26-Apr-2013 (Fri) Wherein Prince has left the building.

Our hard tickets were pretty sweet.

Well, that was four of the best shows I've ever seen in my life. I just watched Prince perform for six to eight hours, and I would have watched a third night as well if we were lucky enough to have one.

He's just mind-blowing. He is a force of nature. And his band is amazing, too. Here, read some reviews:

My mom couldn't stop talking about how much this show reminded her of seeing Hendrix at Woodstock.

This has been an exhausting few weeks, but: we nailed it.

Our staff did such a fantastic job under incredibly stressful conditions! Many of them put in double shifts, two days in a row.

In fact, a number of customers who were sending us hate mail complemented the staff, e.g., "This show was terrible and this is the worst venue the world has ever seen, even though the staff was nice." We got two phone calls today from people calling to say only, "You guys did a great job and your staff was awesome." Nobody ever calls, or even emails, to say things like that. People only call to complain about something!

So let's hear it for the DNA crew. Well done, folks!

Lots of people were pissed off about lots of things, though. The entitlement ran deep. So very deep. A few of the more popular things that people hated on us over:

  • It was so expensive, you're so greedy. (The ticket price wasn't our decision, but even so, I'd say that the fact that all four shows sold out in 90 minutes means that the market says that it was underpriced. Also, you'd have paid that much for seats in section 1 of the Oakland Coliseum and still been seated as far from the stage as DNA Lounge is from Slim's!)

  • It was totally unfair of you to announce the show and put tickets on sale at the same time. (Also not our decision, but I can't think of anything more "fair" than leaving your opportunity to get a ticket almost entirely to chance.)

  • It was totally unfair of you to release 40 more tickets for a discounted price on the day of the show, so you should give me (and, presumably, the other 3,000 people) a refund. (Also not our decision, but come on, these people apparently believe that if any product ever goes on sale, every person who has ever bought one should get their money back.)

  • It was crowded, it shouldn't have been crowded. (Presumably they'd rather we let half as many people in, charge twice as much, and halve their chances of being able to attend at all?)

  • I got here late and chose to stand at the back behind a tall guy and couldn't see, you suck.

  • It's unfair that you won't give me a VIP booth for free, because I'm old / my wife is pregnant / my service animal doesn't like to stand for that long.

Overall, though, response has been overwhelmingly positive.

We must live in a far more violent world than I realized, though, because it seems that about one in fifteen people are mugged and have their credit cards stolen over any given three week period. These were all people trying to use scalped tickets, hoping that if they all gave us exactly the same obvious story, we wouldn't check their credit card at will-call. Probably a couple of them were telling the truth, but we heard this story so many times it's just statistically impossible.

At its peak, the line wrapped all the way around the block: it turned the corner onto Tenth Street. Here's some video I shot of it, when it was not-quite-yet turning the corner:

Still, once the doors were open, we got all those people inside in about 20 minutes.

One of the things Prince wanted was a curtain at the front of the stage. We don't have one, so we rented one, and it was pretty awesome, check this out:

Once the band was set up, though, the curtain was kind of in the way, so they decided not to use it at all. Bummer.

I've realized that I never told our Prince story from 2000! We were deep in the throes of remodeling, and there was no floor in the main room: they were excavating the drains, so it was basically piles of dirt and open trenches full of rust and horror. It looked like this. This is the view from standing on the stage, looking at where the main bar is now:

And then we got a phone call: Prince would like to play a secret after-show there in three days.

Barry and I stood on top of one of those piles of dirt staring at that room for hours, yelling at each other and trying to figure out how we were going to cover this open pit with plywood and rent and install an entire sound system in two days. Because you do not say no to Prince. But we did. We said no.

Thirteen years later, though!

Here's a view we don't get to see very often: Prince's tour bus, shot from a neighbor's apartment:

This is approximately as close as you were allowed to get to Prince with a camera in hand.

Even I couldn't get a photo pass. In my own club.

But you don't say no to Prince.

23 Responses:

  1. I'll say it even though you've already heard it, your staff was awesome. We were amazed how fast we all got into the building. The show itself was amazing. Thanks!

  2. Sounds like you heard it all. It was a great show and well worth it! Your staff was great and fun to talk with in line!

  3. Magnifíque. The staff were amazing, so responsive, so fast, so polite, so in charge! The show was fabulous, one of those memories to pull out of my metaphorical silver box and fondle when I'm eighty, and you, sir, shone with a rare inner light that only burns during moments of pure awesome. Mein gott. So worth it. So worth every penny. I love my green and irridescent ticket, too.

  4. Thanks to all of you for what was an awesome fucking show.

    Any chance you could print the set lists some where? The tail end of the line for Tuesday's late show came in after the set started, and I'm curious what if anything I missed.

  5. If having him another day meant a third double shift (plus) I'd have done it in an instant. Even if I only got five more minutes of time to watch him preform. He is not human, but rather an avatar formed of purified, crystallized, musical perfection. His crew has never seen him sweat, or even perspire.

  6. my only complaint is that you shouldn't have made the people who were going to both shows wait in that long line again...all the other venues on the tour wristbanded those folks...not cool :/ otherwise great work!

  7. Staff was very professional and courteous. Pizza was hella good! They got me back in quickly for the second show, but I understand them letting the wristbanded people in first.

  8. Maia says:

    Thank you DNA! We know a Prince event can be rather... demanding. Staff treated us well though and dealt with all 'demands' with a smile on their faces. DNA Lounge was my home for two whole days. I can actually say I feel like I lived at DNA for two days! I saw staff arriving, leaving, and new shifts coming hahaha. You guys realized that the purple crazies were there at the crack of dawn (even if not lined up as we were not supposed to until later)... we were close by though... Staff was
    very sweet. Much appreciated. In the end any and everything was worth it.... for Prince. Thank you! This has been added to my stack of special Prince memories.

    And for those complaining, they must not know! Prince show's may get down and dirty, sweaty, funky, sticky, wet, crowded, tight, raunchy, chaotic .... all that GOOD stuff! Put all that behind you and soak in the wonderous music! Period!

  9. You all did do a great job. Kudos!

  10. Sbacon1999 says:

    DNA you did a great job - as Maia said, easily one of the best experiences I've had at a small Prince show (well 4 in this case). And kudos on the sound - phenomenal. I too wish he'd added more nights! He's the BEST

  11. erinn says:

    Congrats, Jamie and DNA crew! I'm so glad to hear things went well for everyone and props to the crew for all the hard work. Wish I could've been there.

  12. Ray Corral says:

    Dang!! Been going to DNA for the longest time Prince would have been great to see, he is one of the best out of many many shows I have seen.

  13. Nrmrvrk says:

    I just hope that you made a fuckload of money on shows for a change.

  14. Amy says:

    Major congrats to you and your staff for pulling this off. I love your venue, and I love to see you guys succeed, and this series of shows clearly were nothing but success. I'm very glad that you're actually getting positive feedback, since so often people just don't bother unless it's negative feedback.

  15. Jason DeBord says:

    Truly some of the best concert going experiences I've had. Fantastic venue, staff, artist, and show. Exceeded my expectations in every way. And thanks for the links to my articles. And funny enough, I show up in your line-up video (about 8 seconds in, near the bus stop with the grey hoodie - it was cold!).

    If I knew it was going to be that awesome, I would have gotten tix to all four shows (I went to two). Totally worth the price of admission.


  16. Rick C says:

    I'm curious what you have against scalping. It's interesting that you dislike it but also state that the market undervalues the tickets since they sold out so fast. I mean, the fact that people are willing to buy the tickets shows they think they're worth the higher price (even though, of course, you got so many people complaining about how your price was too much.)

    • jwz says:

      What I have against scalpers is that they are rent-seeking parasites who contribute nothing to the conversation. Also they are, by and large, not music fans. They do not make the show better, the music scene better, or the culture better. Instead, they insert themselves as middlemen between the artist and the fan, making it both harder and more expensive for the fan to get their ticket. They buy up as many tickets as they can with no intention of going to the show, increasing scarcity to the benefit of nobody but themselves. They do this using networks of people and software that normal fans don't have access to.

      So, I'm going to do what I can to make their business model harder.

      A good rule of thumb for judging the morality of your actions is that if your first and best justification for your behavior begins with, "Well but it's not illegal..." then chances are, you're being an asshole.

      Louis CK has some interesting things to say on the subject, having thwarted scalpers on his 2012 tour.

  17. Netzard says:

    Damn, thank you so much for that amazing show. We had a blast. Anyone who complains about the price obviously does not go to concerts much these days. Also, those few discount tickets did make it possible for me to go. Thank you, thank you! I feel so fortunate to have seen such an incredibly talented human play a tiny portion of his awe-inspiring musical creations. Yay!

  18. vishnu says:

    Really great! Let's hope this snowballs into a ceaseless stream of Colosseum acts who decide to small-club it at DNA.

  19. Danielle says:

    I have nothing but praise for the staff. I thought you all were amazingly patient and friendly despite the obvious pressure. Thanks for helping make an amazing show happen!

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