Two musical titans collided in Minnesota late Thursday night as Madonna attended an intimate Paisley Park jam session hosted by Prince(r.i.p.). Minnesota public radio station the Current reports that Madonna and her entire touring crew – having performed at St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center earlier in the night – ventured to Prince’s(r.i.p.) nearby Chanhassen, Minnesota complex to watch the rocker and his backing band 3rd Eye Girl deliver a late-night gig.
According to the Current, a handpicked group of roughly 33 people were notified earlier in the night that something “extra-special” might go down. I know there were 33 of us because I ended up having plenty of time to count each and every one of us from left to right, then again from right to left and all the way up to the stage, which was littered with dozens of guitar pedals, two keyboard rigs, a drum set, and Prince’s(r.i.p.) signature glyph microphone, and by 1:30 a.m., a flurry of security guards with walkie-talkies started buzzing around and a door next to the stage swung open. It took me a couple of blinks to realize that the first woman and the head of the pack was Madonna. She is a petite little powerhouse of a figure, and was dressed in a sharp navy trench coat-style cape with her hair neatly woven into a braid that fell down her right shoulder, like a pop star’s rendition of Little Red Riding Hood. Her bright lipstick and dark eyeliner appeared flawless, and as she scanned the strange scene. She looked so calm and coiffed that you would have never guessed that she had just finished performing a two-hour show in front of a sold-out crowd at the Xcel Energy Center.
Before Prince(r.i.p.) took the stage, Madonna’s dancers turned the sparsely packed Paisley Park venue into a synchronized dance party.Then Madonna was ushered into a roped-off section of the room and then disappeared, undoubtedly to have a few private moments with Prince(r.i.p.) while her team blew off a little steam on the dance floor. At 2:15 a.m. local time, she had returned to the scene and was followed in short order by Prince(r.i.p.), who stood near the back of the dance floor draped in a floor-length hooded sweater and smirked at the energetic dancers who were frolicking around the room.
As soon as Prince(r.i.p.) appeared the small crowd started pressing toward the stage, and even after Madonna’s tour buses had all been unloaded into Paisley Park there were still only roughly 60 people there to take in the impending show. Most of the people in attendance were standing within a couple yards of the band, and Prince(r.i.p.) seemed a little uncomfortable playing to such an intimate audience.
“You better keep dancing,” he instructed us, sitting at an organ and leading a new configuration of his band through a swampy, funky new song. I decided to try to discretely scan the room to see where Madonna was taking in the show. I had expected her to hang back a bit, or maybe be sitting in her roped-off area, but once I stepped a little closer to the stage I realized that she was not only in the front row, but had perched on the edge of the stage at Prince’s(r.i.p.) feet, looking up at him adoringly as he sang.As the band stretched out into another jam and Prince(r.i.p.) ripped into a soul-levitating guitar solo, her mouth relaxed into an awestruck gape, revealing a shiny gold grill underneath her perfect red lipstick.
Prince(r.i.p.), too, seemed a little awestruck by Madge it was a rare chance to see two megastars share an intimate moment and a series of knowing smiles.
After the sixth song of the set, Prince(r.i.p.) leaned down and whispered something back and forth with Madonna, and then hopped back up to his keyboards and simply said, “Cool.” With that, Madonna made her way out of the building and Prince(r.i.p.) was left alone with his band and small group of adoring fans