This week I’m in Minnesota for Residency for school as part of my doctoral program. Well, I’m here at least yesterday through the rest of the weekend. Anyway, I knew I had to make this trip and when I realized it was the day after my favorite artists’ Prince’s, birthday I thought I’m going to Paisley Park! So I immediately got online and started doing some research. I found the website and looked up the tickets. There were a lot that was sold out but it just so happened on Thursday, June 8th at 1:40 pm there were tickets available. Which was perfect because my flight got in really early and I didn’t have to register until 6 that evening. It was meant for me to go! And by the way, if was going on this tour…I was going VIP baby! Yes, I bought the VIP tickets! I was all in for this one. So I purchased my tickets about a month and a half before I went; you can’t buy tickets at the door in case you plan to go.
I arrive in MN totally exhausted because I had to get up at 4 for my 6:15 am flight. But I didn’t take a nap when I got to the hotel I was a little excited about going to Paisley Park. I googled it before I got here and found out it was only 20 minutes from the hotel; can you believe it 20 minutes! How could I have not gone?! Anyway, you can arrive 20 minutes prior to your tour time. I wasn’t sure about the traffic here so I got an Uber about 12:15 and we arrived too early. They are serious about that 20 minutes. You are not allowed on the property until 20 minutes prior to your tour time. They were not kidding. So I had to hang out in the gift shop area until my time. Which was fine I got to scope out some things to buy and talk with some people who had already been on the tour. I met a woman who had to be in her late 60’s or early 70’s she had a shirt she had made with Prince and some other things on it. I thought she bought it was a nice shirt; when I asked her where she got it she said she had it made for herself. She was from Atlanta and saw him at his last performance there prior to his passing. She asked me to take some pictures of her with some of the posters in the tent. She was sweet but so cool. She had the Holiday Inn shuttle van bring her there and was waiting for them to come and pick her up. Is that not the best?!
My tour time came so I went to the front entrance. I had my ticket, as you walk in there is a sign stating there is no food, or drink, no photos allowed and to please wipe your feet before you enter. These folks are serious about preserving the integrity of the building and respecting its owner. The security guards, who I think also worked for Prince, were dressed in black suits with earpieces, the first one meets you at the door to check your ticket and to get you in the correct line, either General Admission or VIP. The carpets are read with the paisley park symbol on them. Once you get to the desk the attendants check your tickets, VIP’s are given a red band around their wrists. They ask if you have a cell phone, if so they ask you to power it off, they take it and place in a green case and lock it. They give it back to you until the end of the tour. If you have a smart watch you are asked to take those off as well. They are serious.
The house is pretty much the same as when Prince lived there with a few modifications for the sake of the museum and to preserve items. Like his awards are now behind plexiglass to protect them. Some rooms have been changed as well and we were told which rooms on the tour. As we entered there is a mural of Prince looking over the entry way that he had done it was awesome. There are gold and platinum albums on the wall he had put up. On the left on the wall is the letter President and First Lady Obama had written expressing their condolences to the family.
Now as we walk into the first room there is a white marble floor with Prince’s famous symbol in black in the middle of it. Oh, the furniture is still there, were not allowed to sit on it to preserve it. Anyway, this room is full of light due to the skylight he had installed. As such it was a favorite room. Because it was one of his favorite rooms the family decided to….wait for it……place his ashes in this room…We did not see that one coming! You could hear our whole group gasp! The tour guide said we can now take some time to pay our respects if you like they had tissues there because just about everyone started to cry, including me. I was not expecting that..it was surreal. It was too much to take in. I hope I didn’t spoil it for anyone who may go. The woman I met in the gift shop..never said a word about it.
Then there were several rooms named after his early albums we could into, as well as his office that has been untouched. I’m telling you it was too much to take in. The VIP tour was an hour and a half. It included additional rooms, studios he recorded in, they took a picture of us in one of the studios and we got to record a track of one of his songs in the studio as well. Most of sang Raspberry Beret, we could choose from that one Creme or You Got The Look. It was so much fun! Prince liked to play ping-pong and the ping-pong table he played on was up and we were allowed to play ping-pong while they were taking out pictures and people were recording. And we could take as many pictures as we wanted, they put the pictures and the recording on a USB. One room that had been modified was the room where he had done choreography. The big mirror was still up but it was now the Purple Rain Room. It had one of the three bikes from the movie, the purple outfit he wore when he sang Let’s go Crazy, his Script from the movie, the small keyboard he danced on, you can see the scuff marks on it. I’m surprised he didn’t fall off that thing it was small!. Also, the Oscar for the best soundtrack was in this room. The movie was playing on the wall. It was AMAZING. There was so many words can’t explain it. There were a group of women from Kentucky who were just as stoked as I was; in fact, my whole tour group was crazy excited. They are my new BFF’s 😁 one guy from Texas had been there seven times! A few of them when Prince was there.
The tour ended in a room just outside the kitchen which is still in operation with the chefs who worked for Prince. Pancakes were his favorite food so just outside the merchandise are you can order a stack of pancakes to eat. There is also screen playing Prince’s SuperBowl Half-Time Show (best half-time show ever!). They also had a portion of the fence where people had left mementos when he passed. The rest of all of that is being archived to be preserved. There was another security guard who we gave our phones to and he unlocked them took the case and gave us our phones. After the tour, I bought a crazy amount of stuff, because when am I going to get to do this again?
It was a long tour and I had to do a lot of walking. Even though my physical therapist said I could do some walking, that hour and a half was a bit much. I was hurting a good bit by the end of the tour. So after my purchases, I sat down for a bit while I waited on my Uber to come and get me. I had the best time ever; I’m so glad I went some folks in my tour group were surprised I was there by myself. I told them a few years ago I wanted to go see Prince in Pittsburgh for my birthday and no one would go with me. I won’t make that mistake again.
I won’t be able to purify myself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka, it’s an hour and a half away 😢 and my class schedule really tight the rest of the time I’m here. But I had a blast on this tour and met some great people. So I’m good.