Exactly seven weeks ago today I watched Prince give the performance of a lifetime in Sydney.

Maybe not his lifetime; with a life like his, such a thing would be near impossible to define. But certainly of mine.

I'd waited decades for that concert, for a chance to see my idol live on stage. A chance to see what musical genius sounds like in person. To see what burning creativity and dangerous sexuality looks like under theatre lights, sat at a piano.

The only thing I'm more allergic to than religion is cliched writing, but there's no other way to say it: seeing Prince in concert was like going to church.

The cavernous interior of the Sydney State Theatre already feels a bit like a cathedral, albeit one decked out in red velvet, gilt, and giant crystal chandeliers. But when Prince took over the stage, it became a true place of worship.

We watched in silent rapture as he sang and played and foot stomped for more than two hours, an audience of almost three thousand people struck dumb by his sheer talent.

His voice in mint condition, he seamlessly glided from baritone to falsetto in hits like Nothing Compares 2 U and Little Red Corvette, punctuating the occasional song with the unmistakeable Prince squeal.

Always playful, his shoes were tricked out with coloured lights that flashed as he ran laps of his piano in between songs, wielding his cane like some kind of mad, musical Willy Wonka.

When he launched into How Come You Don't Call Me Anymore, I cried. Not floods of tears, nothing dramatic, just a little bit. But I cried. I'm not even sure it was from joy, I think it was just an involuntary reaction to the shock of witnessing something so unfathomably brilliant unfolding right in front of me.

Later that night I ended up at the official after-party at a nightclub in Double Bay, one of Prince's famous post-concert shindigs about which fanciful stories abound. Apparently, days before, he'd walked around the Melbourne party with a fruit platter, handing out slices of rockmelon to fans. He'd even hit the dancefloor, so the rumours went.

He never showed his face in Sydney, reportedly spending all night in the VIP area with his crew, but despite the wall that separated us I like to say I partied with Prince.

I went to bed at 5am feeling like I'd experienced something magical.

Yesterday I woke up to the news that Prince was dead.

Literally woke up to it, in fact; my partner saw the news on Twitter and blurted it out at me in shock before I'd even opened my eyes. I immediately went from asleep to crying, like a baby. How ridiculous.

I've never been one to really grieve over celebrity deaths, mainly because the stars who have had a real impact on my life are all still relatively young. It will be decades before my childhood idols and teen crushes go gently into that good night.

At least, that's what I thought. But Prince was 57, seemingly in good health, and still touring. His sudden departure from the world of music was just as shocking as his entry to it back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, with his tight pants, big hair and makeup, his unabashed sexuality and androgyny that was still somehow overtly masculine. A glowing, fizzing ball of sexual pop energy. A true star.

As Prince himself sang: "life is just a party and parties aren't meant to last", but this one felt like it would go on forever.

Looking at today's generation of music stars it's hard to imagine someone of Prince's like ever again.

Nothing compares to him.


First published in The Advertiser on April 23, 2016. CLICK HERE to view original article.