Thank you all so much for reading and liking my column. I know Thursday night Modern Family was on (new episode!) so I really appreciate you taking the time to support me.
My brother Hugh is an actor and gets me into some cool places.
We had bought tickets to see Prince, but then he was given two, so, we gave ours to friends and used his freebies. I remember walking down the stairs at Allophones Arena (now Sydney Olympic Park)…
down the stairs
OMG passing 3rd row two more steps
FRONT FRICKEN ROW
It was amazing. I asked Hugh to pinch me.
I had seen Prince twice before.
The Diamonds and Pearls tour at the SCG, April 28, 1992 (exactly 14 years ago tonight!) and then in October, 2003 at The Entertainment Centre. At that gig he left the stage for about 30 minutes while his band, The New Power Generation jammed and we could NOT STOP DANCING!!!
You know those concerts where you are left on the most massive high. Like you have experienced something very special that only you and the other people there with you have experienced.
And remember, there were no iPhones!
I saw Courtney Love at Thebarton Theatre in Adelaide in 1996. I wasn’t a big Hole fan but there was one song I really liked.
Courtney kept us waiting for over an hour. The natives were restless but she came out like a cyclone and whipped everyone into a frenzied state. She had two blue lights at the very back of the theatre that she said were Kurt’s eyes (he had died about a year before). She taught all the ‘chicks’ in the audience to play guitar, showing us the chords, saying, ‘it’s much easier than guys pretended it is’, and after stage diving, she apologised to a guy in the crowd, ‘sorry I kneed you in the balls but you shouldn’t have grabbed my crotch!’
After the Hole concert I felt like running and running. Just because there was so much adrenalin rushing through me. Empowered!
Prince was my party friend. Everyone my era has at least three magical Raspberry Beret, Purple Rain and Little Red Corvette moments. Every memorable moment of mine with him was joyous. New Years Eve at Limbo nightclub when they played Kiss and we made up threeway kissing, to when I first started DJing to Get Off, Diamonds and Pearls and of course Cream.
Prince was even there when I was heartbroken in LA in 1994. Prince had a nightclub, GlamSlam, and if you had dinner at his restaurant you didn’t have to pay the cover charge. A girls gotta eat, so my girlfriend Tiffany (also heartbroken) and I went to the restaurant. It was almost pitch black. No idea how we read the menu.
Maybe the waiter had a torch? I do remember they had a DJ.
A DJ in a restaurant in 1994 was super cool, but this was Prince’s joint. The DJ played Gloria Gaynor’s, I Will Survive and we danced in front of, and possibly on, the tables, on our way to the secret doors that opened up into THE CLUB!!
We were the only white people in the club.
It was massive, 28,000 square feet and packed.
We made friends, were given giant roses and partied like it was 1999. I survived the club and the heartbreak, and felt like, dancing in Prince’s club, I was somehow closer to him.
Being in the front row at his concert was really close.
His sweat may have hit me. It didn’t, but could have! Cream, Pop Life, You Got The Look, Raspberry Beret.
He did a cover, an amazing cover, of Michael Jacksons Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough.
Toward the end of the concert he smashed his guitar, very rock n’ roll. And I remember the very last song was Kiss.
Again, I felt like running. Let’s Go Crazy!
But instead, Hugh turned to me and asked a question he already knew the answer to,
“Do you wanna go backstage for a drink?”
I was amazed at how he kept it a secret the entire concert. I love surprises.
So we go back to the room where there are people, the promoter and record company guys I think, and everyone is cool, having a drink and a chat. Hugh sidled up to me and whispered in my ear ‘I know where he is. Pretend to go to the toilet and I’ll meet you.’
We walk down a long wide corridor and see the room Prince is in and there are 4 security guys outside.
As casually as possible we walk on by and I say to Hugh,
‘Dare me to go in!’
‘No, we’ll get kicked out….’
‘Well I dare you! I double dare you to dare me!’
Hugh’s face changed to a sheepish cheeky grin as he looked at me intently and whispered, ‘the security guards just all walked away.’
I turned around as I saw them walk off in the opposite direction.
This was our moment. We seized it.
There he was sitting behind a desk with a laptop, facing us, less than a metre away.
‘Hi, did you enjoy the show?’
This is where Hugh’s and my recollections differ a little. I remember him telling Prince that I was a huge fan. I thought I was cool, but apparently I froze and they only words that came out of my mouth were “Thank you for the music.”
That’s what I meant, with sincerity and love. Genuinely. THANK YOU PRINCE!
Wierdly, Thank you for the Music is an Abba song. I was also obsessed with Abba. Who wasn’t?
I remember kids coming to school in year 4 and telling for news they had been to the Abba concert and I was so mad at my Mum and Dad for not telling me.
The beginning of FOMO and First World Problems.
Back to the story….
Prince asked us if we knew any guitar technicians. (He hadn’t smashed his guitar to be rockn’roll, he was mad it wasn’t tuned.)
He was a genius and perfectionist.
Amazingly, Hugh and I didn’t know any guitar techs off hand, but promised to organise one ASAP.
Just as I thought about which of my friends could get one to Allophones Arena on May 22, 2012, for PRINCE!!!…..
I felt the giant hands of security gently escorting me away.
I have no regrets, but sometimes I wish I’d said to him NOTHING COMPARES TO YOU
In your formative teen years who resided on your bedroom wall? My Auntie covered the inside of her orange wardrobe doors with The Beatles, predominately Paul.
My brother had Cindy Crawford and Michael Jordan.
My sister had Culture Club.
My Grandmothers had pictures of Mother Mary and Jesus with his Sacred Heart on their dressing tables.
I had David Bowie.
A HUGE Golden head shot of Mr Bowie placed over my bed. I graced each new day, and fell asleep every night with him.
He was not religious (‘no religion’ Modern Love) but, he was my ICON
I didn’t love him in a romantic way, that was River Pheonix and, when he died, I cried a river!
David Bowie was the man who understood me.
He was like a best friend. He was in your mate’s garage while you got stoned and played pool. He was on your boombox while you made up dances to Modern Love on school camp, he played in your first car. He was even there when I got hot and heavy for the first time at the movies…Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence indeed!
He was at every party I can remember going to my whole life.
Last October I found this awesome store in New York in the East Village. It was full of everything I wanted. I needed. Joey Ramone soap, an Alice In Wonderland t-shirt, Michael Jackson ring, and a DAVID BOWIE jacket!!!
Alas, my joy turned to sorrow when I saw the price – US$390!
Of course the girl working there told me it was the last one, they were hand painted by French Fashion Designers.
Oh look! its reversible!
I convinced myself that if it was still there when I went back then I am meant to have it.
It was still there and so was my financial status. In debt.
Thankfully, the fourth time I went to visit the jacket I took my brother along who advised, “If you don’t get it, you’ll always regret it.”
Wise words from one so young! I bought the jacket and we bought a Bowie ring for me and an MJ ring for our sister Meg, and never looked back.
Until January when I (very fortunately, thanks Miss Jones) found myself back in New York. My BFF, Anna, loved my Bowie ring so I promised to get her one. On the day we arrived, January 10, and after lunch at Balthazar, I went back to the store for the ring. I also bought a necklace just like Carries (from SITC) but it says ‘New York’.
Anyway, the store owner recognised me from my pathetic desperation and indecision last October and suggested we go to an 80’s club on 1st and Avenue A that I would like.
It was sooooo 80’s. Everything was painted black, the walls, the floor, the toilets, the coke a cola. All the cool NY kids were dressed like they were in an 80’s video clip. Not Wham, or ONJ in Physical fashionistas. More like The Smiths, 1927, Pat Benetar, 1985 Madonna, with some Beastie Boys thrown in.
I was hyper excited and started requesting Bowie straight up. The DJ made me wait and wait until finally Changes came on. I was up on the stage in front of the decks singing along with my air guitar until I fell off. Luckily the cool kids caught me.
Later that night at another club, where it was more a Duran Duran ‘Rio’ dress code, the DJ played me Michael Jacksons, Man In The Mirror and Bowies, Life On Mars. I was in heaven.
NB. Even though you are 47, you still feel 16, 25, or 28. I was in NYC and I felt like I was on top of the world.
The next day I went to the Carol King musical on Broadway called Beautiful. Amazing. Drinks at Sardi’s. Dinner.
Back to the hotel for pizza and in house movies.
It’s like how you remember exactly where you were when John Lennon, River Pheonix, Whitney Houston, or Micheal Jackson died.
I remember my mobile kept ringing but I ignored it. I was so tired. Then the hotel room phone rang and that got my attention.
My brother was on the line and asked if I was ok?
“Yes, why?”My mind was racing, had something happened to my kids, my parents.
“There are reports that David Bowie has died.”
I am getting goose bumps writing this now. It was so surreal. I went into shock. I can’t remember what happened next but I spent the whole night on facetime to my BFF, sister and brother back in Australia. We played Bowie and celebrated his life. We were so thankful to all be alive on the planet at the same time.
I’m pretty sure we spoke to him (he could hear us now, right?)The next day I went to his house in SoHo, where he left Earth and became our star man in the sky.
I can believe how good he looked a few days before when the last photos were taken of him on his birthday.
I was very fortunate to meet David Bowie also!
The first time I saw him live was The Serious Moonlight Tour circa 1983 at Adelaide oval, he sang ‘rain’ instead of Fame. It rained and I was atop the shoulders of the young man I’d watched Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence with. Then in 1997 there was the train trip from Adelaide to Melbourne for The Glass Spider Tour.
Years later , in 2004, I saw him in Sydney and Adelaide. A true groupie, in fact in Adelaide I was in the front row again. My girlfriend Jo organised for me to be at the ‘meet and greet’ backstage after the show. I was last in line. Everyone was excited and nervous and I was playing it cool, he’s a human being too. But, when I stood face to face with this man I adored, who was shorter than I’d imagined but so handsome and charismatic, I could not speak. If you know me, to render me speechless is a true feat. A miracle.
In his perfect David Bowie English accent that has its very own energy he said, ‘You can’t speak can you?’
I shook my head.
‘Would you like a hug?’
We embraced and in that moment I felt so safe and loved and all was perfect in the world. Honestly. It may sound dramatic, but seriously check out the grin on my face in the photo.
I could speak again so I asked him to sign my Serious Moonlight tour t-shirt. He looked at me and asked, “How old were you? Four?”
“Fifteen,” I replied.
“We must be related,” he said with a laugh and a wink.
At the end of our meeting he asked if there was anything else I would like.
“Another hug,” I replied.
I remember right now as I’m typing this story for you the elation I felt.
What a lucky girl am I! So blessed to meet two such perfect Angel genius’ that make up so much of the soundtrack of my life!
Changes is my number 1 track. Kick off with a theme you know will stick. There are so many more, but thats another discussion.
As for Prince, if you haven’t been on top while Cream is playing you should!
Make the rules, then break them all cause you are the best!