Sunday, May 24, 2015

Prince at the Bell Centre May 23, 2015

Hey, long time no chat! I want to take this opportunity to recount last night's concert experience.

It all started Wednesday evening when I was sitting at the kitchen table after dinner, relaxing on the phone browsing Facebook. Now I knew that Prince had played a surprise show in Toronto just the day before so I had high hopes that he might come to Montreal again but you never know. As I'm scrolling on Facebook I see something that makes my heart stop!

It was this

So I read the article and my heart is pounding in my chest and I am hyperventilating and then find another similar article that makes it seem even more plausible.

I start chanting "OMG OMG OMG OMG" over and over again and run upstairs to my boyfriend, weak in the knees, and show him the headline of the article I had just seen. He reads it, looks at me, and then says "Ok so..?" He is not a fan but I usually drag him along for my adventures so he knows he is stuck going with me.

It is crazy because I have been praying to God to see Prince again live since the last times I saw his shows! It is my dream to see him perform as much as possible but unfortunately I am not able to travel anywhere far for lack of time away for work or money to spend. So I am only able to see him if he plays here.

So with my prayers answered all there was left to do was to wait until 12:00 noon the next day when they said the tickets would go on sale. I was so excited I could barely sleep. The next day, Thursday I went into work and counted the minutes until it would be noon. I was very anxious and scared because I would prefer to do a transaction like this using my computer and not just my iPhone, you never know if it will load properly on there. At a quarter to noon I checked the ticket website out of curiosity and it said that they were available to buy already! Wow! So I press the button and of course they are not ready to buy just yet. I was then placed into a virtual waiting room and it told me to wait my turn to buy the tickets when they would come on sale. I waited and waited, wondering if it would even work. Then at noon it said that it would shortly be my turn! At 12:02 the page refreshed into the buying page and it was finally my turn! The only problem was.... there was no seating chart to see! I am pretty certain that this was because I was doing the transaction on my phone, but this was ridiculous. I wanted the best seats possible but I had no idea what the stage or layout even looked like. It kept offering me random seats around the venue but numbers are kind of meaningless when you don't know where they are located. So I started freaking out because in my hesitance to pick a seat right away in hopes of finding a floor plan on google, it was already 12:20 and I hadn't bought anything yet! Well you never know with a Prince concert, I have heard of them selling out in 5 minutes so I didn't want to take a chance and have nothing! Sometimes I was refreshing seats and it was saying "Sold out" so I started panicking and my coworker told me... "Just take anything at this point or you are going to end up with nothing at all!!!" So I freaked out and agreed that she was right and on my next refresh of seats I got "Section - North - A - 1-2" and that seemed to sound like good seats and they were better sounding than any others I had been encountering so I said whatever and bought them! Having spent a lot of money on these tickets and having no clue where they were I was freaking out. I had really wanted the standing floor section but it had told me it was sold out already so too bad for me. The rest of the day I worried and worried and when I got home I finally checked on my computer and saw the layout and deducted that I probably had good floor seats in the front row (even though I wished I had standing floor seats, oh well).

In the next days I was was so excited I could barely sleep or eat or think of anything else. Friday night I prepared all of my clothing and belongings for Saturday because I would go to the concert straight from work.

Saturday I worked and worked and the day passed at an average pace. Everyone who I told that I was going to the concert was so jealous and excited for me but I knew a lot of people wanted to go but couldn't go because of prior engagements. The only bummer is that when I checked the ticket sales again before the show they had opened up more tickets (as they usually do I guess) and floor standing tickets were available again..... oh well I couldn't wait until last minute.

At the end of the day Saturday I changed into my concert outfit, did my hair and makeup and went to pick up my boyfriend from his work. We got some burgers on the go and then off we were at around 5:30 we left. We arrived around 6 to the parking lot and scarfed down our burgers. Then we went on to the metro which would take us to the venue. We arrived at the venue around 6:20 and were very confused as to where we were supposed to wait to get in. There were hardly any people around the area and my boyfriend even questioned if there was really a concert or did I get my days mixed up!!! Now way. They were doing a lot of construction on the site so the usual door we take was blocked off so we went outside and all around until we got to the outside front entrance and began to wait there until 7 when the doors would open. There was a van from the local radio station parked across the street blasting famous Prince songs one after another. I was so excited I couldn't wait!!!

At 7pm the doors opened and I rushed over to the gift shop to see what they had. I got a poster for $10 but that was all. All the T-shirts were going at $40 and that is too steep for me!

We went into the theater to find our seats and the first guard says they are on the floor which is great so I am happy for that. Then the next guard shows us where they are and unfortunately seats A-1-2 are the beginning of the row, not the center so rather than being in the middle of the stage they are on the far side!!! Uh oh! I was very upset and disappointed. But what can you do... at least we were first row. Now when we had taken our seats the guard had put gray bracelets around our wrists. We didn't think much of it. I was so upset that I wasn't in the "pit" which was what the standing section on the floor in front of the stage was called. It was not fair! Everyone kept entering the pit with their pit tickets and I was reduced to sitting in the far corner just feet away. There was a dividing fence that separated that section from ours and I was just so close yet so far with only a fence dividing us. The kicker for me is that we were so early to arrive that if I had those tickets we would have definitely been able to stand right in front :(

During the waiting period as we sit in our funny corner seats, I decide to make conversation with my boyfriend to pass the time along (seeing as how we aren't allowed on our phones). I keep complaining that it is not fair for us and can we ask the guard if we can change places... and then I justify it by explaining that maybe if I am close to Prince he will somehow make eye contact with me and we will fall in love??? Ok well my boyfriend wasn't buying that reason even though I told him that he could still live with me and Prince in our mansion........

Suddenly, I hear a guard explaining to someone near us why he is giving them their gray bracelet. He is saying that with this bracelet that is only given to people in row A and B you are allowed to stand up along the fence that is dividing the pit. My eyes opened up wide when I heard this! I asked the guard "Excuse me, you say that I am allowed to stand up against the fence?" He says "Yeah" and then I say "Even over there?" as I point to the middle and he says "Yeah" so now my troubles are somewhat solved!!! Instead of viewing from the far corner, now we were able to stand closer to the middle of the stage. Without hesitation we immediately got up from our corner seats and stood our ground at the almost middle of the stage (more to the left than middle but oh well) I was relieved and my disappointment disappeared.

Now the show was supposed to start at 8pm but who actually starts their show on time!? We waited and waited and waited and then finally maybe after 20-30 minutes.... the intro started!!!

The stage was veiled with a purple drop curtain but the musical intro to the concert began and was slightly back lit so you could see the outline of the one and only, legendary.... Prince!!! I turned and smiled brightly at my boyfriend and squeezed his hand.... "OMG!!!" and he rolled his eyes at me.

After the nice light/shadow show with the curtain down, finally the curtain came up and there he was! Prince in the flesh, maybe 20 feet away from us, he was so amazing in all his glory!!!!! Hahahaha...
I was very happy and there was nowhere else in the world that I would rather be at that moment. Prince opened the show with his girl group trio 3rd Eye Girl and they played a bunch of their new songs from their CD "Plectrumelectrum" starting with "WOW". These girls next to us began chatting and asking eachother "Is this a new song or an old song???" and none of them knew and I felt like telling them flat out but I held my tongue. Then there was "Funknroll" then "Guitar" and "Plectrumelectrum" itself. It was a very rock oriented set and very exciting to see live. Then they played a slowed down revamped version of "Let's Go Crazy" and then from the movie Purple Rain the love theme "Take Me With U".

Then there was the classic hit "Raspberry Beret" which got us all singing along, "U Got The Look" and then a blend of "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" and "Cool" had us all dancing and singing.

Then it got mellow when Prince went to the piano to deliver "The Breakdown" which is a new slow ballad that he sang so well that it was comparable to the album version... man he can sing when you can't even tell the difference from live or recording.

Then they left to take a break and everyone chanted until their return. Upon the return Prince said that he would try to make the first time Prince concert goers feel welcome by playing some of the big hits. On the sound machine mixer thing he began a simple "When Doves Cry" singing along to the beat and asking the crowd to help fill in the words. Then he played "Sign 'o' the Times" and then began "Hot Thing" where a bodyguard started selecting people from the pit to go up and dance on stage!!! I was so disappointed because I wanted to go up on stage! I am such a fan and it would be a dream to be so close to my idol. I might have had a chance if I had tickets in the pit. So I watched the whole bit with a heavy heart. A guy who had gotten on the stage got his phone taken away by the guard because he was trying to snap pics while up there and there was a strict no camera or phone policy that you had to abide by.

After a bit of that, they escorted all the people off the stage and back down to their places. Then began "Controversy" and then the famous "1999". With that Prince bid us all goodbye!!! Show was over??? No way! Prince has this thing where he likes to pretend that the show is over and make you all chant and go wild with anticipation, wondering if it is really over so soon or if more will come. I think it is also an ego boost to see if they will beg for more or not. And of course the other thing is that he wants to see the mood of the crowd, if they are feeling it or not. I have heard that if he has a crowd that is not really into it, he will just cut it short and go home but if the crowd is overly joyed and begging and screaming for more then he is known to keep giving them what they want and play for hours more until they aren't as active.

After a couple minutes of waiting, sure enough Prince re-emerges and goes onto the piano to begin singing ballads. He started a bit of "Diamonds and Pearls" but not very much of it and then went into "How Come You Don't Call Me Anymore". Just piano and voice, very nice. Then "The Beautiful ones"... and a bit of "Forever In My Life".

After that he abandoned the piano for a slowed down, sexy version of "Little Red Corvette" which was extended into a mellow rythym and Prince crooning "Slow down...." over and over. After that atmosphere dissipated, Prince belted out a nice version of "Nothing Compares 2 U" which was a song he originally wrote, but was made famous by singer Sinead O'Connor later on. It had those same girls from before that were next to me questioning "I don't think that's his song! No way that's not his song, he's just singing it now." I wanted to turn around and say, "Hey get your facts straight! He wrote this song actually!" But I didn't feel like getting involved.

Then things got funky when Prince broke into the very famous "Kiss" which had everyone shaking and grinding along to the funky beat. At the end of the song Prince bid us farewell yet again, but we were no fools! We knew he hadn't yet played his famous hit "Purple Rain" and he usually always plays that! We shouted and begged for a while until Prince came out and they played an unusual choice of song "There Sweeter He Is" a cover of a 1969 song... but that's ok. Because then he played the very famous hit that we were all waiting for... "Purple Rain" !!!

It was very magical to see and hear this performance. It has all of the same energy and emotion as it did in the famous scene in the movie. And funny enough even though he must have played it thousands of times now, he still sings it with similar feeling. It was amazing to see everyone just caught up in the moment, it is a very sad and beautiful song and everyone was just swaying along to the music and singing and waving their hands, just the same as in the movie. It's just a song that takes you back into that moment and it is a very special thing to be caught up in. Some part through the song... purple confetti just rains down upon us, unexpectedly, and it is like a dream! What a special moment that makes you just say "wow!" and be thankful to be in that time and moment. Such a wonderful memory. Everyone just looking up and seeing this beautiful "purple rain" coming down over you and it going everywhere and in your hair and clothes and then everyone looking at eachother in amazement, like "is this for real!!!???" but it was just so perfect. With that, Prince bowed out and left us telling us "Thank you" and that he loves us.

But after such a thrilling, energetic performance, could we really just call it quits and go home??? No way!!! We were greedy and wanted MORE! So we shouted and screamed and clapped and chanted and banged and sang for probably 10 minutes straight and even though it looked as though no one was coming back everyone still went at it. It was mind blowing, this reaction. I hope Prince knew how much we loved him!

Finally, they all came back and played "Mountains" what a treat, I never heard that live before. Brings me back to when he sings it in his movie "Under The Cherry Moon". Then they began "Play That Funky Music" a popular cover song and it really got the crowd going!!! Then the next song beat began, it was "The Dance Electric" and to everyone's shock, Prince surprised us all with a very peculiar request. He asked us all to take out our cell phones... was this a joke? It was kind of weird with the strict no cell phones and cameras rule, but hey if he wanted us to take them out then we will take them out! He wanted them out so we could shine our lights and light up the place, kind of like a modern version of when they used to wave the lighters around. Well with everyone taking their phones out I decided to seize the moment and take a video... they can't catch us all!!! Lots of people were doing it. So luckily I got a nice video for my memories but I didn't want to push my luck. I pretty much assumed that the cells would only be tolerated for the one song so as "Housequake" began I put my phone away because I would rather have 1 video that to push my luck and have my phone confiscated. The girl next to me tried to take a picture but quickly a security guard came over so fast to tell her no photos allowed. I knew it! LOL.

Then they went into "I Would Die 4 U" and that was just wonderful too, took us back to the Purple Rain movie where he performs it at the end. But of course when he decided to say goodbye this time, we somehow knew it would be goodbye for good. He put on an incredible 2 and a half hour show, a real top effort. And even though we wanted more it was 11:00pm and Prince and the band were probably tired. When the lights came on we knew it was really over and it was ok because all the great songs were covered and you kind of feel satisfied with the result. Some people were staying around in hopes that there would be more but most of the Bell Centre began slowly clearing out.

I began my task of gathering as much confetti off the floor as I possibly could without people thinking I'm crazy. I got a good handful at least for my collection. I might put it in a jar or frame it, who knows yet. It was tricky to get a lot because most of it got dirty on the floor, getting stepped on and poured drinks on but I got a good amount, I think. I still have the confetti I got from the last show and it is framed on the wall with my tickets. Unfortunately I don't have real tickets for this show as they were e-tickets, oh well.

All in all, it was an amazing night of my life and quite the experience. It was my 3rd time seeing Prince and I would see him every day if I could. There was no place that I would rather be than right there with Prince and his band up close and in the flesh. I loved every moment of it and will always see him every chance I get. Even though we didn't get to make eye contact or fall in love, I am forever a die hard fan!!!

Now Prince... when are you coming back next!!!??? Don't make me wait another 4 years... ugh!

Picture Gallery!!!

Initially finding the listing on the venue website!

Finding the listing on the ticket vendor website!

Seeing the local radio station announce it on Facebook!

Seeing the event on the front page of the website the morning of the event
Having my morning coffee the day of the show from my Prince mug! 
Ready to leave! 

Picked up my boyfriend and going on the road!

Arrived at the parking lot!

We spotted a groundhog at the parking lot... how cool! 
My Outfit, with sweater and without 
Home and tired!
 One last shot before I go to bed!

Oh! And last but not least, a shot I grabbed of Prince from the video I took from the show!