Prince Concert
A photo my friend managed to sneak of the concert when audience members were invited on stage

Last night I had the opportunity to see the legendary Prince live twice in one night. Up until a few days ago I wasn’t going at all.

Tickets for the main show at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre were close to $200 each for the close seats and considering that’s two thirds the price of a 3 day festival and I’d seen Prince before at Coachella I was originally going to pass. A few days ago I was offered free tickets and that’s just something you don’t turn down. Then came the announcement that Prince was going to perform at an after party at Sugar Nightclub. Tickets for that could have been $100+ and I would have paid.

Now, I’m not a huge Prince fan. I’m not completely familiar with his large catalog of songs except for his hits. So the first 15-20 minutes of the main show I didn’t really recognize the songs performed. But that didn’t matter because the energy him and his band dish out is crazy. The main set was almost an hour and a half and they played literally non-stop. There were no breaks between songs. One song flowed right into the next. The band has stamina. So from a show standpoint it was incredible. It was hilarious watching when some of the VIPs were invited on stage that some were just enjoying dancing on stage so much they totally failed to even notice Prince was within in arms reach.

A couple things that spoiled the experience for me personally though. First, there was a middle aged lady standing at the seat next to me who was a non-stop “Clappy McScreamer.” 80% of the concert she was either clapping or screaming or both. Even through the more mellow songs. I’m happy she’s a hardcore fan having the time of her life… I was surprisingly okay with the screaming… but the incessant clapping was driving me nuts. There were times where NO ONE in the building was clapping, but this lady would randomly clap. Seriously? You can’t enjoy a concert without clapping constantly?

The other thing that bugged me was just how ridiculous security was. I’ve heard all about how strict Prince is about cameras, but wow… witnessing it first-hand was bizarre. I have never been to a concert were there’s been almost no flashes going off and I’ve never been to one where it felt like you could be tackled by a pack of security people for sneezing. I was sitting front row in one of the lower bowl sections of the arena right by the stairs and seeing uniformed people marching to any sight of light that might be an LCD screen was distracting.

I got my camera in, but I didn’t pull it out once. There was no way in hell I was going to be able to get any footage. Not with where I was sitting and not with every single security person’s number one priority being to stop cameras.

So those two things prevented me from enjoying the show as much as I should have considering what was happening on stage.

Prince Afterparty
poster saved from Sugar Nightclub's Facebook page

I enjoyed the after party more than the main concert. Maybe it was because of the more relaxed and intimate vibe of a nightclub setting and the fact you felt like you were part of something really special. Just about anyone can see a big music star at an arena show, but to see one in a club? That’s pretty much a once in a lifetime thing. I really don’t think you can talk to anyone who was in attendance that wasn’t blown away by the after party. Unless of course they got caught by the “maglight brigade” and either got kicked out or had their phone/camera confiscated.

There were spotters at the front and in the upper level of the club that would shine the high powered flashlights at anyone who dare put their phone or camera up like a police helicopter shining a spotlight on a perp in a police chase. Again, distracting… but despite that the afterparty was one of the most amazing moments of my concert-going life. Here’s a legendary guitar player performing 20 feet away from me in a nightclub until 3:30am (a full hour after nightclubs in Victoria legally have to be shut down normally) and on top of that you have another legend in saxophonist Maceo Parker in the mix. A huge thank you goes out to Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin (who was in attendance) and the Victoria Police for allowing Sugar Nightclub to stay open an extra hour.

Summing it up, I seriously disagree with Prince’s stand on camera policy and probably won’t go to anymore of his shows because of it… but I also felt his two performances (especially the afterparty) were incredible can’t miss once in a lifetime events.

Be sure to check out The Times Colonist’s Mike Devlin’s review of the concert. He had the benefit of being in box seating so there probably were less security staring in his direction:


  1. FYI: Prince suffers from epilepsy, hence the reason no flashes as it could set off a seizure. Sorry you felt so annoyed, but I for one found it refreshing to not have to look at a sea of cellphones taping the entire show!

  2. I do have a bias in that my hobby and the whole reason my site exists is recording concerts and sharing the experience through my lens. I knew the enforcement would be strict, but security was so prominent that I found myself not paying attention to the show as much as I wanted to because there were a bunch of security people running up to someone or a maglight was aimed at someone in the crowd and all I could think about is, “oh great, who got caught this time.” Strangely the security checks at the gates were really lax. Not even a pat down at the arena show.

  3. I was a little disappointed by the main show. From what I can tell, we had the shortest set of all of his Canadian performances (just over 2hrs).

    Also, can you tell me if Prince performed any vocals at the after party?

  4. He sure did. Prince and the band hit the stage just before 2am at Sugar Nightclub. Their main set was nearly an hour. Prince sang quite a bit. He even stage dived by falling backwards on to the crowd and just got pushed back up. At one point he started singing “Oooooohhhhhh… Vancouver!!” Which was followed by the entire crowd trying to correct him singing “Ooooooohhhhh… VICTORIA!!”. He messed it up 3 times. Another interesting moment was when he was playing bass at the front of the stage and I guess the wireless signal started crackling. Prince just smiled and laughed and switched to a guitar after a couple bars. Prince was actually smiling quite a bit during the afterparty. After the hour set, there was a break and then they came back on and played until 3:30am.

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