Celebration 2018 – Finale


As Celebration continued into Friday, Saturday and the Sunday finale, I started to think of the experience as Purple Summer Camp.

The first day, you run on adrenalin and excitement. This is going to be the best experience EVER. Around the halfway mark of day two, your energy flags. You look at your itinerary and all the activities you booked, and you realize you were insanely ambitious. You question whether you will survive the late nights, early mornings, crowds and nonstop activity. Maybe you need to go home. At summer camp, you’d send a whiny, plaintive postcard to your parents. At Celebration, you want to text your husband, but you can’t, since Paisley Park has locked your phone in a pouch. That’s a good thing, since your husband is already shouldering all of your daily family-related duties and doesn’t need to hear whining from you.

Day three dawns, and you have the best day ever. You are high on the experience and never want it to end. And on the fourth and final day, you feel sadder than sad and cling to your new friends while making somewhat unrealistic promises to visit them, no matter how far-flung the location may be.

I heartily recommend the experience. Like camp, it’s character-building.

In closing, I wanted to share two of the moments that will stick with me forever, like snapshots from camp.

DEAR PRINCE: I’m in line at the merchandise counter, waiting to purchase my overpriced-but-worth-it $50 Lovesexy tour shirt, which is so perfectly 1988 in color and design that I’m beside myself with joy. My other purchase is a purple notebook embossed with a gold love symbol. The cashier looks at the notebook and says, “I have one of these too. I call it my `Dear Prince’ notebook.” I ask her, why “Dear Prince”? “Because I write to him at night when I get home,” she replies. “I write stuff to him like, `Dear Prince, I was at your house today …'”

THE RED SUIT: The only time I saw Prince in concert was the Musicology tour. Bash me all you want for not being a true fan, but I’ve had hearing problems all my life due to a bazillion ear infections as a baby, and avoided concerts to protect the hearing I had left. Still, I was determined that I wasn’t going to go through life without seeing Prince. In 2004, when I saw Musicology, I had a two-year-old and hadn’t slept through the night in two years (or so it felt). As a result, my one, singular memory of that night is Prince, standing and facing the section where I was seated, in a bright red suit. I remember telling myself, “So Laura, that’s Prince.”

Imagine my surprise when we walked into Studio A to find that life-size mannequins had been set up, modeling several of his Musicology costumes. On one end of the display was a mannequin wearing the red suit. Chills shot through me, and as the tour guide talked, I have to admit that I checked out mentally. I went and stood shoulder-to-shoulder with that mannequin, inches away. I imagined Prince standing on the stage in that suit, frozen forever in my memory.

That mannequin and I, we had a little chat, and I told him all the things in my heart about being able to see him that one time, wearing the red suit.

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