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Sneed: Missed a chance to see legendary artist

Prince performs during the Super Bowl in 2007. | AP photo

I blew it!

A chance to see royalty in the flesh was gone.

It was June 2013. The evening was cool, the wind was blowing, the setting was tented and it was private. Very private.

Invited to attend the wedding reception of a dear friend, Mellody Hobson, and “Star Wars” czar George Lucas at the lakefront’s Promontory Point, little did I know what surprise was planned for the shank of the evening.

The surprise?

A private concert by the iconic singer Prince.

Without a clue to what was ahead, Chicago’s glitterati — which included former Mayor Daley, Jamie Dimon, John Rogers, Chaz Ebert, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Leslie Hindman, Jerry Reinsdorf and Desiree Rogers — entered Mellody’s glorious tented world.

Guests also included comedian Robin Williams, Gayle King, Tina Brown, Graydon Carter, Andrew Shue, Al Roker, Hayden Christensen, Ne-Yo and the Rev. Al Sharpton.

It was awesome. Amazing. But my exit came before curtains lifted and a man called Prince accompanied by a 22-piece orchestra hit center stage. That was when Mellody Hobson Lucas danced with the musical legend . . . and 500 people rocked to “Purple Rain.”

“It was a fabulous, intimate performance watching Mellody and Prince dance on stage,” said Ariel Investments’ John Rogers. “It was wonderful watching everyone dancing away. It was quite special.”

“It was electric,” columnist Bill Zwecker said.


I’m told Mellody wasn’t just a Prince fan; they were friends and his death Thursday morning was a personal loss.

I don’t know if Prince sang his hit song “When Doves Cry” the night of the wedding reception.

But I’m sure Mellody is thinking about it now.

The Rahmster file . . . 

Hmmm. Do tell.

Sneed hears heads were turning last week by observers watching Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Bruce Rauner’s wife, Diana, engaged in “a private, lively conversation peppered with laughter and chuckles” at a book-signing party at the Racquet Club for AOL co-founder Steve Case.

“Hard to believe the perception Rauner and Rahm are at each other’s throats watching that corner gabfest,” said a witness.

“It was warm. Everyone was watching.”

Top tip?

Sneed hears whispers John Murray, who was once the head of the Chicago Sports Commission and spearheaded a New Year’s event last year called “Chi-Town Rising,” is on a list being eyed by Mayor Emanuel for the city’s new tourism chief.

Word is Emanuel is this/close to picking a replacement for Choose Chicago CEO Don Welsh, who quit to become President and CEO of Destination Marketing Association International in Washington, D.C., when Emanuel appeared to be dragging his feet in renewing Welsh’s $581,822 a year compensation package — and when Sneed tipped rumors Choose Chicago Board chairman Desiree Rogers was eyeing the big bucks job.

The Prince file . . . 

The movie “Purple Rain,” which introduced Prince to theatrical films and was described in the New York Times as “the flashiest album cover ever to be released as a movie”— will be part of the city’s Movies in the Park series to be held this summer at Millennium Park.

Specifically: Tuesday, Aug. 23.

$$$ . . . 

What’s in a name: Legendary abolitionist Harriet Tubman, whose face will now grace the front of the redesigned $20 bill, was born Araminta Ross and nicknamed “Minty.” Her married name was Tubman and as a Union spy she adopted her mother’s first name.

The Bieber beat . . . 

Singer Justin Bieber, decked out in a red hat, was greeted at his Chicago hotel Thursday by 30 “calm, cool and collected” femmes who appeared to be “rather organized and civilized,” a Sneed spotter said.

“They looked like a fan club and quietly cheered him on while his luggage was arriving. One of his handlers also entered the hotel carrying Bieber’s little gray dog.”

Bieber is set to appear in concert at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont on Friday and Saturday night.

Sneedlings . . .

Secretary of State Jesse White, White Sox announcer and kidney donor Ed Farmer, Sox great Harold Baines, outfielder Jerry Sands and Southpaw Friday at the James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph St., Concourse Level, from noon to 1 p.m. registering Illinois organ and tissue donors in honor of National Donate Life Month. . . . Today’s birthdays: Jack Nicholson, 79, Peter Frampton, 66, Marshawn Lynch, 30, and Jean Cocozza, priceless.