It was Saturday night, I guess that makes it alright…
I had just gotten wind not even a week prior that the Almighty Purple God was adding yet another city to his most recent tour and that city just so happened to be good ol’ Greensboro, NC.
I was thrilled and immediately made a decision that no matter what else was on my agenda for that night, my schedule was about to be clear.
Several of my friends agreed that seeing His Highness perform live was indeed the opportunity of a lifetime, so a last-minute concert crew was formed.
We started the evening at a friend’s house, drinking “Raspberry Beret” shots and dancing to Erotic City. I was dressed in my hottest 80’s attire, complete with a tight mini-dress, white leather jacket, and dangerously high heels. Meow.
We got to the Coliseum and piled into one of the suites. I could barely contain myself as I looked with anticipation at the stage, which was skillfully shaped in the symbol that was once Prince’s name. A lot of fans never understood why he did that, but the marketing side of me always understood at how utterly brilliant that strategy actually was.
Think about it: When he changed his name to a symbol, he was suddenly referred to as “The Artist Formerly Known As Prince”, which eventually turned into, for simplicity sake, “The Artist”. Years later, after everyone was programmed subconsciously to relate the term “Artist” with “Prince”, he dropped the act and went back to being called Prince. Pure fucking genius.
Anyway, I had a few beers in the suite but was purposely pacing myself as to avoid a foggy mind that wouldn’t be able to capture the events of the evening in full capacity. I was about to see one of my favorite iconic musicians perform right in front of my very own eyes, and nothing was going to hinder my abilities to recall every miniscule detail.
The lights dimmed and we scrambled to our seats. My friend and I had gotten tickets amazingly close to the action, right on the rail! I could barely stay seated as I squealed like a giddy little school girl.
The opening act was the beautiful and talented Chaka Khan. She was wearing over-the-knee leather boots and a kickass rocker outfit. Her performance was stellar, and her voice boomed with clarity. I couldn’t help but screech along to “I’m Every Woman”, although I’m positive the guy sitting next to me wished I had decided not to.
The time had come for Mr. 23 Positions in a One Night Stand to grace the stage with his presence. Excitement was practically oozing out of my skin.
He started out with “D.M.S.R.”, then broke into “Pop Life” and continued on with a great set of old tracks. I was pleasantly surprised when he sang a much slower rendition of “Little Red Corvette”.
Finally, it happened.
A guy wearing a suit and donning a VIP badge came to the edge of my row and started flashing his flashlight on me. I looked at him as if to say, “Me?”, and pointed to my chest. He shook his head and reached out his hand. I made my way over to him and grabbed a hold of his outstretched hand.
“You wanna dance onstage with Prince?” he yelled over the screaming audience.
“Sure….I guess so,” I said through a smile.
He grinned at my sarcasm and led me through the crowd.
We somehow made it through the swarming mass of people and arrived at the stairs next to the stage. The security guy had to yell at a woman who simply refused to budge out of the way.
“Back it up….back it up…..BACK IT UP!” he screamed. She finally obliged but not before flashing me a very dirty look.
I climbed up the stairs and immediately felt the glare of thousands of people. It was a pulsating vibe I cannot even begin to explain. The only time I remotely felt this kind of magnetic energy was years ago when I was invited to dance with N Sync, which embarrassingly pales in comparison to sharing the stage with His Purple Majesty.
I joined the select few lucky ones who were already on the stage and started doing what I do best: dancing my ass off. As the crowd cheered, I felt invincible. I was sharing a spotlight with Prince for Christ’s sake! I put forth my best moves, and when I finally made eye contact with the legend, he smiled and winked. That’s right, Prince fucking winked at me. I could’ve stopped right there, threw my hands in the air and collapsed in ecstasy, but I kept on dancing. I looked up into the massive audience and felt their vibrating excitement pouring onto the stage. It was intoxicating. I took a deep breath and stepped back, only to realize there was no more stage.
I suddenly fell about eight feet down to the concrete, and during my fall it felt as if I was in the air for 20 minutes. My arms flailed, my feet kicked in the air, and the only thought that went through my head was, “Don’t lose your shoes!”
I landed on my ass, thank God, since that is by far the most padded area of my body. I was dazed for a moment and then a young gentleman who worked for the Coliseum came over to help me.
“Are you okay??” he asked as he bent down to assist me.
I was in pain for sure and didn’t know what the hell could be wrong with me, but I had one of two choices:
Whine about my ass and ribcage hurting like hell and be escorted back to my seat, or suck it up and get back onstage to finish my one-time opportunity to perform with Mr. Pop Life. I chose the latter.
I ran back up the stairs and joined the other lucky ones as if nothing had happened. After a few minutes of shaking my booty it was almost like getting a runner’s high…I had danced right through the pain.
They finally escorted us down from the stage and the same young suit that had pulled me out of the crowd grabbed my hand and led me to a very tall gentleman who had been standing right beside where Prince performed in front of the stage.
“This is the head of security for the tour,” he said, waiting for me to introduce myself since he had no clue what my name was.
“Oh, nice to meet you, I’m Julie.” I gulped hard as he shook my hand since the right side of my body was throbbing in pain. I smiled.
“You looked great up there girl!” he said through a flirty smile.
“Thank you, I had so much fun!” I responded. I realized he must’ve not seen my fall. Thank God.
“Are you interested in going backstage?”
I hesitated for a moment. Not because I didn’t want to go backstage, but because I was unsure how much longer I could hang. Most backstage parties I’ve attended before were not for the injured.
“Of course I am, although I have a pretty large group with me,” I responded.
“Okay, well we know where you’re sitting. Stay put after the show.”
He led me away from the stage and I dashed back to my seat. My friends were freaking out.
“What the hell?? Are you okay? You fell so far down to the ground…Oh my God!” They were all shouting in unison.
“I’m fine! I’m fine! I just danced onstage with PRINCE! I will be fine!” I kept reassuring them.
“Are you in pain?” one of my friends asked.
“Nah,” I said. Then I grabbed a beer and chugged the whole thing.
We enjoyed the rest of the show and when it was over, I didn’t stick around. I was starting to get drunk but I knew that once the buzz wore off I was gonna be in major pain.
We piled out of the coliseum and drove back to my friend’s house where we put on Prince tunes and relived the concert all over again. I ended up dancing till about 4am.
My assumption about the way I would feel the following morning was correct. Come to find out, I had broken two ribs, broken my tailbone, fractured my pelvis, and had pinched nerves in my arm. Not to mention I was covered in bruises from head to toe!
Everyone keeps asking me if it was all worth it. What a stupid question, of course it was worth it! I get to say that out of 20,000 people, I was one of about 20 people that got to go onstage with Prince…and out of those 20 I was the ONLY one to fall off the stage and live to talk about it. Of course, that’s how I roll. I refuse to do anything half-ass, even if it means busting my ass. ?
The bright side is I can say that attending the Prince concert actually turned me purple. Can anyone else say that?
So, take my advice: When you fall down in life, get the hell back up. You will have a much better time that way.