We knew it would be a special day because Ghost Prince gifted us with this perfect circle Halo Rainbow over Paisley Park.
There were no other clouds and it was not raining! Also Rainbow Children was playing as we walked inside! Thank you Fairy God Boyfriend!
Lovely reflections by Damaris :
“Weird is a word to define things we don’t understand.”
“If you tell me that I am weird that means I am not like you. Say thank you.” 💜🕊️
Concert was Tokyo 1990, one that is “in rotation” as it were but a TIME on a 30-40 feet tall screen. Precariously positioned body suit that defied the laws of physics and all. It thankfully stopped before the Question of You performance…😩
NPG & 3rdeyegirl Panel
(Shelby J, Donna Grantis, Adrian Crutchfield, Kip Blackshire)
Shelby sang background for Anthony Hamilton. While on break, she auditioned to sing with Larry Graham in Minneapolis. Didn’t realize it was at Paisley until she arrived. Gig was at 3121 in Vegas… she didn’t realize it was P’s club. Practicing at the club singing “Higher Ground”. A voice told her to keep singing the song again and again. Larry leaned over and told her “I think this is your audition.” P came “floating” down the aisle toward her dressed to the nines and she was in a baby phat jumpsuit! He asked her “Where have you been?!” She said “I’ve been working!” 😂 Went home to North Carolina after the gig.
Got a call 3 days later to come back to Vegas…And to learn 11 songs. “What day? Like Friday?” “No tomorrow morning.”
First show with him NYE 2006. After the show he came to see her and asked her to be in his band. She of course accepted. As he was walking away he added “We start rehearsing for the Superbowl next week.”
Donna got an email from Josh Welton inviting her to jam with P. She googled him to make sure he was legit. He was, had a call with him and Hannah and was given 6-7 songs to learn. Got a one way ticket to Minni…Arrived and went straight to work jamming with Hannah, Ida and P. Stayed for a week… the Bambi and Screwdriver videos were filmed a week after they first started jamming.
They also did not know what 3rdeyegirl was for the longest…Is it P? Is it some abstract concept? Is it art? They didn’t know it was the name of their band until they were introduced that way on Jimmy Fallon, their first public performance.
Kip was friends with Morris Hayes. Invited to hang at Paisley while P and Carlos Santana were jamming in 1999. Didn’t want to be in the way. Half heartdely shooting hoops. He hears a guitar clang and before he knows it P is standing in front of him with his hands out. He feels bad like “oops”…But P takes the basketball and hard checks him in the stomach with it. Really ready to play! 😂 Kip declined saying he wasn’t dressed for a game…And P invited him back the next day to play for real.
Next day Kip was singing in the bathroom absently. P heard and complimented him…And invited him to jam with P and Larry. He did…And P then invited him to sing on Uninvited from Rave. The rest is history.
Damaris modeled for 12 years previously. Got tweets saying someone’s artist wanted to work with her. Ignored the tweets…Then got a text…Then a call…It was P’s manager. Met backstage at a Welcome 2 America aftershow. She’d danced hard and P invited her to join his tour. She declined. He asked again a few weeks later and she accepted and joined him for the Welcome 2 Australia tour.
Adrian was in competition to staff his horn section with Phil Lassiter (sound vs movement). P joined both factions to form the NPG Hornz.
Other thoughts :
“Prince saw me before I saw myself.” - Damaris 💜🕊️
Robert “Cubby” Colby (81-89 Live sound engineer) David Z (Bobby’s bro…Sound engineer for P from the very beginning through the 80’s)
Cubby - P enjoyed teaching. One time Fink was having a bad time. P went slow teaching him…And did this, playing the part from the back of the piano (essentially playing the part perfectly upside down on the keys.)
David Z - In the early days he’d record himself humming on a recorder and then recreate the sound in the studio with instruments since he couldn’t read music.
On Little Red Corvette “I just did that to get on the radio”.
Early mistakes punched through to correct. Later he’d just say “I meant to do that.”
Paisley Park originally was to be a whole neighborhood. A kind of “live/work/play” model.
He was a dirty b ball player. Stepping on toes and things, but he was the fastest.
Cubby only took breaks when P did and didn’t take lunch with the rest of the staff to be on hand for P’s noodling. Every day, Cubby would bring a Pay Day candy bar to eat and would leave it in his console. A few days in the row, it went missing. He saw P eating it one day and says to him “Hey man that’s my Payday.” And P goes “Payday ain’t till Friday.”
On P making mistakes
In a soundcheck and P was singing The Ladder. P’s voice cracked and Cubby laughed….Then tried to smother it. P stopped the whole band and said “I don’t know if you’re going to fart or throw up. Rehearsal is over.”
I don’t know how to convey how INCREDIBLE this was. They started with Sexy MF, went into Love 2 the 9’s, dipped back to Uptown with Andre Cymone…back to Cream with Marva King, a third of SOTT, back to Money Don’t Matter Tonight, Call the Law (whatever y'all it’s a jam!), ARROGANCE FROM THE SYMBOL ALBUM, BILLY JACK BITCH, HOUSEQUAKE!!!! YALL I DANCED SO HARD I DIDN'T CARE THAT I HAD RUNNING MAKEUP PROBABLY GO SEE THEM IF THEY TOUR!!!!!
Also to close it all, they piped in P singing over the live band playing. 2011 Madison Square Garden P led us through Kiss. We were ready to see him take the stage like “siiikkkkeeee” his voice was so present…
They then showed him doing the breakdown dance part on the screen…yaaaaaassss boyfriend!
Next they had him singing Purple Rain to us…And displayed him from that same show in a stylized way. Not a dry eye. It was beautiful.
There was a weird moment at the end where they tried to make it happy again with an instrumental, but it didn’t quite translate. Everyone was dazed and in their feelings with seeing him and hearing him in a way that made it feel like he was there….It was special and we didn’t want to lose that feeling….
Overall though. AMAZING close to an AMAZING experience!
When we started the celebration on the first day Damaris gave us a theme to keep in mind as we moved through the experience : “Watch, Learn, Teach, Repeat.”
These past several days were a welcome reminder to what’s truly important when it comes to Prince’s Legacy. Of course the music is phenomenal nothing like it…And nothing will ever probably be anything like it in our lifetime. Prince was an entertainer again the greatest to ever have done it. But what resonated the most from the people who have been around him throughout his career is the love and respect they have for him as a human man.
I love how the celebration really gave a well-rounded view of this man from his professional side to really all the aspects of Prince. They did not shy away from how sexual he could be because that is real. They did not shy away from how he was a hard-driving boss because that is real. They did not shy away from his graciousness and his kindness because that was real. They truly covered end end this man who has had such a huge impact on each of us and all of us at the same time.
Repeatedly and from many people who were close to him, we were all told that we are now the stewards of his legacy and that it’s time for us to own his legacy and spread it to others who have not been privy to it. I feel like I have received my marching orders during this experience not necessarily to just spread the legacy of Prince and his work, but also how he lived his life through adopting and incorporating those elements into my own life as well.
Those lessons are graciousness, acceptance, perseverance, perception, grace, enlightenment, freedom, courage, and of course love. Everybody knows the “love 4 one another” tag but I feel like a lot of people say that a lot without really understanding what it means.
To spend 4 days in Prince’s home, really seeing that demonstrated by hundreds of fams has been an amazing and transformative and priceless experience, really. And it makes me really want to share that and grow that feeling so that others can feel it and share and grow it too. I love Prince’s music but the whole existence of his life is just so tremendous and yes it’s devastating that we’ve lost him in the form that we are used to experiencing, but I truly feel like he is still here with us and in an even more prevalent way and we can be with him and recognize him in that love that we have for others.
Was this event a cash grab? Absolutely! But I do not at all second guess the money I spent. And plan to attend again next year. And every year.
Next year, April 19-22. Save your coins now. I promise you won’t regret it.
*Pictures by Steve Parke