A Princely Evening

Saturday morning, Lee and I hit the tourist sites again, opting for museums because it was raining. We visited the Holocaust Memorial – very moving, yet very depressing as I suppose it should be. Then we lifted our spirits a bit by touring the Museum of Natural History. Very cool exhibits.
Then, we headed to the MCI Center to see a Prince concert. I bought the tickets as an anniversary gift to Lee 2 months ago. When I bought them, I was willing to pay for decent seats, but they were all gone so I had to settle for the cheap ones. I’d been jokingly calling them “nosebleed” seats, but was really sure they’d be fine.
When we got to the venue, we found our section on the upper level. Our row was “P”. The last row was “Q.” As we began climbing, I turned around and looked at the arena floor, and felt dizzy, hoping surely when we got to our seats I would feel fine.
We sat down, and I took a breath and looked down. Vertigo. I gripped the armrest and tried not to think about the height. The seats are built very steeply, so the person in front of you is a good distance below you. Sure, you can see the action on the floor, but I could also see myself tumbling down the rows to my death if I even sneezed lightly. I seriously wanted a rock-climbing harness and some safety lines. Looking down made me nauseous, looking foward freaked me out too because we were eye-level with the catwalk used to adjust the lighting rigs. It reminded me how high up we really were.
I wondered if I would be able to enjoy the show, I was so worked up about the height. Nearly as disturbing were the women seated behind us. All they could talk about for the 45 minutes before the show was child birth. I learned some things about them. Private things. Things I didn’t want to know. Things that made me think falling out of the balcony might be a better alternative to listening to them talk.
But Prince cured me.
From the minute he hit the stage, I stopped thinking about how my body might tumble over that plastic rail at the end of the balcony. I have enjoyed Prince’s music as a passive fan – someone who sings along on the radio, but doesn’t own any albums. But I thoroughly enjoyed his show. He is a great musician and a fantastic performer. He had everyone in the arena completely engrossed in the show, singing along, and dancing. I did get a little concerned once because everyone in the balcony began jumping and you could feel the balcony moving, but I obviously survived.
Prince made me wish I’d known all the words to his songs. There were times when he encouraged the crowd to sing with him. Other times he simply played along and let the crowd sing the entire song for him. He seemed to be enjoying himself, and it was contagious. The crowd roared approval at every remark. “Do you want me to play my guitar?” “YES!” “Am I making you hot?” “YES!” He could’ve asked, “Do you want to fling yourself from the balcony to the arena floor?” and I believe the crowd would’ve yelled, “YES!”
I have a lot of respect for him now, as a musician and showman. The concert was fantastic. As we walked back toward the hotel, the rain had thankfully stopped falling. But even if it had been pouring that would’ve been okay. It would’ve just looked like purple rain to me.