Prince fans tour Paisley Park

MINNEAPOLIS • Fans have long wondered about Paisley Park, the late pop icon Prince's mysterious studio complex to which few have had full access.

On Thursday, the mystery came to an end for some fans who snared tour tickets and descended on the Minneapolis suburb of Chanhassen to look inside his 5,100 sq m inner sanctum.

The unveiling was decidedly muted. Organisers required ticket- holders to meet at an offsite location and be bused into the complex in groups. Fans described the tour as an emotional experience, especially when they were confronted by Prince's ashes in a Paisley Park replica urn.

Ms Sonja Fagan, a 37-year-old from Dublin, arrived with a bouquet of roses, saying Paisley Park was now a place of mourning. "His legacy is going to live on and that's what he would have wanted," she said.

Prince, 57, died on April 21 from an accidental overdose of painkillers.


A Prince fan holding posters of the pop icon bought during the opening of Paisley Park. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The complex opened in 1987 and was a fully functional recording studio used by a number of artists during its peak in the 1990s, including Stone Temple Pilots, REM and Madonna. Prince also arranged impromptu free shows and parties there for small groups of fans.

While some parts of Paisley Park were now outfitted to exhibit memorabilia, other areas - such as his working studio - have been left untouched since the singer's death, tour attendees said.

Rooms in the studio complex were themed according to Prince's albums, such as Graffiti Bridge or Purple Rain. His vast collection of distinctive costumes, pianos and guitars from each time period were on display throughout.

Another room was dedicated to his electrifying 2007 Super Bowl half-time show, featuring a video of the performance that is widely regarded as one of the sporting event's most legendary.

Minnesota resident Phyllis Jackson, 77, left the tour with two Prince posters. "I've been to Elvis Presley's Graceland several times," she said. "This is so much more. You can see he was thinking of it as a museum before he died because there was so much in there."

City officials had granted temporary permits on three dates for the complex to offer tours. A broader permit that would turn the site into a permanent museum was delayed over concerns that the estimated 600,000 fans expected to visit yearly would create congestion in the town of 24,000.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 08, 2016, with the headline 'Prince fans tour Paisley Park'. Print Edition | Subscribe