Friday, April 22, 2016

Prince played the Orange Bowl on April 7, 1985

Prince performs at the Orange Bowl, April 7, 1985.
Photograph by Phil Sandlin / Associated Press
(Click image to enlarge)

The Miami Herald's Howard Cohen takes a look back Prince's connection to South Florida in a piece for today's Miami Herald.

Writing about Prince's Orange Bowl concert on April 7, 1985, Cohen uses a quote from Herald story that ran the following day:
“Not since 1969, when Jim Morrison of The Doors was arrested at a Miami concert for lewd behavior, has a rock ‘n’ roll star come so close to depicting onstage what Ann Landers calls The Act,” wrote a Miami Herald reporter.
Cohen forgot to mention that the anonymous "Miami Herald reporter" was one Laura Misch, who was Playboy's Miss February in 1975. (I'm not sure what that has to do with anything, but I thought I'd mention it since Cohen didn't.)

But for someone who vaguely remembers Prince even being in Miami, one of the more interesting sidebars on the musician - in my opinion - appeared in the Herald that weekend. It was written by Joel Achenbach and ran on the day of Prince's concert.

Prince is not the kind of guy who keeps a listed phone number. You can't just call him up. "Yo, Prince, up for a ballgame and a couple of sixes tonight?" It would never work.

Rather he is the Artist. He is what they call "out there." Precise whereabouts Saturday: unknown.

"He's got about five hotels booked in town. He could stay at any one of the five. He likes his privacy," reports Chuck DeBow, director of marketing for Prince's Purple Rain tour, which makes its final stop tonight in Miami's Orange Bowl in front of a crowd that could reach 60,000.

Orange Bowl stadium manager Walter Golby gave that estimate Saturday afternoon as roadies climbed the high scaffolding of the set. Golby said only 51,000 tickets had been sold at that time, leaving 19,000 still unpurchased at $17.50 a pop.

Rain is possible, but not probable. Rather than bring rain gear, concert-goers should just wear something purple, as the tickets suggest. Forecaster Andrew Stern of the National Weather Service said there is a 20 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms today and tonight, but added, "the chance of getting wet at the Prince concert is unlikely."

Prince might not even show up until the last minute. Promoters are keeping things secret. Even the roadies aren't talking. Ask a question of someone on the Prince tour, and he will look into the distance, lost in time, above the language of mortals.

"You wanna do a story, do a story about how the crew hasn't slept in two days," growled one roadie in the lobby of the Omni International Hotel.

Moaned another similarly anonymous and bleary-eyed man, "He (Prince) has two days to play around, while we set up the stage."

Another chunk of the entourage is camping at the Grand Bay Hotel, but there was no sign Saturday of Prince himself.

"He'll get here when he's ready," DeBow said. "As an artist, we just let him have his way."


His way is not sitting well with church leaders in town, who had a problem reconciling the holy rituals of Easter Sunday with the performance later that day of a man who writhes around on stage and simulates the love act. The Miami City Commission approved the concert March 8 before realizing that it fell on Easter. Commissioners have since denounced Prince's autoerotic gestures as immoral, but the city officials still gave away 400 concert tickets to underprivileged children.

Students at Dade Christian School have been banned from attending the concert, just as they were banned from seeing the Jacksons in November.

"Bad is bad, regardless of when it is," said school administrator James Virtue, citing school policy. "We believe that rock music is not appropriate for Christian young people. It's totally contrary to the word of God."

A lot of fans, however, are willing to risk the wrath of church and parents in order to see the singer of When Doves Cry, 1999, Little Red Corvette and Purple Rain.

UPDATE: In 2013, James Virtue became headmaster of the Island Christian School in Monroe County where presumably, he continued preaching about the evils of "rock music."

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