Let's Not Go Crazy (Prince After-Show)

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You didn’t see this at House of Blues early Tuesday morning (Copenhagen, July, 2010 Getty Images)

Bad things always happen in the middle of the night.

And that was the case with Monday’s “Purple After Jam” at the House of Blues, the post-big concert gig that has become something of a tradition when Prince comes to Chicago.

Prince never played a song during an hour long set that actually began at 2:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Tiny guitar player Andy Allo, a member of Prince’s touring band, did all the heavy lifting. She fronted a band that featured six horn players, drummer, bass, keyboards and two guitars from Prince’s band. After fighting sound problems Allo played tunes from her new “Superconductor” record of which Prince is executive producer……

…..Fans paid between $50 and $75 for “Purple After Jam” general admission tickets that do not mention Prince by name. But in years past he has made cameo appearances and more at late night-early morning gigs at House of Blues, Metro and Park West. “Purple After Jams” are also scheduled for later tonight and tomorrow night.

At 3:30 a.m. Tuesday the crowd was thanked for coming out, a gesture that was greeted with boos.

Prince then shimmied out to the front of the stage and said, “The police said we gotta’ go. Tomorrow things will be better.” But then he prompted the audience and House of Blues personnel, “If they say yes, I’ll stay.”

It didn’t happen.

Many fans chanted “Just one song.” Their tired pleas almost sounded sad.

That didn’t happen either, from an artist who hours earlier had professed so much love for his fans at the United Center.

Questions for the next couple nights:

Will the after-show start earlier?

Will there be refunds for Monday’s show?

As of noon Tuesday, calls to Live Nation and House of Blues have not been returned.

In 2004 Prince played a House of Blues after show that started at 3 a.m. and ended at 5 a.m. What happened this time?

Does this have something to do with our new music loving Rahm n’ Roller mayor, whom I saw in the balcony last week at Rodriguez but not last night at House of Blues?

House of Blues fans who had stuck it out for Monday’s the U.C. show thought he was messing with them again. When three-quarters of the United Center had emptied out on Monday, Prince returned just before midnight for one last encore to play his hits “1999” and “Little Red Corvette.”

Other fans just wanted to see Prince in the intimacy of the House of Blues. Many of them arrived at the 10 p.m. door time, hanging around for four and a half hours before the show began. Dave Crain, the long time owner of Dave’s Records in Lincoln Park was one of them. He stood in the balcony after the show thinking a refund was in order.

“I could understand if they didn’t get set up right, but he could have come out and played one song,” Crain said. “The DJ was great (playing awesome mixes of James Brown, P-Funk and Al Green) and then it was a letdown.”

Prince was in the house much of the night. Just before the show started he peeked through the curtain. Around quarter to three (a great Gary “U.S.” Bonds it by the way), he actually stood next to me in the opera box where I was sitting, waved at the crowd and looked at his watch.

I guess I should have told him to stop goofing around.

Vincent Fleweellen runs an early childhood center in St. Louis and came to Chicago for the show.

“I’m disappointed, but I don’t think I was duped” he said after the short jam. “I’m not so sure he was supposed to appear,” and he waved his $50 “Purple After Jam” ticket in the air that did not mention Prince’s name. “He was present and I guess that follows basic legal procedures.” But basic decency would be a do-over or a refund for the fans who endured Tuesday morning’s purple pain.

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