I partied with Prince at his house

By Patrick Murphy

Growing up in the Twin Cities, I always heard people talk about Prince, but I didn’t really get it. Why was this fruity looking guy such a legend? In 2003, I saw the Chappelle’s Show skit where Prince takes Charlie Murphy to town on the hardwood, uttering things like “Computer Blue,” “Darling Nikki”, and “Why don’t you go purify yourself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka?” after each ankle-breaking crossover and authoritative flush. The skit was hilarious, but I had to ask myself, “What does this all mean?” I was certain that someone couldn’t actually be this bizarre in reality…. Or could they? I knew that there was only one way to find out. I had to become the biggest Prince fan in the world for no apparent reason. As I began to familiarize myself with Prince, I started to realize what all the hype was about. Living proof that big things come in small packages, the 5’2″ Minneapolis native, born Prince Rogers Nelson, is truly larger than life. Well known in the inner circles of the Minneapolis music scene as a teenager in the late 70s, Prince gained national recognition in the early 80s and cemented his position as one of the top musicians of his era with the 1984 cult classic theatrical masterpiece, Purple Rain. The film put Prince on the map and made First Avenue in Minneapolis the legendary music venue that it is today. Legendary for changing his name into an unpronounceable symbol, known only as “Love Symbol #2” in 1993 during a legal battle over artistic control with Warner Bros., Prince is both bizarre and badass. Often seen by ignorant individuals as something of a joke, Prince is a phenomenally talented musician and one of the biggest advocates for musicians’ rights there is. When I came to Macalester, my obsession with Prince only continued to grow. Sophomore year, I constructed my Prince shrine with a rainbow Prince mosaic that I purchased via eBay from a chap in England surrounded by pictures of Prince throughout his career (in chronological order) that I cut out of my big, furry, purple Book of Prince. I was pretty pleased with my Prince fandom at this point, but still, one thing was missing. I had never actually seen the legend perform. He doesn’t perform nearly as much as he did in his 80s heyday, so I wasn’t sure when I’d get the chance. One Saturday that fall, I awoke to a text from my sister that read, “Prince is having a surprise concert at his house. You have to go.” I had no idea where Prince lived, let alone if the concert was actually happening or how to get in, but I knew I had to try. I did as much sketchy Prince fan site research as I could. The only thing I could find was one post from “EyeAmThePurple1” that instructed the diehards to venture to a bus stop in the middle of nowhere in Chanhassen (30 miles West of Macalester) that afternoon. With a good friend from high school, I made the trek Westward much like Lewis and Clark had done 200 years before. But instead of the Pacific Ocean, we were in search of a flamboyant, purple man with a penchant for lace, fat bass lines and fine women. After getting badly lost on the way, we finally arrived at the bus stop, but it looked bleak. There were only 40 or 50 other fans at the stop. We waited for over two hours with no sign of Prince, but just as some of the fans decided to turn back, we saw three coach buses approaching in the distance. Purple coach buses. The buses took the crowd of 40 year-olds and me and my friend to the gates of a compound, which I later realized was Paisley Park–the home of Prince. A crowd of just under 400 people waited for another two hours in the cold rain before being let in. We weren’t allowed to bring any cameras inside because Prince believes that cameras will devour his third eye chakra. I made that up, but it’s probably true. Prince’s house (or at least what I saw of it) was what I imagine the International Space Station would look like if Liberace decorated it. Per tradition, Prince didn’t go on stage until 1 am. Not because he was busy, but because he’s Prince, and he was probably feeding a baby polar bear named Mortimer grapes before deciding to go on stage. The three-hour jam-tastic set that included George Clinton and Larry Graham was unlike anything I have ever seen. Prince’s unmatched stage presence coupled with his superior musicianship made for a concert that I’ll never forget. After years of being asked why I like Prince so much, it’s still difficult to convey his true appeal to the non-believers. But I don’t really care anymore because I partied with Prince. At his house.