Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Prince Live in Montreal at the Theatre Maisonneuve at Place des Arts, Monday March 21, 2016

My story starts on Wednesday evening, March 16th around dinner time. As I have returned home from work and have finished eating my dinner, I am casually browsing through Facebook on my phone as I always do. Then it happens! It has happened like this before and it is the most exhilarating feeling that can be imagined. My heart stops as I see a post that says the next stop on Prince’s Piano & Microphone Tour is Montreal!!! I can’t believe me eyes! I feel that rush of energy inside of me and I start freaking out.

I start shouting out to my husband that Prince is coming OMG!!! He doesn’t really care because he is not a fan but I have dragged him on all of my adventures so he knows that he is going to have to go and support me! I quickly begin scrambling for more information, are there tickets for sale yet? When do they go on sale? Where do I buy them? Too many questions and not very much information to be found. Apparently the way it happened was that Prince’s official twitter tweeted that there would be “PIANO AND A MICROPHONE TOUR NEWS COMING LATER 2DAY!!!” earlier on in the day and then tweeted later “PRINCE fans in MONTREAL.....U got next!!” Along with a tour poster saying that Prince would be playing his Piano & Microphone tour in Montreal at the Place des Arts Theatre Maisonneuve on Monday March 21. And then that was it for the rest on Wednesday night!!! I kept searching and refreshing and looking on the Place des Arts website, but nothing! Then in the evening around 9:30pm I refreshed the Facebook page of Place des Arts and there was finally official word. It was a new tour picture of Prince and it said:

Théâtre Maisonneuve
21 mars 2016
Tous les détails dès jeudi matin.
On vous souhaite une excellente nuit!”

And then I had no choice but to wait until the next morning for the rest of the information. I went to sleep (couldn’t stop tossing and turning and worrying about the concert) and hoped that I would be able to get tickets because I had seen that the venue was very small and had only a 1500 person capacity!!! There are many more people in Montreal than 1500!!!

Thursday morning I woke up to go to work and kept checking up on all the sources again but nothing new had been added. Finally a few hours later they had updated their post on the Facebook Place des Arts page to say the details that the tickets would go on sale on Friday at 12:00 noon and that there would not be one show but two!!! Well that was great news so now at least there were more chances and more spaces. A show at 7pm and another at 10pm. Right off I knew I would want to be greedy and go to both shows! I had vowed after I had seen him my first time that I would use every possible opportunity to see him, and I would try my best! But the ticket prices were very high. I asked my husband what he thought, if he really wanted to go or should I go alone? There was also the chance of a club after party which meant we would be staying out all night into the early hours of the morning. I did not work the next day but he did. He immediately said that I could not go alone and that he had to accompany me so that I would be safe! Intriguing! Well, it was settled! So now I could kind of relax for one more day. Again that night I tossed and turned and wished that I would be able to get tickets… but there was nothing left to do except wait!

Friday morning I woke and went to work again and waited patiently for noon to come! I had made a game plan with my helpful coworker that she would help me get tickets with her iPad and we would try at the same time and then it would help increase my chances. I knew that this could go either way, it could either sell out in minutes like it has in other locations in the world, or the high ticket prices would turn the Montreal people off and it wouldn’t sell out quickly at all… but who knew how it would go and I did not want to take any chances.

Noon began approaching and I started refreshing the ticketing website, wondering if they would start the sale at noon on the dot or a bit earlier like some sales I have seen before. The clock struck 12:00 and the sale opened and right away I nabbed some great seats and then proceeded to check out but it was very difficult on a small phone rather than a computer and also the site seemed to be slow because of the high volume of traffic. My coworker nabbed be some great seats for the other show and the both of us quickly raced to enter our information in before the timer ran out. It had given us a fair 10 minutes to do our transaction but with slow servers and lag there was lots of time wasted. Finally my coworker completed her transaction!!! So I would definitely be attending the 7:00pm show!!! But then I kept trying to complete mine and it was frustration because time was ticking and all I had to do was push the final button but I was pressing it countless times and there was no response from the server! There was about 2 minutes left before I would lose my amazing seats and I was panicking. I restarted entering my information and again it was down to clicking the final button. I had about 10 seconds remaining and I was quivering. Just as the clock counted down it went through and thanked me for my purchase! I got them!!! Really? I couldn’t believe it! I was shaking from the adrenaline rush and checked my emails for the confirmation. It was there! It still didn’t seem real to me! I was happy but still thought it was too good to be true! It took a little while for me to accept that it was true and that I would be going to both shows!!!

I made it through the weekend in a breeze, I was glad that Prince’s style is to announce these last minute concerts, I couldn’t imagine waiting months for this! On Sunday evening I found a post on Facebook stating that there would be an official Prince after party at a club called Muzique downtown! Well this is the icing on the cake and the tidbit of information I had been looking forward to! One of my best experiences was when after I had attended Prince’s Bell Centre show in 2011 I had heard the rumor that there would be an after party at a club called Newtown. I had gone just on the rumor and it ended up being a blast, seeing Prince up close and personal in a small atmosphere doing a jam session 20 feet away from me! We had partied all night until 4am! I needed to relive this experience, it was certain. And again I have to stay true to my vow of using every opportunity possible to see Prince! There were very few details about the after party but later on Facebook the venue had answered someone’s question on pricing saying the cover charge would be $25 if there was no performance and $50 with performance… hmmm interesting, no guarantees of course!

Well the game was set. Monday I worked very hard all day like a dog! I was super busy at work and really scrambling around. Towards the end of the day it quieted down and I finished up, got ready, my husband arrived to meet me at work and we began our drive into downtown Montreal. I wasn’t sure if there would be heavy rush hour traffic but it was a pretty simple drive after all. We arrived at the venue, parked the car and the proceeded to collect our first set of tickets and wristbands for the first show at 7pm. After we ascended to the Theatre Maisonneuve and I saw the small souvenir stand. I had originally wanted to buy the new Prince CD which came out a while ago but is not being sold in stores, only at shows. I was disappointed to see that they were not selling the CD and I ended up not buying anything even though I had wanted to buy the tour book or maybe a poster. But I have enough posters and the tour book was very expensive and I didn’t really want to carry around all this stuff all night so I did not get anything (which I think I really regret now… boooo). We waited to enter to our seating for a while and then they finally allowed everyone in and we descended to our seats down at the front! I got “first row” A tickets which were amazing but it was not the real first row. It was disappointing that there were three rows (AA BB CC) in the front that were not even available to the sale so that is why I received A tickets which was the first normal row. Can’t complain though. Not sure who the seats in the special rows were for, maybe contest winners or big company people. They didn’t look like any special people to me but it’s a shame that those first 3 rows were not available to the public to purchase. Still, we had amazing seats! A 14 & 16 which were slightly to the right side, which would give a great view of Prince’s hands playing his piano.

We entered and saw how close we were to the stage. Prince’s funky purple piano sat centre stage facing the left side. There were some faux candelabras on the sides and that was about it in terms of decor. Very, very simple and straightforward! It would just be him, his piano and microphone, just as advertised. It would be interesting to see him alone in a different setting. He has always really had some sort of surrounding band or entourage in the background. I wondered how the arrangement of a song would sound stripped down from all synthesizers and instruments and just played on a piano. We waited for a little while and the crowd grew with anticipation, they would begin cheering and clapping every so often in an attempt to lure Prince out from behind the curtain.

Finally the background lit up in a purple hue and the silhouette of Prince appeared in all afro goodness! The curtain lifted and he emerged to cheers and applause and began to wave and bow to the crowd. He did a little walk around and waved and said hello to the crowd. Then he went over to his piano bench and kneeled down and offered a pre show prayer in front of the crowd who were brimming with respect for him. After he finished his prayer, he took his place at the piano and began to talk using a voice altering effect making him sound like a robot or something. Then he went right into “Big City” and “Girl” and quickly impressed with the ability to make a cohesive song with different tones and sounds all using a piano on his own. I was pleased to be sitting on the side where I could see his hands playing the piano and seeing the way in which he effortlessly creates music and a beat with his own two hands! Rather that only piano ballads on the piano like most people play, he could make a whole beat of a song! Very nice to see that point of view, but at the same time his back was to us most of a time and I like to see his face too, but I knew that the next show we would be on the other side so I could not complain!

He proceeded to play some slower ballads like “Look at Me, Look at U” and “A Case of You”. Then fired it up with a special arrangement of “U Got The Look”. Then “The Question of U” “Elephants & Flowers” “I Feel For U”.

Then the crowd stood up to dance to “Controversy” Shouting out the word when it would come out in the song! I liked to sing along a bit when it was required! (When he would ask us to sing, otherwise I didn’t want to alienate anyone!). Then it went into “I Would Die 4 U” & “Baby I’m A Star”.

He asked us to please sit down and did a mash up of “Little Red Corvette / Dirty Mind” Then another mashup “The Ballad of Dorothy Parker / 4”. “Take Me With U”.

I was so shocked and impressed to hear him sing “I Love U In Me” a very dirty, sexually implicit song that I did not think he would every sing again, being that he is not very vulgar anymore but I guess the rule is no swearing or bad words but suggestive content is perfectly fine? I am not complaining! I thought it was such a treat to hear this song sung live, so sexy and enticing!!!

Then there was the famous “Raspberry Beret” then “Starfish & Coffee” and “Paisley Park”. After a round of applause he got up and exited the stage. But we knew it was not over!!! We cheered and clapped and screamed for him to come back and then he did! He sat back down at the piano and began “How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore” a mash up of “Waiting in Vain / If I Was Ur Girlfriend”, “1000 X’s & O’s”, “Somewhere Here On Earth”, “Diamonds & Pearls”.

Then he played on of my favorites “The Beautiful Ones” and I was so happy because it is only of my favorite scenes in Purple Rain when he is singing this song to Apollonia in the club with such emotion and I always wanted to see this myself live, obviously this isn’t a movie so he didn’t sing it exactly the same but it was still a wish come true to hear him belting and wailing it out in his famous way. I was pretending that he was directing the song towards me, haha. Then he struck up “Purple Rain” and the crowd was very pleased.

Again, he left and disappeared until the crowds’ cheers brought him back for the last time. He played one of my favorites, “Kiss” and everyone was singing along and having a great time. Then “New Position”, “Purple Music” and “Free Urself” and then with that he thanked us a bid us good night and was gone!!! What a blast!!! We all filed out of the theatre and as we were walking out, what do I see??? They are handing out the CD albums that I wanted to buy to everyone who attended the show!!! I was so happy! I got one, my husband got one, I was pleased. We then proceeded to go back to where we began and waited in line to pick up our second show tickets and bracelets. After a small wait we went back up to the theatre and started our evening all over again! After a wait they let us into the theatre again and we found our seats which were still in the A row but this time on the opposite side. Seats A 9 & 11 more the left side of the stage although I think my seat was almost dead centre stage! I liked this view too because I could see his front on and see his face! I also liked the other view too, seeing his hands, and it was great that I got se experience both views because they were both equally important together.

The vibe from the second group of people was different than the first set of people. The first set, although they loved standing for Prince and shouting and cheering and dancing, this crowd seemed like they were more knowledgeable of the lyrics and singing along and were not as eager to be standing up all the time, most of the show we remained seated, which was ok because I am too short to see properly when everyone stands up at their seats! And funny, the second crowd didn’t cheer for Prince to come out, they just waited patiently for him to come, like I said, different people, different vibe.

Prince’s silhouette appeared again at the start of the show, this time in a yellow hue. He came out and everyone applauded ad cheered and then I geared myself for show #2 at 10pm. He began the same robotic voice into and went into “Joy In Repetition” and “Girl”, then the version of “U Got The Look”. I was happy to see him again but of course some of the songs he would sing would be repeats of the ones he sang at the previous show. But I was still very glad to be there!

Then I got so excited, he sang “Do me, baby” and again I was shocked that he would sing such a suggestive song! It was so amazing to hear and see! Then I was happy to hear “I Wanna Be Your Lover”. This was great! Different show, different setlist!

Then some of the same, “Elephants & Flowers”, “I Feel For U”. I joined in again to help sing “Controversy” Second time around it still as much fun!!! Then “I would Die 4 U”, “Baby I’m a Star” “The Ballad of Dorothy Parker / 4”. And then everyone had a riot singing “Cream”! Even my husband seemed to be enjoying that song. After that Prince exited stage and we cheered and applauded, encouraging him to return!

He came back out and sang a very emotional sounding “Eye Love U But I Don’t Trust U Anymore”. Then “Take Me With U”, “Raspberry Beret”, “Starfish & Coffee”, “How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore” (Where he had us, his “choir” as he called us, chanting out the hook of the song while he sang), “Waiting in Vain / If I Was Your Girlfriend”. A lot of the same stuff but like I said, just as good the second time around!

Then a very cool rendition of “Black Sweat” which was fun because the normal version of that song is an R&B synthesizer jam but to hear it broken down into a piano jam is very amazing and interesting. Then my jam, “Kiss” was great even 2 times. He left again after that but we knew it couldn’t over! The lights hadn’t turned on. Who knows how long this show can go on, no time restrictions supposedly, but who knows the venue’s policies.

He came back and sang us “Nothing Compares 2 U” and that was great! But then I think he left again or maybe he didn’t but when he started up again he did something I didn’t know he was going to do! His special piano was loaded with audio clips and sound effects and he proceeded to play the beat of “When Doves Cry” and sang that, what a treat!!!! I loved it!!! Then “Hot Thing”, “Sign ‘O The Times”… this was great! Highly unexpected! Then there was the famous “Purple Rain” and everyone was so happy. When It ended, that was it!!! I guess the place has some time restrictions! Oh well, I would be headed out to the after party anyway!

After we began clearing out of the theatre I was shocked that they announced the information about the afterparty over the loud speaker…. well then it must be happening! We exited the theatre and then I began getting directions on my phone on how to get to Club Muzique where the after party would be taking place. I decided that we would walk there because I had my car paid and parked at Place des Arts and wasn’t sure what parking would be like if I moved the car. We exited the building onto the street around 12:15am and my GPS said that it should be about an 18 minute walk away. We began our walk to the club. The streets were pretty empty, with it being a Monday evening… who goes clubbing on a Monday night!!?? We walked and walked until we found the spot and got into line.The line up wasn’t very big and we were in line and it was moving inside slowly but more people were arriving behind us and the line was growing. Funny thing about the after party is that it was announced to begin at 10pm until 3am but seeing as how Prince was playing the second show at 10pm I doubt that anything would be missed out by showing up around 12:30. I know Prince wouldn’t show up right away and I didn’t even know if he would show up at all but anyways… who knows! That’s the magic of the mystery! We got in and right away they wanted us to check in our coats and cell phones!!! Very interesting strategy. I respect the rules, no problem! After checking the coats we went up to get in. The cover charge was $25 a person and then I knew from seeing what they had previously said that if it was cheaper there would be no performance :(
Oh well… who knows what will happen? Never know if you don’t go!

We paid and got in and then waited around for a long while. The club started really getting tightly packed and I spent the entire time wondering where the best place to stand would be… who knows. I tried inching my way to the front of the crowd but I didn’t try going all the way to the front because I am not pushy enough for this stuff! I spent my time at the front of the DJ booth rocking out to the old skool jams that Prince’s DJ Pam the Funkstress (The tour DJ) was spinning. I gripped onto the railing of the DJ booth for dear life, trying to secure my spot and meanwhile my feet are killing because I am in my high heel wedge boots and my feet are dying. We waited and waited and waited and wondered and I didn’t even know if anything would even happen but I needed to see for myself. Around 2:45am I guess (someone who had a watch said it to their friend and I overheard) the bouncers all started pushing on us and telling us to stop holding on to the DJ booth and leaning on it and they are saying “Move back, move back!” and I am saying hmmmm….. because I am like…. what is going on??? Well believe it or not, they were beginning to clear a path for Prince to walk though as he enters the club….. WHAT? he was going to walk through the club??!!!?!?!!? I was at the forefront of the path that he would be crossing…… PRINCE WAS GOING TO WALK RIGHT PAST ME??? INCHES AWAY FROM ME??? I began having heart palpitations!!! You better believe it!!! Omg this was crazy stuff happening here! I contemplated trying to touch his arm but they were quick to dismiss the idea as the bouncers announced please no touching Prince. Ok, I would respect his wishes :(

We waiting about 15 minutes in desperation, my heart beating out of my chest. Waiting for the moment that he would pass in front of me. At 3am he emerged and quickly with many bodyguards surrounding, HE WALKED RIGHT PAST ME!!! ME???!!! I had definitely somehow inherited the right spot in the club that night for that particular moment….. Prince was an actual human being walking in front of me… not just the superhuman on a pedestal that we’ve always seen!!! This was a dream come true! Patience is a virtue! He whizzed by and went up to the DJ booth to begin saying hello to us and speaking a bit. I was a little upset because a humongous bouncer insisted on standing in front of me, completely blocking my view, it was like standing behind a wall of man! I saw bits and pieces of Prince. He spoke briefly and then said now that he has just arrived he needs to go get something and he will return in 15 minutes…. What!!??? The crowed booed and he said “What? You don’t want me to go? You don’t think I will come back? I promise I will come back in 15 minutes and you will be very happy when I come back, I have a surprise” it’s not a direct quote but it is something along those lines that he said. So we all sighed and he proceeded to walk right past me again as he walked out the path he came in on. As he passed me I squealed “I love you!!!!!!!!” sad to see him go.

We waited again and of course everyone started shifting their position trying to get closer to the “stage” area (It was some sort of blocked off VIP Section with some sort of small block stage I guess, couldn’t really see too well). We knew he was going to walk through the crowd again the same way he did before and we were getting excited. Like I said, everyone had shifted around a lot trying to get to the front and I kind of lost my place that I had before. I was trying to wedge myself in between a super tall guy and this other girl and she was getting mad at me but I didn’t care. They wheeled in a trunk that obviously contained Prince’s keyboard inside! And then they set it up. Prince came back in 15 minutes as he said and passed through us again! He went right to the stage area and then everyone really started cramming to the front of the area, everyone was pushing and shoving trying to get closer somehow. I could hardly see anything! I didn’t even know where Prince was or which area to look. As he spoke I scanned the area, confused as to where I was supposed to be looking. I thought he was far away in the back of the room. Then after a while I realized he was on the block stage about 10 feet in front of me!!!!!!!!!!! Wow this was something special. He started up the synthesizer music to his song “D.M.S.R” and began to perform!!! What a treat! People were really cramming each other I was packed in tightly between everyone, I could barely move an inch. Also it was super hot and everyone was sweaty… ew… It was a bit claustrophobic because I am so short so I could barely see above all the other heads. I kept trying to peek through gaps between heads. I saw glimpses of him here and there but anyways I still had a great time, he also played “Sign ‘O The Times”, “Alphabet Street”, “Hot Thing” and “Housequake”, “A Love Bizarre” and some samples of “Darling Nikki”, “The X’s Face”, “The Most Beautiful Girl In The World” and “Nasty Girl” (Where he asked the audience if there are any nasty girls in the club who wanna dance and I jumped up and down pointing at myself repeatedly, but I guess it was only a rhetorical question aww!!!). We were packed in like sardines but we had a blast! He must have played only about half an hour tops but it was amazing and worth it! Who would have thought… a Prince performance for $25!!!??? After that he said he really didn’t want to leave but he had a plane to catch and that he had to go home. He packed up his stuff and with that he passed through us one last time and that was it!!! We had been graced by royalty for a small time. What a night!

These are not my pictures but I found them online.

Picture of the tour poster

Prince Live at the Piano

Prince at Muzique club afterparty!

No comments:

Post a Comment