On July 8th, 2007, in what was supposed to be a homecoming celebration for Prince when he delivered a very special performance at the intimate First Avenue Club in Minneapolis, abruptly turned nasty when police dragged The Purple One off the stage.
At the time of the event, Prince had already played a show at a department store downtown to promote his new cologne as well as a headline set at the 19,000 capacity venue earlier that evening. Both situations had gone down swimmingly, however, his after-party at First Avenue was anything but successful as the police stopped the show before it could even get started.
The venue for the after-party couldn’t have been more fitting. The location allowed Prince to make the venue famous in his Purple Rain film and fans queued to get another glimpse of his magical talents from his last appearance of the day—but alas the late-show was marred from the very beginning.
First Avenue only had a license for live music until 3am however, Prince didn’t arrive on stage until 2:45am which meant that he was banking on the police allowing special allowances to Minneapolis’ favourite son if he was ever going to complete the set. The iconic artist had a reputation for his wild, renowned late-night after-show parties which saw him perform unadulterated extended versions of songs from his immense back catalogue.
However, after storming through hits including ‘I Feel For You’ and ‘Controversy’, the set was abruptly pulled by the police with Prince telling the crowd: “The authorities say we gotta go. We always listen to the authorities,” he added. “I promise I’ll be back.”
First Avenue owner Byron Frank said officers talked to Prince’s crew before pulling the plug in a bid to allow the singer a little extra time to end the show and added: “It’s very sad they had to do it because everybody was having such a wonderful time.”
The streets of Minneapolis had descended into mayhem with those who had been at the arena show trying to fight their way into the club, a move which angered police sergeant ET Nelson who claimed that more than 20 officers had been working overtime to block off streets surrounding the club. “I think it’s very arrogant of him to think he can hold us here like this,” he said. “The law is the law for anybody.”
First Avenue was like Prince’s second home, as this footage below shows following his tragic death in 2016, thousands of his fans made a pilgrimage to the iconic venue to pay their respects to one of the greatest true artists of all time.