A short report about my trip to MPLS for Celebration 2023.
Briefly the facts:
Airline: KLM/Delta via Amsterdam
Stay: Hilton Bloomington (Paisley Park Partner Hotel)
Celebration Ticket: Diamond VIPDay 0,Wednesday, June 7th
10:00 at this time you could pick up the tickets in the lobby of the Hilton Hotel.
There should be a celebration merchandise stand in the lobby from 10:00 a.m. However, the assembly of the shelves did not start until 9:55.
After waiting 90 minutes, the stand was ready and you could stock up on Celebration-related merch (see also Gallery 'What I bought')
Then I drove about 20 minutes by car to the Electric Fetus. In contrast to the 2017-2019 celebrations, I found the selection to be very modest and the opening times (until 6 p.m.) were also considerably shorter than before. In contrast to the past, I was only able to find one release from Related Artists that I didn't have in my collection (CD single Jellybean Johnson, Renaissance).
Continue to Cheapo, a 2nd hand record store 5 minutes drive from Fetus. A similar picture, maybe some collectors came before me?
From there I went downtown to clarify the parking possibilities for the W-Hotel party the next evening. A car park right next to the hotel was hit. Perfect for parking there next night and going straight to the hotel without having to walk across downtown.
Since I was downtown, I quickly went to the Prince painting and First Avenue for the usual photos.
Meanwhile 2:00 pm and I drove to the Mall of America to get something to eat at the food court. Met other Prince fans there, chatted a little etc. and drove to the hotel around 4:00 p.m.
18:45 Departure to Park Theater to see Dr. to see Mambo live. Parking in the adjacent residential area is not a problem.
The concert started at 7:35 p.m. and ended at 10:15 p.m. with a 15-minute break. 2.5h Prince Songs live, with highlight when Margie Cox sang 'Standing at the Altar'.
The concert was a lot of fun. It was very relaxed (location cinema, everyone had a seat and a very good view of the stage). Back at the hotel at 11:00 p.mDay 1,Thursday June 8th
The shuttle buses were ready at the Hilton Hotel from 8:30 a.m., departing at 9:00 a.m. There was enough space and at 9:00 a.m. the buses started to move.
Arrive Paisley Park approximately 9:30am. Unfortunately, the bus driver didn't know which gate he had to drive into at Paisley Park, the result was a blocked road and an overwhelmed bus driver who turned his bus in a street that was far too small. Queue in front of the Paisley Park entrance, mobile phones were packed in small bags, metal detector check and you were in Paisley Park. On the first
Look no changes from previous years. Continue to the Soundstage, where all the VIP ticket holders gathered (normal ticket holders were only allowed to the evening event). It was surprisingly full, around 300 VIP tickets were sold.
After the greeting etc. we were divided according to our Diamond/Pearl group. I now had the museum tour. In contrast to the tours earlier at the Celebrations, there was now a 150-person group that was able to move more or less freely through the open spaces. Tour guides were available everywhere to answer questions. The scope of the rooms covered a small museum tour, which can be purchased separately outside of the celebration.
There was also a photo spot where you could have your picture taken and have the picture in the celebration frame sent to you via email.
Unfortunately, the tour and photo were finished after 45-60 minutes. There was no way out of the area and it was backed up in the long corridor to the merchandise shop (door locked). With an outside temperature of 30 degrees and poor air conditioning in the corridor, some visitors had problems.
At some point the door was opened and about 150 people went to the small merchandise shop, etc. It wasn't possible to go on to the food tent, it's not finished yet.
Around 12:00 we were allowed to go to the dining tent, choose a seat and walk to thethe buffet. 15 minutes later, when you were at the buffet, you were told that it would take a while to sit down again. 10 mins later there was food, but big line, you had to queue again and after another 20-30 minutes you had very vegetarian Food was really delicious.
At 2:00 p.m. we continued at the NPG Music Club. There was exclusive video footage of Prince Yokohama September 9, 1986 to see. Unfortunately the canvas was crumpled and since the light was left on the contrast was very poor.
At 3:00 p.m. we went to the studio, where chairs were set up and we had the opportunity to hear unreleased Prince songs:
7 E-Flat Version 8AUG92, 4:53
Everything could be so fine 27JUL87, 3:14
The Rock that keeps rolling, 7AUG92, 4:47
All the Kings men, ?SEP2002, 6:14
I believe I love u, 27JUL87, 1:30
Don’t play with love, 28JUN85, with John L Nelson, 3:21
Block Heart, 4APR2006, 4:28
Your such a tease, 2006, 3:02
All the shared together now, 9SEP2006, 3:32
Soft + Wet Acoustic Guitar with Audience 2:48
Das war mein Highlight. Sehr interessant, zum Teil sehr gute Songs.
4:00 p.m. Departure of the shuttle buses, arrival at the Hilton Hotel approx. 4:45 p.m
19:00 with a private car (there was no shuttle service offered) to downtown to the W-Hotel. Into the multi-storey car park, then another
Met Prince's friend from Detroit and went to the party at 8pm.
Lower area accessible to all. DJ Lenka hung up and although it had just started, the mood was already good.
I went to the upper area, VIP only, where there was a small buffet (various types of cheese, bread, etc. and also cup cakes and other sweets.). Water with lemon was free, everything
others could be bought at the bar. Also at the top a conference room for the icon
Guitar panel at 21:00.
The panel started on time and went into great detail about the construction of the guitar (which components were used, why not others), etc. Less funny Prince stories, more technical details.
At 10:00 p.m. the panel was over, I went down to the party again and around 10:45 p.m. I started my journey to the hotel (jet lag + VERY early shuttle bus). 23:15 back at the hotel.Day 2, Friday June 9th
Got up at 6:30 (!!!), shuttle was ready at 7:30, departure 8:00, arrival at Paisley Park 8:45. Cell phone in pocket, etc.
09:00 Unreleased video for VIP and GA Diamond visitors. The first rows are reserved for VIP. This time in the sound stage and the picture quality was significantly better than the day before. The video was London September 7, 1993. The first 40 minutes of the show was shown.
09:40 the New Artists panel. " Band were introduced. I wasn't really enthusiastic about it beforehand, but I was wrong. It was really fun, the two of them
to listen to bands.
10:00 then concert Shelby J. The concert was significantly better than their 2019 concert at the Capri Theater. Mix of Prince, R+B classics and own songs.
11:00 VIP only recording session. We were taken to a studio, in front of us was the NPG (Tommy Barbarella, Levis, Damon, Mr. Hayes,...). We all got our headphones on and the recording session of 'Love 2 the 9s' was reenacted. We heard Prince's instructions from a band, the music was played live by the NPG. Multiple takes and explanations. Very informative, I go to the Celebration for panels like this.
12:00 VIP Lunch. This time very smooth, no long waiting time.
1:00 p.m. Panel in the Soundstage with Chaka Khan. How she met him, funny stories, etc.
14:00 Hip Hop panel with Chuck D, Tony M. and at the end (delayed plane) Doug E. Fresh. Also very interesting stories.
15:00 Shuttle back to the Hilton Hotel
21:00 Dinner with some Prince fans. Then drove by car to a bus station in Chanhassen to park the car there. To the surprise drove by
there a shuttle to Paisley Park (wasn't listed on the official shuttle schedule!!).
23:00 Arrival at Paisley Park for DJ-Nice's VIP + GA party. Since everyone was already in Paisley Park, admission was very relaxed, you could keep your cell phone, etc.
DJ Nice was on stage and Doug E. Fresh got the crowd pumped up, was nice enough, but tiredness made itself felt and called an Uber around 1am
(Shuttle would have gone again at 2/2:30) to get to the car, then back at the hotel around 2:00. At this point, from Thursday 7:00 a.m. to Saturday 2:00 a.m., I slept about 6 hours!Day 3, Saturday June 10th.
Visited various thrift stores in the morning to look for Prince merch, then visited a Prince 'exchange partner' and returned to the hotel around 2:00 p.m.
At 3:30 p.m. the shuttle buses were ready, this time in contrast to the days before, entry while the heavy rain was pattering on the asphalt (yes, I didn't have a jacket with me).
16:30 arrival Paisley Park, sun :-)
17:00 Second part of the unreleased Prince Video London 1993
18:00 Fam Panel with US Podcasters and Dr. Sparkberry. For me personally rather a weak panel.
19:00 VIP dinner
20:00 Rosie Gaines Tributes. Rosie's message to fans, pre-recorded via phone. Very emotional. Rosie's daughter was on stage.
20:10 7 panel with DJ Rashida, Levis Seacers Jr., Tona M. ? and the spiritual meaning of 7 and Prince should be discussed. After a few minutes it swung
to a Prince anecdote panel, very entertaining.
21:00 - 22:30 Sound of Blackness and Stokley Concert. A bit disappointing for me personally. Do you really want to hear a gospel concert on Saturday night? Stokley only convinced me when he played Prince songs. Maybe I'm missing the background, I've never really dealt with Mint Condition.
10:30pm We had to leave Paisley Park for makeovers for the party (chairs had to be taken down). Unfortunately, it was very cold that evening (13 degrees). Waited in the tent
already the Pearl ticket holders to the party. That meant waiting outside the tent for about 45 minutes. Since almost no one had a jacket with them, collective freezing was the order of the day.
23:15 Party with DJ Rashida. Shelby J came on stage and fired up the crowd. To everyone's surprise, instruments were once again set up on stage and a band made up of members from Shelby J, Stokley, Sound of Blackness played a short Tina Turner tribute and then various Prince cover versions. After the set, Shelby and Rashida came back on stage.
02:00 Party ready, you got your gift when you left. A USB stick in the form of a music cassette with 2 new songs.
03:00 Back to the hotel.Day 4, Sunday June 11th
10:00 Depart shuttle to Paisley Park
11:00 Gospel Breakfast with local Gospel group. It wasn't The Steeles as advertised.
12:30 Closing speech very emotional with Norrine Nelson (be sure to watch the video)
13:00 Paisley Park is now open to all Celebration attendees (the spaces that were released) and free to roam. The highlight was the shoe room, which was previously inaccessible. I'm not big on shoes, but it was very interesting. Lots of information videos in a loop and I didn't think I'd spend almost 45 minutes in the shoe exhibition.
14:00 departure by shuttle to the hotel (you could have stayed until 17:00)
15:00 arrival hotel
16:00 - 21:00 Visit Mall of America and do some shopping and dining.Day 5, Monday June 12th.
12:00 from hotel checkout
13:00 Return of the rental car, security check and then visit to the Prince Airport Shop. Attention, the shop is located in Terminal 1. Travelers from T2 (for example with Iceland Air) cannot visit it. In the airport shop there was some merchandise that was NOT available in Paisley Park.
17:00 Departure to AmsterdamDay 6, Tuesday June 13th
08:00 Arrival in Amsterdam
13:00 departure to Berlin, arrival 14:30
Summarize (for me)
Best concert: Dr. Mambo im Parkway Theater
Best Interview Panel: 7
Best Interactive Panel: Unreleased song listening session
Best Room Museum: Schuhe
Beste Party: W-Hotel. Lenka on fire
Saving tip: You can start your journey home on Sunday evening. You save an overnight stay, a day of rental car and a day of vacation.