PRINCE: A Law School Fantasy

...Nothing kills a groupie vibe like a very pregnant tag-a-long!

...Nothing kills a groupie vibe like a very pregnant tag-a-long!

When I was in law school, one of my classmates was a Prince FANATIC! Yes, full word, all caps. I was only made aware of her obsession when Prince was scheduled to come to Los Angeles for a concert. The year, 1985. The tour, Prince and the Revolution Purple Rain Tour, with Sheila E as the guest performer. Can you imagine?  And my friend, Kim, had a ticket.

I was married and pregnant at the time (wasn’t I always?). But my friend Kim was single, available and in love, true love, according to her, with Prince. We were all fans, as this was one year after Purple Rain, the movie, had premiered and by this time, already a cult classic.

Kim made this concert her very reason for living.  She approached her concert preparations with the drama and seriousness of the truly possessed. Thus, the days leading up to the event became an exciting journey for all of us, her law school circle.  Kim shared how she snagged a premium ticket and what she planned to wear. I was a part of her wardrobe planning team, proceeding item by item—shoes (always first), short skirt, provocative blouse, and big hair intentions (it was the 80’s, after all). Her outfit assembly did not take long because she did not plan to wear much!  She admitted that her plan was to go “full groupie” and she was certain (as are most concert goers planning to go full groupie) that Prince would spot her and only her in the crowd. Kim was a gorgeous and sexy young woman, in all of the ways that Prince required. And she was fully prepared to transform herself into her very best version of Apollonia (no small feat!). If I am recalling correctly, I think Kim even planned to have herself delivered to the concert by limo. I may have dreamed this part up as I, being in full vicarious living mode, bought into her fantasy completely. I wanted her to succeed–to meet Prince, steal his heart and I don’t know, have his baby?

Kim was a brilliant law student, please remember, so she had some substantial stuff to offer the Prince of Pop. What she offered her fellow law students in that brief moment in our history was a respite from our dreary lives. In our little law school world, there was not much excitement. Even in the middle of 1980’s LA, we were focused and struggling to keep ourselves afloat and ahead of our academic workload. This would have been before UCLA Law School had even begun its remodel and modernization. So we, basically, found ourselves either in a dingy classroom or a solemn library. Kim’s flight of fancy—this future Prince concert—was an exciting departure from our norm.

As the date loomed closer, she somehow secured an extra ticket. Honestly, I am not sure if she had the ticket all along or just at the last minute. When I look back, knowing my wily friend, I can see how she lead us all up to this point of the extra ticket. How she set up the drama and excitement, how she lulled us into loving Prince even more, seeing him the way she did, through her adoring eyes. How she made us all want to come along and go “full groupie” with her. I was, of course, out of the running. Nothing destroys your groupie vibe more than a very pregnant tag-along. But suddenly, among our friends there was a competition for that blessed ticket– offers of tempting items like class outlines and paper edits. After much scrambling and negotiation, however, the ticket went to one of Kim’s friends who was not a part of her law school circle.

Too bad we did not have then all of the technology that concert goers have today. Back then, none of us had a mobile phone. So Kim could not take us with her. We could not see the pre-concert dress-up session; or the limo ride; or the selfie pictures with Prince on stage in the background. Those of us left behind at school could only continue on with our sad lives in the library, listening to a Purple Rain cassette tape through shoddy ear phones attached to our Walk Man devices. Pathetic.

Of course, Kim did not meet Prince. But she claims she was close enough to the stage to feel as if he was singing only to her. She said then that it was the best concert of her life. I have been fortunate to see Prince perform live since then. My concert experience happened many, many years later and with many other live performances under my belt. But afterward, I felt the same as Kim during my own encounter with the Prince. It was the best concert of my life so far. Now that he is gone, maybe ever.

Gina Carroll