"Purple Rain" just came on TV1 again for the umpteenth time this past weekend. Prince's birthday was a few weeks ago so why are they still showing the movie repeatedly like they're stuck in some Prince honorarium loop? Anyway, the fact that most of it takes place in the club First Avenue had me thinking about my first, and so far only, trip to Minneapolis.
One of my frat brothers and I had often toyed with the idea of visiting Minneapolis. Neither Yasan nor I had been there before and another friend of mine, who was living there at the time, had been extending a repeated invite. I finally decided to take him up on it. One random weekend, Yasan and I drove there from Ames to spend a couple of days.
I honestly can't remember what we did during the day. I know it didn't involve visiting the Mall of America though. We had the impeccable timing to choose the one weekend to visit Minneapolis the weekend BEFORE it was set to open. We got a chance to drive by and look at it, but that was about it.
The highlight of the trip by far was our excursion to Glam Slam that night. First Avenue was the club where Prince got his start (which was right around the corner), but Glam Slam was the club that Prince actually owned. It was a known fact that he would frequent it and even occasionally give surprise unannounced performances. Could we be so lucky?
Bill (the friend with the invite) had a hook-up that was able to get us VIP access. That meant we would be able to be on the "members only" floor where it was rumored Prince hung out while at the club. I knew it was a longshot. I already had bad luck with the timing of missing the Mall of America so I'm sure I also chose the one weekend where Prince was probably out of town.
We were in that joint for a couple of hours with no sign of Prince. It was approaching their closing time of 1am so it was not looking good. Plenty of Prince music being played all night long, but no Prince. I had finally accepted the fact we were not going to get a sighting as I walked from the main floor to the stairs of the VIP area. That's when it happened.
A door to a side room opened directly in front of me. Three regular-sized guys (meaning not a whole lot bigger than me) dressed in black exited. In the middle of them was a tiny man in all white. It was him. And I do mean tiny. He happened to walk past me well within arm's reach. He couldn't have been any taller than my shoulder.
I began contemplating if I should approach him and ask for an autograph. Maybe explaining that I was visiting from Iowa and was a fan. Because I'm sure he never gets that. I decided against it. Instead, I just sat at the table next to him with only one bodyguard between me and him. Therefore, I guess you could say that was my momentary brush with fame.
Yasan and Bill never did let me forget how I was acting at that time. I did a fairly decent job of hiding the giddyness; however, I still probably looked a little starstruck. It was worth it though just to say that I was that close to the Purple One. Although admittedly, in hindsight, it does sound pretty idiotic now.