Well, that was four of the best shows I've ever seen in my life. I just watched Prince perform for six to eight hours, and I would have watched a third night as well if we were lucky enough to have one.
He's just mind-blowing. He is a force of nature. And his band is amazing, too. Here, read some reviews:
- SF Weekly: Prince Delights Himself (And a Small Crowd) at DNA Lounge
- San Jose Mercury News: Prince royally rocks San Francisco.
- Rock Subculture: Day 1, Late Show and Day 2, Early Show.
- SF Chronicle: Prince makes a racket at DNA Lounge.
- East Bay Express: The Sheer, Epic Princeliness of Prince.
- City Sound Inertia: "I got a lot of hits. We could be here all night."
My mom couldn't stop talking about how much this show reminded her of seeing Hendrix at Woodstock.
This has been an exhausting few weeks, but: we nailed it.
Our staff did such a fantastic job under incredibly stressful conditions! Many of them put in double shifts, two days in a row.
In fact, a number of customers who were sending us hate mail complemented the staff, e.g., "This show was terrible and this is the worst venue the world has ever seen, even though the staff was nice." We got two phone calls today from people calling to say only, "You guys did a great job and your staff was awesome." Nobody ever calls, or even emails, to say things like that. People only call to complain about something!
So let's hear it for the DNA crew. Well done, folks!
Lots of people were pissed off about lots of things, though. The entitlement ran deep. So very deep. A few of the more popular things that people hated on us over:
- It was so expensive, you're so greedy. (The ticket price wasn't our decision, but even so, I'd say that the fact that all four shows sold out in 90 minutes means that the market says that it was underpriced. Also, you'd have paid that much for seats in section 1 of the Oakland Coliseum and still been seated as far from the stage as DNA Lounge is from Slim's!)
- It was totally unfair of you to announce the show and put tickets on sale at the same time. (Also not our decision, but I can't think of anything more "fair" than leaving your opportunity to get a ticket almost entirely to chance.)
- It was totally unfair of you to release 40 more tickets for a discounted price on the day of the show, so you should give me (and, presumably, the other 3,000 people) a refund. (Also not our decision, but come on, these people apparently believe that if any product ever goes on sale, every person who has ever bought one should get their money back.)
- It was crowded, it shouldn't have been crowded. (Presumably they'd rather we let half as many people in, charge twice as much, and halve their chances of being able to attend at all?)
- I got here late and chose to stand at the back behind a tall guy and couldn't see, you suck.
- It's unfair that you won't give me a VIP booth for free, because I'm old / my wife is pregnant / my service animal doesn't like to stand for that long.
Overall, though, response has been overwhelmingly positive.
We must live in a far more violent world than I realized, though, because it seems that about one in fifteen people are mugged and have their credit cards stolen over any given three week period. These were all people trying to use scalped tickets, hoping that if they all gave us exactly the same obvious story, we wouldn't check their credit card at will-call. Probably a couple of them were telling the truth, but we heard this story so many times it's just statistically impossible.
At its peak, the line wrapped all the way around the block: it turned the corner onto Tenth Street. Here's some video I shot of it, when it was not-quite-yet turning the corner:
Still, once the doors were open, we got all those people inside in about 20 minutes.
One of the things Prince wanted was a curtain at the front of the stage. We don't have one, so we rented one, and it was pretty awesome, check this out:
Once the band was set up, though, the curtain was kind of in the way, so they decided not to use it at all. Bummer.
I've realized that I never told our Prince story from 2000! We were deep in the throes of remodeling, and there was no floor in the main room: they were excavating the drains, so it was basically piles of dirt and open trenches full of rust and horror. It looked like this. This is the view from standing on the stage, looking at where the main bar is now:
And then we got a phone call: Prince would like to play a secret after-show there in three days.
Barry and I stood on top of one of those piles of dirt staring at that room for hours, yelling at each other and trying to figure out how we were going to cover this open pit with plywood and rent and install an entire sound system in two days. Because you do not say no to Prince. But we did. We said no.
Thirteen years later, though!
Here's a view we don't get to see very often: Prince's tour bus, shot from a neighbor's apartment:
This is approximately as close as you were allowed to get to Prince with a camera in hand.
Even I couldn't get a photo pass. In my own club.
But you don't say no to Prince.