By Chris Mitchell.

Prince is really more of a myth than a pop star, an elusive name changer who, these days, has come to symbolise what music used to be. He is the kind of star yesteryear would produce. An incredibly gifted musician, seeking the limelight yet withholding just enough to remain an enigma. Unlike the manufactured bullshit we tend to see a lot these days, where ‘celebrity’ is now a job, not a title earned.

Whatever he is, the little purple bastard can still draw a fucking crowd.

This I discovered on a freezing Wednesday night in Melbourne as me and the population of the Latrobe Valley attempted to see whatever name he is going by now throw one of his legendary secret shows.

The night had begun like any other. Spending 7 hours deciding what to cook for dinner, then eventually settling on the same kind of pasta I had two nights ago. Showering as a form of procrastination. Watching The Block Masterchef My Kitchen Rules The 7:30 Report. Pining for Kerry O’Brien. You know, just the same as every other night.

Everyone was aware that tonight was the final night of Prince’s Australian tour. And by everyone I mean me. As such, much of my evening was spent on Twitter and other various Interweb sites, keeping abreast of any development that would alert me to the possibility of a last minute gig.

Rumours had begun to circulate, and by about 8pm DJ Rashida (of ‘Prince’ fame) tweeted that Prince and the NPG would be “will be celebrating after @HI-FI join us”.

Still unconvinced, it wasn’t until the HiFi updated their own website with news of an ‘after party’, followed by a really gross glass of wine, that I decided to make the dash to Swanston Street for the midnight start.

Renowned for his secret shows, Prince had put on a special $200 a head show at Bennett’s Lane just a few days previously. Tonight, tickets were $25. It felt too good to be true.

Having spent a good portion of my cab ride explaining to my driver who Prince was, reciting 2 verses of When Doves Cry, and giving him explicit instructions on how to get to Rod Laver Arena to pick up my friends and bring them back from the actual gig to the HiFi, I was finally there, and almost immediately regretted my decision.

Clearly, no one had paid attention to the HiFi’s orders not to line up before 11pm. Eager punters snaked their way back from the closed doors of the bar, all the way back to Collins Street. Then, when I got to Collins Street and turned, almost as many people were down that street. Fuck. But, with the reviews of the ‘once in a lifetime’ Bennett’s Lane show ringing in my ears, I settled in for what would be a long night of standing around.

For the first hour or so, the line did not move. At all. Except that it got bigger. And bigger. Security were working their way up and down, eyeing us off, probably laughing at us behind their stony exteriors. Someone overheard one of them say “700 are getting in. You guys are about 500.” They were behind us. Sweet. No way are we missing out.

I really regretted having those couple of drinks beforehand though. I tried singing Hinters and Collectors When The River Runs Dry coupled with mental pictures of a desert, but nature took over. That’s when I learnt that returning after running across the road into an alley for a bit of a pee is like the waiting in line version of the walk of shame.

It had been 90 minutes before we moved. And what a glorious move it was. Every single centimetre was celebrated like a Socceroo goal. Meaning, in that first move, we had about 30 Socceroo goals to celebrate.

30ish more minutes. A bigger move this time. At least a metre, maybe more. Another pee. I was the line ‘slut’, shame walking every 20 minutes or so. We set our sights on the turning point at the intersection of Collins and Swanston. When we can see the end of the line, we will have a better idea of what we are up against.

Over two hours now. Conversation had worn thin. The excitement that had dominated the air above the queue had turned to a worried hush. Two people ahead of us got into a verbal punch on. It was so exciting. Until they started laughing and we realised they had been pretend fighting out of pure boredom.

A little longer. If we don’t turn this metaphorical and physical corner soon, I am going home.

Nah, just a little bit longer.


Stuck at the corner. And by that I mean INSIDE the corner. Now, we couldn’t see in front of us, we couldn’t see behind us, we couldn’t even see beside us due to the completely unnecessary marble beams holding up the over extravagant shop front we were underneath.

I don’t even like Prince that much.

3 hours has passed.

I hate Prince. Why did you make me come?

Mitchy, this was your idea.

Get fucked.

Then, finally, we turn the corner. We are on Swanston Street! We can see the HiFi! We can now also see the 10,000 people that seem to have joined the line WHEREVER THE FUCK THEY WANT. CUTTERS. THIS IS BULLSHIT.

Then the realisation strikes. It isn’t even guaranteed that Prince will show up here tonight. Oh God. What are we doing?

If the line doesn’t move in the next 20 minutes, I’m going home.

19 minutes and 59 seconds later, we move slightly forward. Alright, let’s stay a little longer.

Somewhere in front of us an enormous cheer goes up. Maybe that’s Prince?! Maybe he is here now! Maybe they will start letting everyone in?! We can hear a bass guitar in the distance. We step out from the line for a second. The cheer was not for Prince. Like a mirage in the desert, there appears a six foot rabbit. Playing bass. A giant rabbit playing a bass guitar.

And it’s the fucking highlight of the night so far.

People dance. They clap. They generally lose their shit in front of this rabbit, probably as a result of 3 hours of anticipation being slowly released. Like a leaking water balloon. Heaps of anticipation. It’s like the Prince version of blue balls.

It‘s now verging on 3am. He hasn’t showed up. The line isn’t moving. People are getting agitated (probably due to Prince balls). Screw this, let’s go get onion rings. We walk along the line, past the wide open (but so very very closed) door of the HiFi, and much to our dismay there appears to be 3 lines now. One for us common scum. One for those who remotely resemble a celebrity and have the right to just walk in. And one for those special ladies with just the right combination of hotness and skank.

If you think I sound bitter, I’ve now been standing in line for 4 FUCKING HOURS. I’ve earned my bitterness.

Just near the entrance, in amongst the swarm of police, there does seem to be some action. By now we have no hope of getting back in the line, so we hover around for awhile. Rumours are circulating. The NPG are in the house. Some of them periodically come out the front to greet fans. That’s nice. Rashida is on the decks. Prince is on his way. So we assume. Every car that passes potentially carries his greatness towards us. A passing garbage truck receives a huge ovation. We discuss how incredibly awesome it would be if Prince arrived in a garbage truck.

We doubt that will happen.

Then, after more than 4 hours of waiting, there is activity. Umbrellas are produced. Several reasonably burly men make their way to the front of the venue. No one is allowed in or out. The waiting cops get very serious. And not so suddenly two shiny cars pull up. And it’s him. IT’S PRINCE.

No one gets out of the cars.

Then someone gets out of a car.

Not Prince, but someone. Carrying a pair of sunglasses. As camera flashes go off, we can see the outline of a very familiar head of hair in the second car. It’s Prince. He is here.

That’s when it really dawned on us. There was to cars. One car for Prince. AND ONE CAR FOR PRINCE’S SUNGLASSES. Does his awesomeness know no bounds?

Then, doors open, and Prince emerges. But somewhere along the line he has turned into a woman. A really hot woman.

Hang on. There is someone else in the car.

Then, Prince emerges. But somewhere along the line he has turned into an even hotter woman. He hands his handbag to a minder and then…

PSYCH OUT. It’s a fake! Prince isn’t a woman!

The other door open, and the man himself is here. A three foot nothing bundle of sex and funk. The legend himself. And he is here, two metres away from me.

And then, as quickly as he arrived, he is gone.

Enormous umbrellas sprout from everywhere, protecting His Purpleness from the army of smartphone users. They bolt for the door as the surging throng snaps photos and screams I love you’s.

For those of you wondering, he runs much like he dances. His feet hardly touch the ground. Each movement of his legs makes you feel something deep in your loins. You can almost hear him sing when he steps.

He disappears into the HiFi, and the shitfight to resume a place in the line begins. We ain’t getting in tonight. We have caught a glimpse. We go off in search of onion rings.

And that is as much of a review of Prince as I can give you.

Most of you will know that the after party itself was a bit of a bust. Prince spun a couple of tunes, almost took to the stage, and then didn’t. And everyone got sad and went home.

But when I go to write my memoirs in 40 years time, I will remember with fondness this story, the night I waited 300 minutes to see Prince run 10 metres. But more importantly, it was a night I ate onion rings.

HIGHLIGHT: Can’t split the bass playing bunny and the hero’s welcome for the garbage truck.

LOWLIGHT: It was really fucking cold.

OTHER: We saw Prince…run.

DRANK: 7-11 bottles of water.

URINATED: In a quiet alley.

WEARING: Standard jeans/shirt/jacket. Looked good too.



Yep, an 1800 word review of a gig we didn’t get into. Take that, Twilight author lady.