Prince invites fans to party with him

Published 1:00 am Friday, October 30, 2015

CHANHASSEN — Prince seems to be shedding his reclusive reputation and becoming a party animal.

In recent weeks the superstar has hosted late-night jam sessions where he serenaded Madonna, celebrated the Minnesota Lynx’s WNBA championship and showcased his latest protege, singer Judith Hill. Hundreds of fans descended on suburban Paisley Park Studios on Saturday night, paying $10 each to hear Prince and his backing band raise the roof until 3 a.m.

“Y’all want to party with me?” Prince asks the crowd at one point.

Email newsletter signup

So why the new openness? Prince, of course, isn’t talking.

“Why is he so friendly? Why is he open now? He’s inviting strangers into his house. Why? Why? What’s the reason? Let’s ask everyone else besides him,” Prince — wearing a purple tunic and large gold chain — teased from the darkened stage as he blasted through a funky mix that included oldies by Bill Withers and Sly and the Family Stone and his own songs (“Alphabet St.,” “Hot Thing”).

Since Prince wasn’t giving interviews that night (he rarely does), here’s what fans had to say:

“I think he’s been open for a while,” said Gina Meier, 48, of Richfield, seeing her seventh Prince performance at Paisley Park. “He’s done Paisley Park stuff for years. It’s like he’s brought us into his home.”

Meier described Paisley Park as “a safe place” for fans, with no drugs or alcohol allowed (Red Bull, juice, water, ginger ale and Coke were for sale).

Fans browsed through Prince T-shirts at the merchandise booth in the lobby, adorned by a large heart-shaped mirror and another mirror with the word “Love.” An ATM machine was nearby. For $40, fans could take a “mini-tour” of Paisley Park, where Prince’s gold records are on the walls and the purple motorcycle he rode in his 1984 breakout movie, “Purple Rain,” is on display. In between music sets, a DJ spun Prince music as well as R&B hits.

“If you don’t leave here feeling fantastic, there’s something wrong with you,” Meier said.

Andy Kiernan, 45, of Minnetonka, who has been at Paisley Park several times, brought a friend to see her first show at the white-walled studio complex bathed in purple lights outside of Minneapolis.

“My impression is it’s every Prince fan’s dream to have the access he allows now,” Kiernan said. “I feel this is him opening up a little bit.”

Longtime Prince fan Mark Anderson, 42, of Eagan brought his 17-year-old son Noah, who was making his second trip to Paisley Park. Anderson said Prince’s music “just got with a groove and it just sucks you in. It’s mesmerizing.”

“Some people think that ‘Purple Rain’ is his best music,” Anderson said. “I just love what he’s doing now.”