We'll get to a review of the show in a minute, but first, oblige us to cut to the chase and share/brag/go crazy/get nuts about something: We danced onstage with Prince last night! Near the end of The Artist's astounding, covers-packed set at Avalon (for his “surprise” post-Oscar bash), he had one of his backup singers walk down into the crowd and bring up about a dozen people to boogie, and somehow, we were lucky enough to be standing in the hardcore fan hub ushered up.
Three full songs later (“Hollywood Swingin,'” “Play That Funky Music” and “Glamorous Life”) we snapped out of the hypnotic purple haze and realized it wasn't just us and our Prince — an arm's length away — basking in funky beats up there (don't touch him … don't touch him … we had to keep restraining ourselves), but one of the wackiest assortments of peeps ever to take any stage: gals in evening gowns like us, a couple of baggy-trousered bruthas, a few hipsters in fedoras, a dude on crutches and a star-struck butch chick who seemed to be repeating the same mantra in her head that we were as she stared and dared to stand closest to his majesty during the jam.
When Prince asked those of us onstage to “karaoke” with him on the Sheila E. hit, that chick was the only one with the balls to approach the mic, but he decided the ode to excess wasn't her kinda number. “You can't do it,” he joked. “You're wearing a wife-beater!” He sang it himself, and we all provided backup. It was the frenetic climax to an almost two-hour set (minus the encore that followed) and P gave us all high fives (yes, we did get to touch him) as he left the stage. We followed behind him back to the crowd dazed, drained and, yes, delirious. It was over just before 4 a.m.
With a few exceptions, the spontaneous and interactive stage party pretty much summed up the night. Though he kept everyone waiting outside until after midnight (many who heard about the event via fan websites got there as early as 3 p.m.) and another hour and a half inside, Prince was no diva performance-wise. Taking the stage just before 2 a.m. with the opening bars of “Purple Rain” as a tease, he was all smiles and happy chatter, keeping the self-indulgent jazzy noodle-offs to a minimum and offering up familiar hits in fairly straightforward, funked-out fashion, not to mention mesmerizing mashups galore: The Beatles' “Come Together,” The Time's “The Bird Into Jungle Love,” India.Arie's “Brown Skin,” “Crimson & Clover” into “Wild Thing,” his own “7” and “Cream” (a rare visiting of his more sexed-up material). Perhaps most surprisingly, he was heavy on the rockin,' chugging out covers of The Cars' “Let's Go,” two (!) Rolling Stones tunes — “Miss You” and “Honky Tonk Women” — and a curious but exuberant version of Jimmy Eat World's “The Middle.” For the encore we got “Controversy” and “I Feel for You. ”
Unlike Prince's exclusive house parties or his strictly VIP secret small club gigs at the Roosevelt or Green Door , fans were allowed into this one (according to certain websites, the first 500 willing to pay $100 a pop got in). Non-famous might have been relegated to the floor while A-listers (Taraji P. Henson, Alicia Keyes, Penelope Cruz) watched from bottle-service tables and the club's upper level, but the floor was not only fun and friendly as hell, it was shockingly roomy. We'd even call it empty near the back … several hundred more bodies definitely could have fit. Maybe Prince's insistence on keeping the party mum 'til day of backfired a bit. (Though some media have reported he didn't “know he was having a party” until people started RSVP-ing and only decided to throw one after the fact, we actually heard rumors of his playing Bardot upstairs early last week). He was probably leaving room for all the celebs, but with so many shindigs to choose from (Vanity Fair, Elton John's soiree, Madonna and Demi Moore's mansion mixer) and the elusive musician's unpredictable nature, guess many of 'em decided to pass. They missed hands down one of the most remarkable nights of music ever.
Our only complaint? The gestapo-like enforcement of no cameras or picture taking in the venue. We managed to sneak our tiny (purple) Coolpix in and hoped to snap just a couple shots for this blog, but when fellas attempting to grab images on their iPhones were reprimanded and even escorted out left and right around us, we decided to stop after these two blurry (if beautifully hued) shots taken quickly before the camera cops started coming down like hawks. The image of our royal encounter, however, will always be in our head. We hear Prince allowed the show to be filmed for this new website www.Lotusflow3r.com (so far, no footage is up yet) so look for us (red hair, long black dress) funking til dawn onstage with him when it does.