Purple Rain

during the final encore of the show, he indicated that he wanted to be taken backstage. my manager and i stood right next to him each step of the way as we escorted him from the VIP booth, down to the front entrance, and then all the way around to the game bar area. he was purposefully taking the long route and enjoying every instance of 'ooh's and 'ahh's coming his way.

i was just doing my best to not lose my shit. the purple glitter of his gold tinted stratocaster (which was no bigger than him) was so blinding that it literally blurred my view. i stumbled on my shoe lace and fell straight into him.

there is a saying at first avenue that if you ever look prince in the eyes, you will end up getting fired. well, i broke the cardinal rule. the purple one shot back such a stare, that all i could do was meekly regain composure while doing my best to avoid eye contact. (it must not have been easy walking on those six inch high heels).

i could have easily knocked him over on accident, but thankfully, it was just a quick collision.

when we finally got him side stage, he got plugged in and started playing around a few licks while warming up off stage. the band started to slowly realize who was standing a few feet away. the story gets a little blurry here, but from the sound of things, everyone on stage was pretty intoxicated and no one was able to find the proper courage to invite him up to play.

but he just patiently waited for the moment to come. he wanted the band's blessing first before taking their spotlight. it was his way of showing respect.

thinking back, it was a moment of modesty that was pretty revealing of his character in a strangely bittersweet way. i'm lucky to have witnessed it.

after a few moments of waiting, he finally decided to unplug his guitar and retreat back into his limo. and that was that. nobody besides a handful of people knew that he was even there. nobody got to hear him play.

even in spirit, he always had a vital presence in that club. i worked there for 5 years, so he was pretty much part of my life every day, even if it was only in spirit.