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November 5, 2015 | 19

Discover Minnesota music, art, theater & family fun.

Left — Headed for Paisley Park? Here’s some tips. FILE PHOTO BY MARK W. OLSON
Left — Headed for Paisley
Park? Here’s some tips.
Reporter Unsie Zuege waits for
doors to open at Paisley Park.
Fans lined up outside Paisley
Let’s Go Crazy Let’s Go Crazy Let’s Go Crazy (But take a nap first) (But
Let’s Go Crazy
Let’s Go Crazy
Let’s Go Crazy
(But take a nap first)
(But take a nap first)
BY UNSIE ZUEGE | uzuege@swpub.com
BY UNSIE ZUEGE | uzuege@swpub.com

A A ttending one of

Prince’s Paisley Park

late night concerts/

dance parties has

been on my to-do list for a long time. For those of you not familiar with Prince and his Paisley

Park recording studio in Chanhassen, just know that he helped put Minnesota’s music scene on the map in the 1980s along with other homegrown groups like the Replacements, the Suburbs and Husker Du. But his distinctive sound and showmanship helped him rise to superstardom along with his contemporaries, Madonna and Michael Jackson.

Although famously private, over the years, he’s opened Paisley Park to fans for late night concerts and dancing. In the past, he might invite fans to come out to Paisley Park after

a show at First Avenue. Those

were the days when people still

relied on word of mouth and land line phones—remember


Today, social media has made his Paisley Park concerts/ dance parties more accessible. Fans are updated almost

instantaneously with a Tweet or

a Facebook post. Last Saturday night, after

having taken a

a in

on on her her sm smartphone at

nice long nap in

1 10 p.m., on a Wednesday night, a Saturday night, a SUNDAY night, they’re on their own. She’s headed to Paisley Park. Another is a woman I will only refer to to as as Ms. Ms. X. She has

the late afternoon, noon,

I finally

made it

to Paisley

Park, and

the stars

must have

been aligned

because I

actually saw

Prince in person, not only nly

performing four our

sets—FOUR sets sets

— but also got t to to

see him in his natural habitat— his own private recording studio—on my backstage tour. He looked as startled as us when our tour guide opened the studio door. We filed into the small space, past the soundboard and chairs, speechless. My friend Karla could barely breathe.

After saying hello, he quietly exited, “to make more room,” for us. One of his most ardent fans is the aforementioned Karla— Karla Wennerstrom, who by day is a community news editor, suburban wife and mom, and school and community volunteer. By night, she is a

Prince acolyte. Her family knows that if she gets an alert

been been a a Prince Prince fan fan since sixth

grade “when I heard him on the radio, and ‘Purple Rain’ was the first album I ever bought.” She didn’t realize that when she and her family relocated to the Twin Cities some years ago, she’d be living within miles of Paisley Park. “It was one of the added perks I discovered after moving here,” Ms. X explained. Remaining in

close proximity to Paisley Park was a determining factor when her family bought a new home in the area. Like Wennerstrom, she’s ready to jump into the car and head to Paisley Park at moment’s notice. “I’ve probably been there more than 40 times,” Ms. X said.

“Even if it’s late and I’m ready

to go to bed, when I see the text

message, ‘Prince is going to be performing,’ you instantly wake up.” Prince’s hours are those of a night owl, and he’s known for shows that don’t begin until past midnight, which adds to the mystique. “Once he performed at 4 a.m.,”

Ms. X said. Nothing deters her, not even winter storms. “I’ve

been to a lot of shows where it’s a blizzard outside, but people come from all over the place.” Part of the fun is knowing that Prince may or may not even show up. It might be a guest band, it might be a DJ playing dance music, or it could be Prince and his band 3RDEYEGIRL, or Prince putting on a concert for Madonna. Yes. Madonna. Madonna visited Paisley Park after her recent concert


the Xcel Energy Center. Ms.


was one of the lucky few who

attended—“I think there might have been about 30 of us,” she recalled. “There’s a reason why the tagline is ‘You never know what is going to happen.’ At about 1:45 a.m., Madonna came in with all of her dancers, and the DJ played ‘Vogue’ and it was like a dance-off. They were on fire. And then Prince came on

like a dance-off. They were on fire. And then Prince came on stage and Madonna sat

stage and Madonna sat on the edge of the stage. He played for her about an hour, and she was just mesmerized. It was one of the best nights ever at Paisley Park.” Being a newbie to the Paisley Park concert night/dance party thing, I felt like a fish out of water. Thankfully, Wennerstrom met me in the lobby that night, and ushered me into the soundstage where Prince was seated at the electric keyboard, playing his heart out. I just followed Wennerstrom’s lead, took the tour, wandered through both sound stages, danced to the DJ, and danced to all four sets led by Prince. By the end of the

(long) night, I felt like a regular.

But, don’t make the mistake

of leaving before the house lights

come up. Being unpredictable, Prince may or may not have

more tricks up his sleeve. Ms.

X left after Prince’s concert for


“I thought it was done,” Ms.

X said. “It was 3:15 a.m. I later

found out Prince came back and pulled people on the stage to dance with him.”