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Gonzo Report: Drinking in the purple glitter for Prince Again at the Magnolia

“You, my friend, are proof that we’re living in a simulation”

The man in purple took my request for “Little Red Corvette.”
The man in purple took my request for “Little Red Corvette.”

It had been decided: we had to steal a car. I was 15 years old, and therefore without a driver’s license. It did not matter. Megadeth was playing in Minneapolis. Two high school homies and I ditched school and made off with my sister’s Pontiac Grand Am. No cellphones or any way to be tracked, just future repercussions we’d deal with later. This was some Detroit Rock City shit.

What does this have to do with Prince? Well, I’m sure most folks know that he was Minneapolis’s crowned amethyst. Even though we were going to see Megadeth, we knew we were headed for Prince territory. But inevitably, following a two-hour drive through upper-Midwest farmlands, we got lost for a couple hours while looking for the venue in the Twin Cities. Who knows? We may have even driven by Paisley Park a few times without realizing it. The point is, we didn’t see Megadeth, and what’s more, I never did get to see Prince. So when the tribute band Prince Again came to The Magnolia in El Cajon, there wasn’t much that could hold me back.

Down the street from the venue, I heard Creative Creature Brewing Co. inviting me in for some beer and pizza. I decided to sit at the bar. Nobody else sat at the bar. The stocky bartender told me the small pizza would feed two to three adults. I took that as a challenge. Thirty minutes later, two empty blonde ales and a scattering of pizza crumbs testified that I’d won the contest, about which the bartender knew nothing. My prize: a $50 bar tab and a smell ya later.

Walking down a sidestreet on my way to the show, I watched a tow truck quickly snatch up a Tesla. No Parking signs were posted all over the next door Courtyard’s parking lot, but I guess some people thought they were bluffing. Got ‘em. Pro tip: park in the Ross parking lot a block away during a busy concert night. You should be safe there.

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While in line at the booze stand, I looked at the diverse crowd mingling about. Young or old, the purple threads were on display. As I neared the front to order a drink, I heard a woman ask the bartender his name. “You’re going to think I’m bullshitting you,” he said. “It’s Thurston.” A bartender named Thurston? Get the fuck out of here. “You, my friend, are proof that we’re living in a simulation,” I blurted out. Then I had him mix me a Purple Rain margarita. It was purple. It had glitter mixed in it. It was twenty-two bucks. It was fabulous. Cheers, Thurston.

Armed with my glittery margarita, I found my seat in the far back row. There was a fine line between the last row and the VIP seats, and I toed it with sparkling grace. I’m not sure what the difference was, besides the drink and food perks of VIP. In my last-row seat, I was nestled between a nice woman who looked like Tom Petty, and an older gentleman who could’ve easily passed for Kurt Vonnegut. Was this an afterlife concert? It must have been something like that, because even Whitney, a Whitney Houston tribute band, was there, belting out some old heaters. The next thing I knew, I was getting down to “I’m Every Woman” while clutching a box of popcorn under my armpit. What was happening? It must have been the glittery margarita making me feel and act so god-damned sassy.

The highlight of the Prince Again set (for me) was when the tribute Prince asked the crowd for requests. “This man has five days of material if you just push play. He was a true artist.” A shout here. A squawk there. Then I yelled out from the cheap seats, “Little Red Corvette!” In a moment, the house went dark; then a red glow brightened the stage. The synthesizers started, and the call had been answered. I noticed some seats near the front that had been abandoned, and slithered my way up to them.

I posted up behind a young blonde woman wearing a raspberry beret. “Did you get it in a second hand store?” I asked. “The band gave it to me after a show one night,” she said. She and her mother had been following them around to their past five shows, she said. Then, after the huge golden curtain came down, I watched the mother/daughter duo slide through a door a roadie had opened. Sinners.

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I had to play “Johnny B. Goode” five times in a row. I got knocked out with an upper-cut on stage for not playing Aerosmith.
The man in purple took my request for “Little Red Corvette.”
The man in purple took my request for “Little Red Corvette.”

It had been decided: we had to steal a car. I was 15 years old, and therefore without a driver’s license. It did not matter. Megadeth was playing in Minneapolis. Two high school homies and I ditched school and made off with my sister’s Pontiac Grand Am. No cellphones or any way to be tracked, just future repercussions we’d deal with later. This was some Detroit Rock City shit.

What does this have to do with Prince? Well, I’m sure most folks know that he was Minneapolis’s crowned amethyst. Even though we were going to see Megadeth, we knew we were headed for Prince territory. But inevitably, following a two-hour drive through upper-Midwest farmlands, we got lost for a couple hours while looking for the venue in the Twin Cities. Who knows? We may have even driven by Paisley Park a few times without realizing it. The point is, we didn’t see Megadeth, and what’s more, I never did get to see Prince. So when the tribute band Prince Again came to The Magnolia in El Cajon, there wasn’t much that could hold me back.

Down the street from the venue, I heard Creative Creature Brewing Co. inviting me in for some beer and pizza. I decided to sit at the bar. Nobody else sat at the bar. The stocky bartender told me the small pizza would feed two to three adults. I took that as a challenge. Thirty minutes later, two empty blonde ales and a scattering of pizza crumbs testified that I’d won the contest, about which the bartender knew nothing. My prize: a $50 bar tab and a smell ya later.

Walking down a sidestreet on my way to the show, I watched a tow truck quickly snatch up a Tesla. No Parking signs were posted all over the next door Courtyard’s parking lot, but I guess some people thought they were bluffing. Got ‘em. Pro tip: park in the Ross parking lot a block away during a busy concert night. You should be safe there.

Sponsored
Sponsored

While in line at the booze stand, I looked at the diverse crowd mingling about. Young or old, the purple threads were on display. As I neared the front to order a drink, I heard a woman ask the bartender his name. “You’re going to think I’m bullshitting you,” he said. “It’s Thurston.” A bartender named Thurston? Get the fuck out of here. “You, my friend, are proof that we’re living in a simulation,” I blurted out. Then I had him mix me a Purple Rain margarita. It was purple. It had glitter mixed in it. It was twenty-two bucks. It was fabulous. Cheers, Thurston.

Armed with my glittery margarita, I found my seat in the far back row. There was a fine line between the last row and the VIP seats, and I toed it with sparkling grace. I’m not sure what the difference was, besides the drink and food perks of VIP. In my last-row seat, I was nestled between a nice woman who looked like Tom Petty, and an older gentleman who could’ve easily passed for Kurt Vonnegut. Was this an afterlife concert? It must have been something like that, because even Whitney, a Whitney Houston tribute band, was there, belting out some old heaters. The next thing I knew, I was getting down to “I’m Every Woman” while clutching a box of popcorn under my armpit. What was happening? It must have been the glittery margarita making me feel and act so god-damned sassy.

The highlight of the Prince Again set (for me) was when the tribute Prince asked the crowd for requests. “This man has five days of material if you just push play. He was a true artist.” A shout here. A squawk there. Then I yelled out from the cheap seats, “Little Red Corvette!” In a moment, the house went dark; then a red glow brightened the stage. The synthesizers started, and the call had been answered. I noticed some seats near the front that had been abandoned, and slithered my way up to them.

I posted up behind a young blonde woman wearing a raspberry beret. “Did you get it in a second hand store?” I asked. “The band gave it to me after a show one night,” she said. She and her mother had been following them around to their past five shows, she said. Then, after the huge golden curtain came down, I watched the mother/daughter duo slide through a door a roadie had opened. Sinners.

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