20 years later

December 2nd 1984. I was sixteen years old, and for the very first time my mother was going to release me from my mundane suburban prison and let me and my friend Sue K take the bus from Bramalea to the epicentre of civilization, Toronto.
My mother let me go to Toronto, because if she didn’t I would die.
There was The Prince Concert at Maple Leaf Gardens. It was the Purple Rain Tour, and to me, Prince was a genius, who was also godlike in his beauty.
I spent hours analyzing his poetry, I knew he was talking to me….well, fine, not me…I mean he had never met me, but it was clear that he was searching for someone like me, and that the only reason that he didn’t love me was because he hadn’t met me. I believed that really, the only thing that was standing in the way of our simple, perfect love was lack of opportunity.
I would go to the concert, and there would be a moment where he would look into the crowd and our gaze would meet and in that one perfect second he would see the truth inside me and know that I was the only girl woman that would ever really see what he meant when he said “I only wanted 2 see u laughing in the purple rain”. What incredible poignancy.
I spent hours getting ready. It was the 80’s, so my hair took a long time, and just getting my jeans zippered up took both me and Sue. Sue was my best friend and that day, was the first time that I noticed she was really beautiful. I realized in an abstract sort of way that if you are going to a Prince Concert, and this is the one incredible chance that you will have to catch his eye, then maybe you shouldn’t stand beside some hot chick who’s going to screw it up for you. Then I realized that Prince wouldn’t care. We were meant to be. Sue had a letter that she wanted me to give him. The letter had all the songs she had written in it. Sue didn’t love Prince the way that I did, but she really respected him as an artist, and knew that if he read the songs that she was writing he would want her to work with him on his next album.
When he swept me out of the audience and into his life, I just had to remember to give him the envelope from Sue. We had it worked out, this night would change our lives.
I swear that it had never occurred to me that this wouldn’t work. I swear that I was shocked to discover that the concert was not intimate, that there were many thousands of other girls women, none of whom shared my destiny and conviction, all vying for space at the concert. I swear that all I felt as Sue and I walked to our seats, the seats that had taken all of our babysitting money, the seats that we had taken our mothers on for the right to take the bus to….the seats that were the gateway to the most significant, meaningful, defining moment in our lives….. that all I felt as I walked to those seats was a horrible, nauseating swirl of a nightmare.
The seats were so far back that Prince was an ant. He would never be able to look into my eyes, I was a 85 pound, 5′ tall sixteen year old in a seat that was hundreds of feet from the stage. Miles away…there was a pole in front of one of the seats, but Sue took that one. There was no way that Prince would see me. There was no way we could even throw Sue’s letter. All was lost.
I have always wondered why Prince and I didn’t meet that night. I can only imagine that there were forces that placed the thousands of thronging, maniacal girls, (none of whom loved him the way that I did, their love was shallow, superficial…immature) between us. Maybe Prince wasn’t ready for me to come into his life. Maybe destiny meant for me to have my wonderful husband and delightful children. Who knows the answers to these questions.
All I know for sure…is that tonight, I am going here, and this time I’ll be in the 17th row, and I’ll have the Dublin Bay Sock. Let Destiny do what she will.

38 thoughts on “20 years later

  1. Ack! Where’s Sue’s letter? If Destiny stops by, you’ve got to remember the person who sat behind a pole to increase your chances of a cosmic connection. 😉

  2. Take “Toronto” and replace it with “Atlanta” and that could have been written for me! What was it about Prince? That Purple Rain tour is still my all time favorite. I was lucky enough to score seats about 15 rows from the stage. (I wish I could remember how that was done) I got silk flowers dumped all over me-which I saved for years. Nothing will ever be as good as that night…

  3. When he looks into your eyes from the stage and realizes what a waste the last 20 years of his life have been without you, please remind yourself how silly it would be to throw away your supercool life with Joe and the kids for a guy who can’t even decide what his name should be. (and I can’t really see Prince in a gansey, can you?)
    (sigh) Alas, I was only going on thirteen then, and had to be content with renting the movie for my birthday. See, you were always cooler than me.

  4. This tour is fantastic. I saw it when he played the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul) last month.
    If I see a picture of His Purple Highness kissing that sock, I’ll possibly have to crown you Queen of My World.
    Have a great time!

  5. I’m all verklempt. I need a moment…..
    OK, I’m back.
    If you get a picture of Prince holding that sock, you will be annointed and crowned Super Blogger of the Universe.
    Then, the next time someone introduces you, it will as “this is Stephanie, the Super Blogger of the Universe”.

  6. Good gods, woman, you rule!
    Ditton on claudia’s post – except to add, “I’m Prince’s Super Blogger of the Universe Yarn Harlot.

  7. I was going to say something along the lines of, “When he looks into your eyes from the stage and realizes what a waste the last 20 years of his life have been without you…” & then I saw that Jodi already said it. So, ditto Jodi. Is the guy back to “Prince”? What happened to the funky symbol dohicky? Too hard to pronounce, I guess.
    Stuff Mastercard, your Dublin Bay sock is everywhere I want to be.

  8. Wow you had Prince, mine was 1981, The Carrier Dome – The object? Mick Jagger. I of course was at the other end of the football field. He never saw me. Now, he is old and wrinkled. And very short. I think I could kick his ass. I just bought Purple Rain on DVD! It was one of those movies you never forget. I even remembered who I went to see it with! I also just bought “Pretty In Pink”. I must be getting old.
    Have a great time!

  9. I want to see a full review here tomorrow – I’m going to see him in August! What are the chances of getting Prince to pose WITH the Dublin Bay sock. Naw, that’s probably too much! 🙂

  10. Oh, for me it was Daryl Hall. Check my blog later for the full story. Have I told you lately that I just adore you?

  11. I sympathize…for me it’s the Black Crowes and, more specifically, Chris Robinson. I KNEW he would be mine but then he had to go and marry Kate Hudson! Oh the heartbreak…I’m sure if he’d met me first he’d be mine:)

  12. For me, it’s Josh Ritter…a singer-songwriter who I had the good fortune to know when he was just a student, like me, at Oberlin College. So, I still get to push backstage and get my hug and kiss, and I get my e-mails answered. However, Mr. Ritter doesn’t know that I have a massive crush on him. So massive, in fact, that my 10-year-old son e-mailed him to say, “Josh, are you single? You should date my mom.”
    How embarrasing! But wouldn’t it be nice if he answered affirmatively?

  13. ROFLMAO. Okay, I’m going to embarrass the hell out of myself here and admit this: change the story and replace DONNY OSMOND, and that’s me — except I was only 14 and I never did make it to an Osmond concert. I’ve heard that this concert tour by the artist who was formerly known as a symbol who was formerly known as Prince who now prefers Prince again, is a great concert! Have a great time, and if Ryan ever gets those socks, they are going to have to be framed and not worn!

  14. I am still a fan of Purple Rain….Have a awesome time Stephanie and I hope Prince gyrates his hips for ya….

  15. i was at that concert too! and look – our paths cross (sort of!) 20 years later in blog land! have a great time tonite!

  16. Geez, this is embarrassing, but it was Donny Osmond for me too…those purple socks….sigh. What can I say, I lead a sheltered life!

  17. I am soooo envious. I too recognize Prince for poetic genius that he is and spent many an adolescent hour mooning over said genius. I too also had a recent opportunity to attend a concert given by this lovely man when he passed through my city. I didn’t take it – now I wish I had. And by the way destiny was meant to throw me into his path… not you… you must be mistaken. You just must. All those hours spent mooning would be for naught and my life misdirected. It cannot be!

  18. Well, that COULD be me, except replace Prince with Josh Groban….oh, wait, that was only 5 months ago….I really am psycho….but the upcoming scenario in August will be something like this….”Run away with you, Josh? I’m terribly sorry, but it would never work…I’m married, you’re still in diapers…..” *sigh* Cheers to our wonderful significant others who put up with us. LOL Have a GREAT time tonight!

  19. In answer to the above question, the funky symbol thing was his own doing because the record label owned the name “Prince” and if he was to continue recording under that name, they would have final artistic say in his work. Once the ownership contract ended, he was able to take back the name “Prince” thereby rendering himself “The Artist Formerly Known as The Artist Formerly Known as Prince”
    I say good for him for standing up for his own artistic expression – it’s nice to see some places where money doesn’t beat out art as far as values.
    As for Steph… pardon my artistic license as I imagine what Prince will be singing to you and you alone, my dear…
    “I only want to see you knitting on those Dublin Bay…
    Dublin Bay, Dublin Bay….”

  20. thank you for writing that. it gave me a reason to smile during a very busy work day.
    i’ve been a fan since the beginning of his career, but i went to my very first Prince concert last month here in vegas.
    it was everything i’d heard it’d be…and more.
    it was everything i hoped it would be…and more.
    enjoy the concert.

  21. Oh, dear. I’m turning into the resident curmudgeon, and the Knitting Curmudgeon does it so much better. And I am GLAD you get to go, honest. Having said that, am I the only one who a) would have to answer “George Harrison” and b) remembers The Purple One dropping his woman into a dumpster (aside from driving his motorcycle out from under her soaking freezing self) in that movie — the same year The Color Purple was accused of being “anti-men.” Ach weel. Go redeem him with love.

  22. Well, rams, I’ve always thought of Prince as a bit of a pissant, but maybe that’s because I’m 5’9″.
    EXCEPT for “Little Red Corvette”.
    What a sexy delivery.
    Almost as sexy as Great Big Sea’s “John Barbour”.
    But not quite.
    My answer would be “Alan Doyle” (of GBS), when it’s not Benoit Bourque.

  23. Man. I feel like such a renegade. I thought Prince was kind of cool but my heart (and whatever else I could get close to him) belonged to bad boy, David Lee Roth of VH. Gimme a break, guys, it was the 80’s and he had that mane of hair!

  24. I’m jealous. I’m jealous that you got to go then, and I’m jealous that you get to go now. I missed out when he was here in Australia last year, but I saw the Diamonds and Pearls tour in 1992. See – Pearls – he really has been pining after you!

  25. At 11, I was head over heels for Donny Osmond and I’m not too embarassed to admit it! (at least not as long as I can do it relatively anonymously)

  26. I liked Prince also, but for me I just knew that I was destined to marry Billy Idol. Either him or NIck from Duran Duran.
    Oh..now that was embarrassing to admit. *hides*

  27. I can *so* relate!
    Back then, for me, it was Bono of U2, and, embarassed to admit, Simon LeBon on Duran Duran.
    I don’t remember admiring them for their poetic musical talent – just that they looked awfully good in tight pants!

  28. rock on!I remember those days,but it was Cheap Trick for me.Robin Zander was the love of my life.I remember waiting outside massey hall for hours to see if he would come out.Now that Prince is living in Toronto you shouldn’t have trouble finding him.Maybe he will have your husband do his next cd,now wouldn’t that be something?

  29. Oh lord. I was a Durannie–but I was young and I was in England and Roger Taylor was a wicked hottie and John Taylor was cute and tall.
    I saw them live and got to witness another girl in the audience sobbing and screaming ‘Simon, don’t marry Jasmin, marry me!’ at the top of her youthful lungs. (Simon Le Bon had just gotten engaged to a fashion model. I think they’re even still married!)
    Hope the concert was mind-blowingly good!

  30. Oh, you’ve brought back such memories! I saw the Purple Rain Tour at the Syracuse Carrier Dome when I was 14. I was in my room when I heard it announced on the radio and came out with tears streaming down my face. How could my mother resist? I wore a fuschia satin strapless dress and lace gloves and brought binoculars, thankfully!
    God, I love that man.

  31. Nick Heyward, “Haircut 100” – that floppy blonde hair, those boyish good looks …. course last time I saw him on TV most of the blonde hair had made a galloping retreat towards the back of his neck. Not quite so winsome.
    Prince was/is definitely totally fab but I don’t know, I just would have worried I’d break him or something if I got too close.

  32. A bit off-topic here but: Boy do I have poncho patterns for you! A gal on my knitlist posted a huge list that she’s made up. It’s great. I thought I’d seen all the free poncho patterns on the net but she had some I hadn’t seen. Anyway! It’s http://faerycrafty.blogdrive.com/ and it’s her July 28th entry.

  33. Oh, Harlot–
    I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much as during the reading of this entry and the equally wonderful responses to it. My own $.02 (Canadian or US, reader’s choice) on the topic:
    Being the same age (exactly the same age, as it happens) as the Harlot, I, too, found myself at a concert during the Purple Rain tour. Mine was at the Capital Center outside DC. Instead of a best friend and dreams of Life Happily Everafter with His Royal Purpleness, I was accompanied by:
    –my first-ever boyfriend (FEB), whom I loved so much at that point that I couldn’t imagine ever caring for another man (!–oh, and the FEB looked a lot like John Taylor of Duran Duran, which I didn’t really care about except that the giggly freshman girls at our high school thought it really important, and I suspect it got me, a super nerd, some kind of street cred)
    –said FEB’s 14-year-old sister
    –FEB’s mother
    –FEB’s pot-smoking-while-driving stepfather
    –FEB’s *five-year-old* sister
    Even at 16, I thought five was a little young for such an event. Am I that much of a prude?
    And the person I really thought I was meant to be with was John Lennon, but since he’d already been dead for four years, I was consoling myself with fantasies of George Harrison…so Rams, my dear, you are not alone.

  34. LOL….ROLOL…or whatever!
    I concur. I didn’t expect that other girls would be vying for his attention in any sort of interesting way. How dare they try to attract him with their flashy clothes and body-baring garments! Didn’t they know that he was there for me? Ha-HA!
    Did Morris Day and The Time open his act for you? He did for us…last concert in Philly…very cool. Also, Patti LaBelle was in the audience and he pulled her up on stage.
    I still can’t get over the fact that he was in the flesh there in front of me….big sigh!

  35. You can’t see me, but I am laughing hysterically. Not at you, oh no, but at the similarities here. My OneTrueOMGLOVE! is an actor, alas. But! I actually did get a wee smidge closer to him at one point in time….
    See that weird ass face he’s making? Yeah, pay no attention to that. But DO pay attention to that thing he has on his head. What is that, you ask? It’s a hat. But lo, it is not just a hat it is a hat knit by ME! Yes me! My favoriteOMGLOVE!actor wore a hat I made, expressly for him.
    I about had kittens right there at the arena, oh yes I did.

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