July 1st 1990 was a momentous date. For the first and only time, I got to see one of my idols live. Except, I didn’t. Well, not much. Because I missed it to watch the England vs Cameroon game in the World Cup.
From around the time of 1999/Purple Rain, Prince had been one of my idols. When the chance came round to go to see him at the Birmingham NEC with a friend, I jumped at the chance.
What I didn’t realise when we booked the gig months in advance was that the match would clash with one of the World Cup quarter finals. As luck would have it, it was the colossal clash between England vs Cameroon.
At some point during the second half of the game I realised that in the foyer the security guards and merch stand stand were watching the game on a tiny portable TV. Making some flimsy excuse, I slipped down to the foyer. There were three or four other blokes there doing the same thing. A couple more came to join us. Then a couple more.
By the time Lineker’s first penalty went in, there were at least a hundred people gathered round this tiny table watching the game.
The Nude Tour was so called because a) Prince is a perv, obviously, and b) because the whole production was very stripped back. Gone were the
expensive grandiose stage sets and huge on-stage band, and in place was a leaner band and more back-to-basics set. There was a central part of the set that changed from gig to gig, which was basically just Prince at a piano. For obvious reasons I have no idea what Prince played in Birmingham, but Wikipedia helpfully lists some of these bonus Prince compositions and cover versions:
“In addition, Janet Jackson’s “What Have You Done for Me Lately”, “Little Red Corvette”, “Do Me, Baby”, “Bambi”, Smokey Wilson’s “Don’t Make Me Pay for Your Mistakes”, Z. Z. Hill’s “Down Home Blues”, Joni Mitchell covers “Blue Motel” and “A Song for U”, “Jerk Out”, Fontella Bass’ “Rescue Me”, “Respect”, “Irresistible Bitch”, “When Doves Cry”, “Thieves in the Temple”, “Venus de Milo”, “Under The Cherry Moon” and Digital Underground’s “The Humpty Dance” were incorporated into the setlist of some concerts.”
By the time Lineker’s second penalty went in, there were easily a couple of hundred people watching the game, and we let out a collective cheer that – the urban legend goes – Prince actually heard it on stage and looked over to see what the noise was.
I wouldn’t know; I was hugging strangers and dancing with glee.