I saw Prince three times in my lifetime. He was far and away the best performer I've ever seen, and I've been to many gigs. I always felt slightly embarrassed saying this - like someone more underground, less popular, should be my favourite live act. But no one has ever beat him, so I kept telling people.
The first time I saw him, I was 20 years old. My phone didn't have a camera and I had no social media to post about my experiences on. It was an after party at a club in Melbourne and I was still young enough to wait up until 4am for him to come on, drinking tequila with my dear friend Annie. Most people had given up on Prince turning up at that point and I recall about 30 people being left in the venue. He was utterly cool, talented, energetic and inspirational. He played only one song I knew and commanded his band, including Maceo Parker, James Brown's saxophonist, through the set. It was 110% worth the wait.
After nearly nine years of telling this story, my husband of two months could tell I was pretty shattered when Prince announced another tour of Australia - while we'd be in Europe on our honeymoon. First world problem I know. I didn't need a reminder of why I married him but when my husband bought us tickets to fly and see Prince in Sydney the night before we were due to head to London, I couldn't help but fall in love a little more. After talking my first experience up, I was worried that maybe tequila and time had exaggerated the story. Not at all. The stadium show was incredible - more hits, more people and Prince telling us he was 'going to tear this place apart'. He did and I remember seeing dance moves from my husband I've never seen - I like to think Prince is so good, he makes you run out.
The final time I saw Prince (it feels awful to even say that) was around two months ago. It was a different experience again - a small theatre in Melbourne - Prince, piano and a microphone. I went to the show solo and was lucky enough to be moved forward around 15 rows. He was intimate, he was sad, he was funny, he was happy.
That's what I ultimately remember. Prince was unbelievably talented, commanding and cool, but, most of all, he seemed really happy. I have no idea what went on behind closed doors, but you could tell he loved what he did, and I loved what he did. I feel very lucky to have seen it.