I don’t have any pictures or videos from Prince’s last show, but I don’t need them. That 90 minutes will live with me forever in my memory and for that I thank him. I assume this is how most people that had the pleasure of seeing Prince live feel. I’ve been to many concerts, both as a fan and in my time working security at various Atlanta concert venues, but this felt different from the beginning. There was a palpable excitement in the room. We were about to see Prince.
I arrived at my seats in the upper balcony of the Fox Theatre 30 minutes before the show. The only thing on stage was a purple Yamaha piano with a screen behind it. At 10 PM, the ticketed time for the show to start, the lights dimmed and an announcement came over the speakers. The crowd roared, expecting Prince to be announced on stage. Instead it was a request from Prince for no photography or video to be taken during the show. It was to be just him, that purple piano, and the few thousand of us that had gathered at the Fox experiencing what would end up being his final show.
The show was supposed to take place the Thursday before, but he was forced to postpone it one week due to the flu. “The flu.” The same flu that forced his plane to make an emergency landing the night after the show. A week later, we learned of Prince’s tragic death and his battle with opiod addiction. However, on April 14, 2016, those of us at the Fox simply thought we were going to see one of the greatest performers of all-time after he’d fought off a flu bug.
At 10:10, the lights went down completely and the screen was lit up to reveal the silhouette of Prince. The screen pulled up and he walked out with his perfectly manicured afro, purple jacket, and a scepter in hand to the adoring cheers of the crowd. The standing ovation lasted for three minutes before he even sat at his piano.
He thanked the crowd for waiting a week for his show and apologized for postponing. The crowd erupted in response.
“Thank you, Prince!”
“We love you, Prince!”
The show hadn’t even started, but it already felt special.