EXCLUSIVE: Inside Prince's Final Days -- a 'Mellow' Record Store Trip and 'High Energy' Performance

by Emily Krauser 2:02 PM PDT, April 21, 2016
Playing EXCLUSIVE: Inside Prince's Final Days -- a 'Mellow' Record Store Trip and 'High Energy' Performance

Just days before Prince died at age 57, the music legend was seen reassuring fans that he was OK.

On Saturday, the iconic singer made his last public appearance at a dance party at his Paisley Park estate in Chanhassen, Minnesota, where he took the stage to the delight of all those in attendance.

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The event occurred after Prince had postponed two shows on his Piano & a Microphone tour earlier this month due to the flu. He eventually took the stage on April 14 at Atlanta's Fox Theatre. However, just hours after that performance, Prince's private jet made an emergency landing in Moline, Illinois, where he was briefly hospitalized before being released.

In a now eerie moment from Saturday evening, the Minnesota native had cautioned concertgoers to wait a few days before wasting prayers. An eyewitness even told ET at the time that "no one needs to worry about Prince."

"He was quick-witted and had high energy as usual!" the source said. "He showed off his beautiful new purple Yamaha piano and a new custom guitar."

#Prince shows off new toys at Paisley Park last night. Love that purple and gold guitar!!

A photo posted by Michael Holtz (@djmichaelholtz) on

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Though Prince didn't sing, he did play a "delightfully complicated, playful and beautiful version" of "Chopsticks" on the piano, according to the eyewitness.

Prince himself even shared a photo of revelers and tweeted, "THANX EVERYBODY 4 UR EXTRA TIME…"

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Earlier in the evening, Prince also made an appearance at Electric Fetus in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in honor of Record Store Day. He attended with three people from Paisley Park as well as bodyguards and bought a few CDs, including Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Santana's 4. A store manager told ET that he was "great" and "calm."

"He seemed like he was doing fine," the manager said. "No one would have ever guessed that this would happen today."

Prince was a regular at Electric Fetus, visiting about once a month this year. The manager said he was "mellow" when he'd come in. "He was always very kind and he would say hello to everyone who came up to him."

"The whole city is abuzz, and people are coming in the store and sharing their shock and disbelief today," he added. "We already sold out of what was on the retail floor -- old stuff and new stuff. There have been some people crying, mostly in disbelief. A lot of people are coming in here to be with other fans and share their favorite stories about him."

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Prior to April, Prince had performed a number of sporadic shows, including runs in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and various parts of Europe, and there was little hint of an ailment at any of them. In fact, during an intimate New York City club show of less than 200 people on March 19, he announced that he had started working on a memoir, which had the working title, The Beautiful Ones, according to Rolling Stone.

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"We wanna thank Random House," he told the crowd mid-song during the 30-minute show, which included renditions of "When Doves Cry," "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" and "Let’s Work." "Ain't nothing random about this book."

He also performed two shows in Toronto, where he briefly resided with his ex-wife, Manuela Testolini, in the early-to-mid-2000s. Prince hit the stage for the roughly 90-minute performances on March 25, just 48 hours after first announcing the concert date. A review in Toronto's The Star newspaper described the music icon trading in his famous guitar for the piano as "magically fresh, intriguing and invigorating… there's little argument that Prince is King."

The "Purple Rain" singer was sporting a cane and appeared to have a slight limp at the Toronto show, an accessory he also had while attending an Oklahoma City Thunder game with model Damaris Lewis three weeks earlier.

Photo: NBAE via Getty Images

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One of Prince's most difficult performances occurred just two months ago. Hours after learning that his friend and muse, Denise "Vanity" Matthews-Smith, had died after a battle with kidney failure and abdominal disease, he played a show in Melbourne, Australia, on Feb. 16. He dedicated his hit, "Little Red Corvette," to his fellow artist and referenced her throughout the evening. Vanity was also 57.

Prince initially put out his last release, HITnRUN Phase Two, exclusively on Tidal in December 2015. The LP, a continuation of HITnRUN Phase One, was his 39th studio album.

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