Fly on the Wall 1418 

Your Pesky Fly dishes on the time he attended a secret Prince show.

First Person

Pictures or it didn't happen. Isn't that what they say these days? But mobile phones didn't have cameras in 1997, and the phone I answered that sweaty August morning was attached to the wall. My friend Kelly was calling because she had news she thought I'd want to know.

"PRINCE IS PLAYING A SECRET CONCERT AT THE NEW DAISY TONIGHT! OMG!" she exclaimed. Well, she didn't say "OMG." Nobody said "OMG" back then. But that was the gist.

Kelly didn't have details. She wasn't 100 percent sure if Prince was really playing a second show following his big concert at the BassPro Shops (formerly known as the Pyramid). But the last time Kelly was 99 percent sure about something, the two of us went to the Peabody Hotel, called the front desk from a pay phone, asked for Tom Waits' room, and Waits answered.

click to enlarge flyby_album.jpg

Words like "magic" are overused, but there was alchemy involved in what happened at the New Daisy that night. Wearing shiny lavender jammies, Prince owned the stage, running through songs like "The Ballad of Dorothy Parker," "Baby I'm a Star," and "1999." He covered James Brown, Parliament, and the Staples Singers. The highlight of the show, however, was when Prince introduced his special guest, 80-year-old Stax royalty Rufus Thomas. Then the unflappable Purple One proceded to nerd the hell out, saying he didn't ever want his time with Rufus to end.

There was conflict too. And drama! When Prince encouraged Thomas to cut loose and freestyle, he balked: "Oh no." There was a back and forth between the two musical icons. Something was said about "nursery rhymes," and then, with increasing confidence, the two men started improvising together. I wish I could tell you what was said and sung, but the details have slipped away. All that remains is the memory of a grin so big it threatened to crack my face and a similar memory of so many other people wearing the same dopey expression.

I've got no pictures, but I swear to God (and Wendy and Lisa too), it happened. You'll just have to trust me and the few hundred other people lucky enough to get a call.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
    • Health Scare

      Poorest Memphis neighborhoods have least access to health care.
    • Fresh Air

    • The Past for the Future

      With a new leader, the Lynching Sites Project will commemorate a silenced death.

Blogs

Fly On The Wall Blog

Winning: You Can't Blame Trump for Selling the Sizzle

News Blog

South Memphis Becomes Bicycle 'Lab' With New Grant

Hungry Memphis

New MemPops Store in Crosstown

News Blog

Planet Fitness Coming Soon to Imperial Lanes Site

Beyond the Arc

Beyond the Arc Podcast #67: Is it time to worry yet?

Politics Beat Blog

Luttrell Weighs in for Governor's Proposed Gas-Tax Increase

News Blog

New Plan, New Task Force Coming for Riverfront

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Music Video Monday: Alyssa Moore

Tiger Blue

Memphis Tigers: By the Numbers

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Chris Davis

Readers also liked…

ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation