the middle of seemingly nowhere, arose the big club with the sign bearing the words “PRINCE HERE TONIGHT – DOORS OPEN AT MIDNIGHT”. S dropped B and I off. The line was already well formed. It was quarter to twelve. Doors rumoured to be opened at 12. We quickly spotted our friends and without too much fanfare slipped in amongst the group. We weren’t sure how this queue would react to some new additions. They were fine. I was so excited to be there. Glad I hadn’t travelled home. My mad fan friend, S had messaged me to say: ‘Come. Concert was even better 2nite. He’s on form!’

Sadly no K. No T. But then D joined us, the mega-fan from the weekend before. My first question to him was: “Where’s D?” D had been the one who had been S and I’s line buddy from the Friday before. By a bizarre coincidence it just so happened that he was still in the carpark after saying hi to D. I called him and he was shocked and in disbelief that I was actually there. It took less than a minute and he was agreed to come too. With the offer of $50 tickets, how could he not? Our little fanbase was almost complete. About five minutes later with all the SClub7 punters dispersing we were ushered into the club. Good news – Eatons Hill Hotel ballroom is good. Carpeted, with ornate ceilings and a large stage. People started piling in. My friend L literally ran to claim the front and centre spot once more. I couldn’t stop smiling like a fool. Fancy being back here again? And most of the gang were there again, with a couple of extras.

The centre was set up from scratch before our eyes. Roadies and crew racing around frantically to get everything in order while DJ Rashida spun her funky 70s and 80s tunes. Then it was 2.20am and they were standing on stage, minus one. Immediately it had a very different feel to the weekend before. When he did come out in the second song it was all very casual and unobtrusive. He was moving about on the stage. Feeling the music. Just enjoying himself. Then all of a sudden he was on keys, and back behind his guitar. Again. Pure funk! The lead singer informed everyone that if we all kept our cameras and phones away that they would play til the sun came up for us! That became the chant of the night. Every time they exited stage, the crowd would be join in a chorus of screams, whistles, claps and “TIL THE SUN COMES UP, WHAT?” I was right at the front left this time for all of the two and a half hours of goodness. L was front and centre again. My brother behind him. There was plenty of covers (setlist can be found here) with Prince’s own distinct style mixed in. I know for the true fans amongst us, it was heaven. For me, I couldn’t get the stupid grin off my face. One of my good friends, S, has had her Stevie Wonder gig in number one position of all time for a very long time. S messaged me this week that Prince has toppled him off that place: “Never ever thought that would happen.”
The encores just kept on coming. I felt so much more awake and alert for this gig. Ready to take in and appreciate all that the incredible band was feeding to us. I honestly could have kept on dancing for hours more. I was so in the moment. But instead the final goodbye came around 5am. Before Prince exited the stage he connected with my friend L, they shared a moment. With all the incredible moments happening over the last couple of weeks, that would have to go down as the coolest. Prince noticed him, and handed him his bass guitar. Amazing. I think we were all in shock. So all L could do was grab it, and hold it as Prince walked away. About ten seconds after that Prince’s roadie grabbed the guitar and put it back on its stand. It has us all gasping – did you just see that?
In L’s words: “Guitar aside, unequivocally the best music night of my life. And as an event, unparalleled.”

One fan on Twitter said this week, you never leave a Prince gig before the security kicks you out. We dawdled. Arms around shoulders we walked out of there very happy indeed. What a concert. Who would have thought it would have been BETTER than last week. Two weeks ago I barely thought about Prince, about seeing him live. Now I would never let him leave my city without getting myself into the queue for his after show party. He is a true performer!

I haven’t been able to think about anything since. As I told a friend the day following the gig, “Not sure I can go back to ‘normal’ again. For what was seen cannot be unseen.”

I have been very spoilt.

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