Friday, April 22, 2016

Prince! Live!


Originally published in the Mellifluous Breeze

Years ago I had the distinct pleasure of seeing the little man who sits alone in a paisley park, under the cherry moon while it rains purple… it’s the sign o’ times, it’s the sign o’ the times, it’s the sign o’ the times. It was during a queer little period of his career when he decided to hold camp at the Forum in Los Angeles for 21 days.

One day after I settled down into my chair at my local coffee shop and checked my email, I got a message from the Amel Larriuex fan club saying that she would be opening up for Prince that evening. At this point, just about everybody in the city had seen him, especially with tickets going for as low as $25. Now every time I tried to get those tickets they usually ran between $75 and $150. And with the mountain of expenses I procured at the time, I had conceded to the fact that $25 Prince tickets were just an “Urban Legend” and that I would just have to skip a possibly monumental, once in a lifetime opportunity; but for shits and giggles, I clicked on the link in her email to see… and there they were $25… total. No convenience fee, no handling fee… $25. That’s it. Holy. Shit.

Fast forward a couple of hours (after finding street parking to avoid the $20 parking at the Los Angeles Forum) and I was sitting an amazing SEVEN ROWS from PRINCE himself. I just couldn’t believe it! Everybody in my section, however, were “Los Angeles” cool;, they didn’t stand, they didn’t really sing along, they just kind of... sat there and just… looked. They wore pretty clothes and had pretty hair and pretty much treated the whole thing as if the Forum was a fancy museum and Prince was an elaborate kaleidoscope… they were slightly amused by the little lights and colors flickering in front of them; nevermind the little guy singing and dancing his ass off in between ripping through one of the best song catalogs ever created this century with random celebrities popping out of the audience like rabid gophers in a newly planted carrot field... they just… sat there. Not me. This has happened before at concerts here in Los Angeles, the performer is really giving energy and is really trying to make the show as interactive as possible… and the Los Angeleans are tightly bound to their role of distant, fashion forward critic/voyeur. They don’t really come out to have a “good time” or be a “part of an experience”, they really come out to impress their dates, impress their friends… make some sly and fierce comment about the performer and unfortunately, these are the fuckers who usually score the best seats.

This time around however, and I can’t help but think Prince himself had some hand in it, there were some actual “fans” and “music lovers” thrown into the mix of posers, “Star Fuckers” and the pseudo-bourgeoisie who thought Prince would be a “cute” background for their date that night. I was there… SEVEN FUCKING ROWS AWAY FROM HIM, in my blue jeans and “Whales Save Us” T-shirt, surrounded by these suits and skirts, proud to have paid up to $175 for their tickets, refusing to stand because it would scuff their shoes… and probably irritated as hell by me standing for the entire show, singing along to every single song, literally dancing so hard that sweat was pouring off of me like a faucet. Fuck it. It was a party! His name is Prince! And he is funky! And when he loudly questioned the audience, “Who in the house know ‘bout the quake!?” I screamed back with all of my might, from the bottom of my toes, to top of my ankles, from the pit of my stomach, to the little boy who saw him cup Apollonia's breasts, to the adolescent who saw him slither around in bikini briefs and a garter, to the teenager who used to sit for hours upon hours looking at the cover of “Around the World In A Day”, the young man who so desperately wanted long hair tied in a bow like he did in the video for “I Wish U Heaven”, to the college student who thought the line “If we cannot make babies, make we can make sometime” was the most single most gay-friendly lyric in the history of funk, to the man used to play “Adore” on repeat to his husband and “So Blue” to himself when he died, all the way from the gut, all the way from soul,

“Who in the house know ‘bout the quake?”

“WE DO!!!!!!” I tried to scream the rafters off the place, I imagined screaming so loud a sonic wave rippled across the stage and he felt it, looked my way, noticed it came from me, smiled then yelled, 

“Really? Really? If you know how party say yeah!”

“YEAH!”

“If you know how to party say ‘Oh Yeah!”

“OH YEAH!”

I was lost after that. I wasn’t in a sea of wannabe M.A.D. people (Model Actor Dancers), I was just a guy, a working stiff, who really enjoys his music, and I stood there and I danced and I sang and I had a really good time.

I should say Amel was awesome too. It took her awhile to warm up. Soon as she hit the stage it occurred to me that she is probably used to smaller, intimate venues… not the mammoth 18,000 seat Los Angeles Forum. Her first song I think she was just trying to get her bearing, performing in the wind tunnel that is the Forum, opening up for the legend that is Prince. But after that, she kicked up her heels and just let it flow and sang her ass off.

Sheila E showed up in the middle of the show, and she didn’t need to warm up, she rocked it from the first hit of the drum. She pounded so hard and so fiercely she got an extended standing ovation that brought tears to her eyes which inadvertently brought tears to mine.

At one point this short haired Amazonian like woman got on the stage and began dancing her ass off, towering over Prince. The crowd went into an uproar. I looked closer and realized that it was Halle Berry. Now, once upon a time, I actually met Ms. Berry when I used to work at the House of Blues Sunset Strip (a.k.a. Playground for the Modern Day Capitalistic Nazi, but that’s another story…) Now keep in mind, I’m a short lil’ guy. Like 5’7”… in heels. Halle Berry is about an inch shorter than me. It was amazing to see her tower over him, though I was very ashamed to feel a sense of… I don’t know… “pride” maybe… that Prince, more than likely, comes up to my nipples.


Near the end, when just about the entire stadium had given up trying to be “cool” and was actually up dancing and singing and in the midst of one of the most orgasmic parties ever given, he went into multi-orgasmic mode and opened the flood gates to his stage and laypeople and celebrities a like filled it to boogey into the night. Somebody more in the know could name off more “Names” but from what I could recognize, I saw Craig Robinson of “The Office” fame completely having a good time and dancing with every available woman on the stage including Prince’s back up dancers and a woman I assumed to be Chelsea Handler but I could be totally wrong on that one. I clearly spotted Susan Sarandon of all people up on the stage getting her boogey on which just tickled me so. I don’t know, any day you get to see either Thelma or Louise dance a two-step is a good day. Chante Moore popped up out of nowhere and began improvising some scat notes while Sheila E pounded on the drums and the entire stadium was covered in purple confetti.

All that to say that… seeing Prince live at the Forum was an extraordinary experience for me. It was inspirational, existential… sexual. To say that it was simply “good” would be an insult the words phenomenal or astonishing or life-changing. It was… supercalifunkilisticsexyalidocious. One of the main things it brought to mind was the fact that so much time elapses between my periods of getting funky. I haven’t partied like that in a bit of time. We’re not talking about getting liquored up, making out with some strange dude(s), sending weepy love texts to your ex’s, having heated arguments with your friends over which was better “Velvet Rope” or “Rhythm Nation”, tipping strippers to sit on your lap while you put in five dollar’s worth of Fifty Cent songs on the jukebox type of party. This was a sober, sweaty, vertical, physical, nostalgic, innocent, erection, screaming, crying, singing, praying, fucking, Shelia E drumming, Halle Berry dancing, Amel Larriuex singing, black, white, straight, gay, Controversy, 1999, Around the World in a Day, Diamonds, Pearls, Starfish, Coffee, Maple Syrup, Jam, Jam, Jam type of par-tay. And I enjoyed every single solitary bit of it!

I remember at one point, at one encore or another, he asked the crowd if we wanted more and everyone just screamed, “YES!” His reply, “Ok. But you know, I’ve been known to wear out many a person.” Which was the perfect response… because he did. By the time the concert was finished, hours later, I was sweaty, and tired, and sore and hoarse.. and wanted more. I settled for a steak and shrimp dinner at Norm’s with a friend of mine then went home and fell into a coma-like sleep… where I dreamt about.. what silence looks like. Yeah, I imagined what silence looks like. Yeah, I imagined what silence







BREEZE VINCINZ
Male Media Mind