Prince Afterparty @ The Hi-Fi
The line stretched from the door of The Hi-Fi on Swanston St down to the corner of Collins and snaked along until it nearly reached Elizabeth St. Thousands of eager Prince fans waited for hours to get their chance to witness one of the fabled aftershows - reputed to be more of a spectacle than the histrionics-filled arena show. With Monday’s last-minute Bennetts Lane performance catching many unaware, tonight was the night for the Prince faithful to make amends.
As fans took their seat at Rod Laver Arena for Prince’s last scheduled show in Australia, DJ Rashida (the foremost source of aftershow announcements on the current tour) tweeted the following:
"Shows about 2 start.I hope u r here b/c Prince & the NPG r leaving it all on this stage 2nite..We will b celebrating after @Hi-FI :) join us"
The announcement of tonight’s afterparty was decidedly vague as to whether there would be a performance by the mighty purple one, but the track record suggested that it would be the case. When asked if NPG would be performing at The Hi-Fi, DJ Rashida replied with slight ambiguity:
"Just a Party :) NPG style !!! RT @nikki3kids @crystal_ICK @djrashida NPG aren't playin at hi-fi? Just partying?"
Suffice to say, the line to The Hi-Fi was ridiculous. Senses of entitlement were riding high, and venue staff were growing weary of it.
To the right of The Hi-Fi door was the guestlist line. That’s where I was, as were a hell of a lot of timewasters trying to weasel and bribe their way in. It was chaos.
When I finally made it into the venue, I was ushered into the mezzanine (which was behind locked doors tonight). After the guestlist crew began to settle, venue security swiftly asked everyone to make their way downstairs. Yep, the entourage was arriving.
Downstairs, jubilation was running high. Those lucky enough to get in exchanged high-fives, resting assured they were one of the select few to witness one of history’s greatest entertainers in an intimate setting.
After a banging DJ mix of certified dancefloor classics, the stage was set for a band to take the stage. We just weren’t exactly sure which band it would be.
A local jazz quintet took to the stage (apparently they were only notified about the gig a few hours prior). Their elongated jams failing to instigate a response anything like the pop-soul DJ set which preceded it, but the crowd were polite. After the crowd gave a token applause, the group’s bassist relayed to the crowd “We’re going to do our thing for a little bit, then a certain someone has something special for you.” During the band’s fourth jam, a wrap-up notice was given from side of stage.
It appeared that the stage was being prepped for another performance, and another series of soundchecks took place.
At around the 2am, the crowd turned their eyes toward the mezzanine and gave out a thunderous cheer – yep, that is the back of Prince’s head.
A bit after 3am, Prince managed to find his way to the sound desk and started pulling shapes to the delight of punters. It was a brief stint, and he was soon enough back in the comfort of VIP.
At 3.40am, the still-packed Hi-Fi grew restless. Chants of “we want Prince” overrode the booming PA, continuing at full roar for well over 15 minutes.
At 4.20am, Prince made his way downstairs, only to make his way back upstairs immediately, and we assume out of the venue.
Word soon spread from venue security that Prince was feeling unwell and had left the building.
Punters regretfully began trickling out of the venue and into the cold morning air a little dejected, but by no means angry.
By any stretch, it was one hell of a party. But it just wasn’t the one we were all hoping for. But hey, that’s Prince – something that you will never understand.
BY LACHLAN KANONIUK
LOVED: The copius amounts of Funkadelic.
HATED: Over-estimating the sleep-deprivation capabilities of my ageing carcass.
DRANK: Water. Stone cold sober from the start of the night's arena show until walking out The Hi-Fi door at 5am.