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Celebration Day 1 Debrief

Intro/Concert Footage

First, everyone started together in a sectioned off part of the soundstage. There was a big screen with the Celebration 2017 art, and a large Prince symbol in the back left corner, lit up with progressive lights. It was like he was watching over the whole thing!

We were welcomed by Damaris and encouraged to be fully present during the weekend. She mentioned it’s “up to us to continue his legacy.” And noted “if you are a fan of Prince, You are a part of his legacy.”

They then showed 45 minutes of the May 25, 2014 show at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam. EXCELLENT quality! 

Songs included :
Something in the Water Does Not Compute
Pretzelbodylogic/Sailor’s Hornpipe/Stratus
What’s My Name/Sacrifice of Victor (he crip walked during this part we fell out)
Piano Segment (How Come U Don’t Call Me, Condition of the Heart, Diamonds & Pearls)
Purple Rain (You may have seen the clip of this where he invites people to Paisley)

Break

30 minute break in the food tent. They showed music videos while people enjoyed snacks or had their meal plan meals. Tyka was among us being normal. We didn’t attempt speak this time since we met her at the tribute last year, but somehow got some alone time with her and her husband while they waited for food. Still super nice!

Good idea to have music during that break since a lot of us were singing along as we moved along to the next session.

NPG 1989 - 2000

Panel discussion with Morris Hayes, Levi Seacer, Tony M and Damon Dixon. They shared their origin stories. 

Morris - In the house band for the Glam Slam, later in Carmen Electra’s Band. Opened for P during the D&P tour. Had a passive interest in being in P’s band but not totally enthused due to hours, pay, etc. When the tour was over, he went to thank Prince for having him on and P said “your work here is not done.” (lol) Kept hearing from others that he’d been added to P’s band, but never had official word about it. He was like “whaaat?” At a club in a “mandatory fun” type appearance…told by Gilbert (P’s security guy) that he should go speak to P and to be excited because he’d basically already told Prince that Morris accepted the invitation to be in the band, though he hadn’t yet. Went to speak to Prince… 

Prince : “What’s up grandson? Needs some work? Need a job?”

Morris was excited at first about the opportunity, then like…oh boy…i’m in Prince’s band now…with a dread/nervous/excitement.

Levi - Was in Sheila’s band playing guitar. Recruited to join P’s as a bassist. Funny story of P yelling out “If it ain’t from Minneapolis, it ain’t nothing” during a concert…while half the band was from the bay area (Sheila, Miko, Levi, Bonnie).

Tony M/Damon Dixon - Wranglers during the filming of Purple Rain (in charge of getting the extras where they needed to be). They were hanging out dancing in the bathroom with their boombox when P walked in. P watched for a while then left. One of P’s people gave them a tape with 7 songs on it and instructions to make up dances to them all by 5am the next morning. They worked on the dances all night in Tony M’s mom’s apartment.

On Tony M’s raps 
He was very aware that people did not like his rapping..even at the time. 

On Goldnigga saving a lot of the NPG
“I was in a wheelchair with a tailpipe on it and Prince pulled me out…he saved me” Note : Morris is a CHARACTER OKAY?! LOOOOOL

On the band playing other people’s songs, but P not allowing other people to do his
Morris questioned P about this while practicing a cover. P’s response “because this is what they MEANT to do…”

On the Creation of Diamonds and Pearls’ Lead Single
After a promo concert at WB, the President of WB called Levi and said the album didn’t have a single yet…and wanted Levi to tell Prince this. Levi was like “why me?!” They felt he could deliver the message better. Levi let P know and he was upset…but worked on a song in the meantime. 5 hours later…P called Levi into the studio at 5 am…hit play…and played Cream. After it was over P asked him, “Do you think they’ll like it?”

Prince’s Guitars

With guitar tech Takuemi and Dave Rusen creator of the Cloud Guitar

- The Cloud Guitar from Purple Rain was made from scratch in 3 weeks.
- Prince never broke a string on a guitar, at least while Takuemi was with him
- Takuemi caught the guitar at the 2004 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, handed it to Oprah, and walked off. As instructed by Prince

Special Guest Concert

Front row for George Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelic!

I will say…it was FUNKY!

I will also say….Ghost Prince would have made a FORTUNE for the swear jar….

Wow…

And so concludes day 1!

*Pics from the Paisley Park Twitter Account

Also, fun fact: I just discovered yesterday how important it is to actually freaking BREATHE during your dances.

Like, I was practicing my hornpipe and hardly getting through it. And my friend is watching and when I’m finished she comes up to me and is like “Hey, you know, you gotta breathe more.” And we talked about it a bit and she explained to me how she sees me tensing up more and more as I struggle to get through the full dance and especially that last half step. And explains to me: “You’re so focused on steps and technique that you forget, and then of course you tire and begin to struggle. In response you tighten up to push through, which means you *can’t* breathe properly anymore because you’re just clenching all those muscles in your core and shoulders and neck. Try to breathe deeper and loosen up those clenched muscles.”

So after that talk I danced that hornpipe again, this time actively concentrating on taking the deepest breaths I could, in and out, almost like I was doing a yoga practice rather than dance. And I felt so much better! And obviouly looked much better as well. Much less struggle, way more stage presence. Win-win situation!

And that is the story of how I, a senior dancer of over 30 years, learned about the importance of breathing.

(I’ll have to test and try this some more over the next weeks to examine if this “loosening up” to breathe makes me loose any sharpness and technique. Right now, I’m still in the initial stage of being amazed how big a change it made.)