Local Current Blog

That time Prince almost played with Gayngs at First Avenue

Prince watching Gayngs perform at First Avenue on May 14, 2010 (Photo by Andy Hardman)

If there’s one thing we’ve learned over these past seven days, it’s that everyone in Minnesota has a Prince story.

A couple of weeks ago, I sat down with the P.O.S to unpack his new song, “Sleepdrone/Superposition,” and talk about his experiences undergoing a kidney transplant and staying creative while battling physical and mental challenges for my podcast, The O.K. Show. Naturally, because His Purpleness comes up all the time here in Minnesota, we ended up spending a few minutes of our chat swapping stories about Prince.

I’m getting ready to launch a new season of The O.K. Show next week, and the episode with P.O.S will debut on June 1. But I couldn’t wait to share this small snippet of our conversation — especially since P.O.S had a front-row seat to one of the most buzzed-about near-misses in recent Minnesota music history.

The night was May 14, 2010, and the Mainroom was filled with white balloons and flowing taffeta. It was the Gayngs prom, a release show for the Ryan Olson-produced album that featured over two dozen musicians from the regional scene, from Doomtree’s P.O.S and Dessa to Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, members of Megafaun, and Solid Gold. After hearing a Gayngs song on The Current, Prince headed down to First Avenue to check out the band — and he showed up with guitar in hand, prepared to join in if the mood called for it.

I’ll let P.O.S take it from here:


Andrea Swensson: Have you ever met Prince?

P.O.S: I didn’t meet him, but I did stand next to him at the infamous Gayngs show where he came out.

Andrea Swensson: [gasp] That’s right.

P.O.S: Remember? He was at the Gayngs release show at First Ave. He showed up and got his guitar ready, and was standing sidestage, waiting, I think, for Ryan to come out and invite him onstage.

Andrea Swensson: And say, “Ladies and gentlemen…Prince!”

P.O.S: Yeah. Maybe! I don’t know what it was, but Ryan, being Ryan, came over and was standing next to Prince. Prince was holding his guitar. I’m like, [gasps]! And Ryan comes over, and he’s like, [gruff Ryan mumbling] “Hey, it’s great to meet you. Just jump on stage. Ah! Honored you’re here.” And walked away. And Prince straight-up looked at me, like, “What?” [audience laughter] You know? And then he hung out for a while and then he just left. [P.O.S laughs] Because we are a gang of mess-ups.

Andrea Swensson: That’s amazing. My other favorite story from that night is that he pulled up and got out of a limo holding the guitar already. Just walked right into the club like, “I’m ready. If they need me, I’m ready.”

P.O.S: That’s amazing. I can say that he’s been at three shows of mine. Two P.O.S shows and that Gayngs show. And I’ll be onstage and go sidestage to get some water, and somebody’ll be like, “Prince is in the owner’s box.” I’m like, “What?” [whispers] “Prince.” And you look up, and you just see some glowing fur. [audience laughter]

Andrea Swensson: Purple aura.

P.O.S: Backlit purple aura. [P.O.S giggles] It was cool.