To the people I stood shoulder to shoulder with in line on Tuesday afternoon waiting in anticipation of a potential Prince concert at Massey Hall, I want to send a few words of optimism and a call to calm down a little, especially to those expressing anger this week. Sure, it would have been nice if he showed up and performed, but for all those in line feeling duped, isn’t it a little bit wonderful that this happened to us? Yes, some of us had to call in sick, or walk out of work early with or without the grace of our boss. Some of us under dressed and over joyed as we stood in the rain with the anticipation of a potential night of our lives. I was there with you, waiting with an excitement I rarely feel, excitement that maybe I stumbled upon a rare opportunity that just happened to work out for me today. Another day, another year I wouldn’t have been able to go, but today I had a chance at seeing one of the most mythological figures in modern music. Not of this decade, but of all my life's decades. A myth that has come in and out of our lives, lived amongst us, and teased us with shows, albums, inspired cover bands, and TV performances that continue to blow many away 30 years later.
My day consisted of standing and reading books. Today I chose Sam Beckett’s Waiting for Godot in my lame attempt to be in tune with art as I Waited for Prince. I also read Chuck Kloserman’s Sex Drugs & Cocoa Puffs with the hope that a Prince reference would appear and I would smile in the irony of it all. The couple ahead of me played Prince songs for three hours straight out of their Bluetooth speaker, and turned it up as the boyfriend's mother arrived with food. From Purple Rain, to Kiss, to the entire new album. News channels from up and coming radio stations to CBC and CTV stopped in front of us to interview and film the group that brought their music to the lines adjacent to Massey Hall, hoping to capture a small moment that was unique in this city. As I stood behind them, trying to look like I’m avoiding the camera while slightly leaning in, I realized that the point of all this was I was deep in the experience of the myth of Prince. I may never see the man perform, but I never thought that was possible anyway, so why not bask in the makeshift outdoor festival that appeared before me.
I woke up that morning in a slightly hungover haze with plans to do the work I had to do, but slightly begrudgingly. Instead, only an hour later I was packing a turkey sandwich, a Tupperware of grapes, obscure and outdated books, my laptop, and my trusty red moleskin journal. I was prepared more than I’ve ever been prepared. Today was about experiencing something for the sake of experiencing it. Not because it was something I deserved, but because it was something that was thrilling and seemingly impossible. I met people I would have never met before, I listened to Prince songs for 3 hours, and I got to feel closer to a myth than I’ve felt since I was 16 in the Much Music Studios waiting for Coldplay to walk out on the floor. My music taste aside, it’s fun to just let go of your pride, and your day's plans, and just lean on the possibility of the night of your life.
Yes, as it turned out Prince did not show. His band, 3rdEyeGirl for some reason were in town testing out the sound at Massey Hall, and while we stood in the rain, they set up their purple gear. If a myth is to remain a myth it requires ambiguity and as I’ve learned, a shit load of disappointment. I left the line at Massey at about 3pm, 4 hours after setting up my spot with my sandwich, grapes, and nostalgic literature. Was it the best day of my life? No. Was it the worst day of my life? No. Was it the closest I’ve come to experiencing the thrill of touching a myth, at least since the days of my youth when myth involved a British accent and an amplified piano? Yes. That’s all I can ask for, and I for one am grateful for the experience, the thrill of the morning, and the prospect that one day I will be presented the opportunity to pursue a myth again. Perhaps next time I’ll get even closer.