For some reason while putting my face on yesterday, I decided to wear purple lipstick. For some reason, once I got home, I didn’t instantly take my bra off, let alone disrobe and crawl into a onesie. I am getting to a point, bear with me. And, for some reason, Prince Rogers Nelson and his 3RDEYEGIRL band decided to bless Camden with his purple presence and play a free, (sort of) secret “open press” show, at a venue that I used to go to in the early to mid-2000s, exclusively to make out with boys that had green hair and wore Deftones hoodies. According to word trickling through the Twitter mill, the show would be taking place at Electric Ballroom, straight after a 10pm private press conference at Lianne La Havas’ flat (sure, why not).
This serendipitous sequence of events ensured that within precisely seventeen minutes of hearing this news, I was on a train and Camden bound to stand in the rain for possibly hours and possibly for absolutely no reason whatsoever. But I figured it was either that or stay in with a camomile tea and a Netflix binge. The worst that could happen was me being turned away after catching hypothermia and then dying mid-rendition of "When Doves Cry" in a taxi home. #WorthIt.
Reaching the venue at midnight, my extensive Twitter stalking, with claims that thousands of people were queuing, bodyslamming each other and offering their ovaries up to the The Gawd to get in, proved to be wildly exaggerated. Actually, pretty much everything was wildly exaggerated. Like, firstly, that we’d be kept in suspense until 3am - LOL, nope. Word began trickling down the queue that Prince and co. would take to the stage at a very reasonable, given the circumstances, 12:30am. Secondly, that it was a press only event – nope. While about fifty or so guest list were let in first, the queue and its die-hards began to move almost immediately after any press had crowbarred their way in. Then, BOOM, 12:40am and I was inside. Just me, a few hundred others and Prince channelling Jimi Hendrix’s ghost, as we took breaks only to stare at each other and mouth “IS THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENING RIGHT NOW?!”
Though, apparently, debuting a flurry of brand new tracks, a combination of awe, confusion and tears, coupled with it being over before I’d actually calmed down, turned the evening into a haze of purple, dry ice and thrusting. This was neatly aided by security's militant pouncing on anyone who dared pull their phone out for a sneaky photo or an “OH MY GOD, WHAT IS LIFE?!!1!” Tweet. Before we knew it we were back out in the rain in a kind of Men in Black mind-eraser blur. I do know this, though, the new material played was truly timeless. Riding a thank-fuck-I-left-the-house wave, he transformed the crowd into one big inclusive love-in, as if we were all patrons of the First Avenue Nightclub and "The Kid" had just massively pissed Morris Day off with some sassy stage humping antics. Between tracks, Prince indulged himself in lots of very obedient crowd call-and-return, with en masse whoops and swoons every time the Based Purp (that’s what I’m calling him now) stopped to ad-lib something sleazy like, “somebody’s getting pregnant tonight!” Stop that right now, Prince, you flirt. Call me, though!
Is this post just an excuse for me to gloat that I got to share the same violet-hued oxygen with the man himself? Yes, yes it is. But with MJ, Whitney and Aaliyah selfishly going and dying on me, Prince is now my only childhood hero that hasn't turned out to be an abhorrent scrote (hiya, Madonna). Luckily, it sounds like His Royal Badness and 3RDEYEGIRL have a string of stealth missions lined up across London venues over the next month, including another show tonight at Electric Ballroom that, yet again, nobody knows shit about…bar this subtle countdown page Tweeted by his management at some ungodly hour this morning.
What are you doing?! Start queuing already.
Follow Kirby on Twitter @STFUKirbs