The 2000’s

2000

The Rainbow Children Celebration Week

ALICIA KEYES

I saw her before she debuted I Keep on Falling in Love and we had no idea who she was. She performed one of the Celebration nights during the week.

ERICA BADU

Erica gave a great performance. People were just walking around, Prince was there with Manuela, whom I didn’t know at the time would become his second wife in a few months. They were standing right behind us. A fan yelled at me, He’s right behind you! I turned and looked at they were in some kind intimate discussion… right behind me. I guess it was my, ‘I’m engaged again,’ moment. He joined Erica on stage to play guitar, the crowd went wild. Erica looked happy too.

DAVE CHAPPELLE

He performed one night. I didn’t go over well. When you come to Paisley to see Prince, a comedian just won’t do it. I don’t think Prince ever showed to make it worse. I think this was during the infamous basketball and pancakes story as told on the Dave Chappelle show. We heard the story in Minneapolis around the same time, so it happened.

MOVIE NIGHT THAT WASN’T

One night, after a performance, the band decided to have a discussion about going to the movies right in front of us. We were standing around, and they stopped right in front of us and began talking to each other about going to the movies at 1:00 am! I had heard Prince had treated his fans with movies from time to time. Can you believe that was one thing I never experienced with him? We stopped and looked at them, but did not receive a direct, “You wanna come?” so we went home. Wonder what if…

THE TIME

What time is it? The time, THE TIME performed at the convention. Even Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis showed up and played. A band member and Jerome were all there. They stood at the back of the room in album formation pose at first. I wished I had a camera, it was C.O.O.L for sure.

They asked Prince to come play COOL with them, and he played keyboards and sang backup. Worth all prices of admission. One of the best Paisley nights ever!

MINNEAPOLIS!          

He played the Excel Center in St. Paul for the end of the Convention. There were people in the first few rows which I think he could tell were not his regular fans. I want to say he said to turn the house lights up so he could see us, but at any rate, it was bright enough down there so he could see who was in the first few rows. I was in the fourth or fifth row, and I know he saw me. He asked the people down front how many of them won tickets on the radio. Most cheered thinking they were special.

Then he said, “Where are my fans,” and we raised our hands. We were on the sides and floor behind the radio winners. Then he said, “This is for you,” and he played Uptown. Everybody went crazy! I remember thinking the people in the first 4 or 5 rows were thinking, “Thanks a lot. I won tickets, just to get dissed,” but I think what he was trying to say was I had no control over the tickets on the radio stations. Again looking out for his fans who flew in from overseas and came to the convention, etc. We paid a lot and then were stuck behind people who just got the hookup or were lucky on the radio. Most real fans have tickets way before the radio stations give them out. We can’t risk winning a contest. I think he was just trying to say you guys are the ones who are there for me, and I am here for you.

Also, he kept yelling MINNEAPOLIS, and the audience kept yelling ST. PAUL and then he’d laugh. Silly.

THE END

During a studio tour at the Celebration Convention 2001, about 35 or 40 of us were led into a pool room upstairs in Paisley. First time upstairs in all of my 10 years there. An employee came into and said one of the staff members was coming in to talk about the RAINBOW CHILDREN experience. We sat on the floor and waited for an employee.

Prince calmly walked in and sat on the pool table!

I looked around to make sure everybody else saw him, and I wasn’t hallucinating. Everyone was as stunned as I. I am not sure any of us heard what he said at first, but it soon turned into a discussion about religion – Jehovah Witness style. I wondered if we counted as people he witnessed too. We talked about other things too.