Prince’s final moments in Canada were spent at Toronto’s Everleigh night club last month, where he thrilled a tiny crowd with a surprise performance.
A day before playing back-to-back shows at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, Everleigh owner Zark Fatah got a call asking if Prince could host an after-party there.
They set up a stage with a keyboard and provided two bottles of Limoncello liqueur for the “Purple Rain” superstar and his entourage.
Prince showed up around 12:30 a.m. dressed in a velour robe. It would be another 90 minutes or so before he addressed a large crowd of fans who were hoping he might perform.
“He came on the mic, thanked everybody for coming,” said Fatah. “Then he said, ‘If you all stick around, I’ll come back and dance with all of you.’”
Prince then “went back behind his curtain” and hung out until about 3:20 a.m.
By that point most fans had gone home disappointed and Fatah began closing the club.
But Prince had a change of heart.
Fatah said one of the singer’s managers called Everleigh’s head of security and said, “Prince wants to come back.”
Naturally, Fatah accommodated.
“I think he didn’t perform in front of everybody (earlier) because there were 400 people standing a few feet away from him,” said Fatah.
“Maybe he just wanted a more intimate type of experience.”
Hadi Teherany was one of those people who patiently waited for Prince to perform but eventually left the club when it looked like Prince wasn’t going to play.
He was sitting in his condo and tucking into a late-night meal when he got a text from a friend — one of the club’s other owners — encouraging him to rush back.
“I literally (threw) on my sweatpants and popped in the back door,” Teherany said. “Lo and behold (Prince) is sitting there on stage, tuning up his equipment.”
Only a small number of people — maybe two dozen — were still milling around. Most of them had been working that night and were treated to an unbelievable experience.
“I literally sat down on a couch in front of Prince,” Teherany said.
“He keeps yelling, ‘Turn the lights off’ and nobody’s really listening to him. Finally he looks over at me and he goes, ‘Hey, help me get these lights off or I’m not about to perform.’ So now I’m yelling, ‘Turn off the damn lights! Prince needs to perform!’ Finally the lights cut and he looks at me and kind of gives me a head nod.”
Fatah said Prince played about eight songs over 45 minutes — after the audience was asked to keep their phones in the pockets and their cameras tucked away.
“He played one song and he’s like, ‘This song is for the lovers’ — and there’s like two couples on the dance floor,” Teherany recalls.
“It was almost like (being) in a high school gymnasium.”
After the show, the crowd applauded politely, Prince grabbed his cane and shook a few hands as he headed for the door.
“It was just one of those things — a story you are going to tell your grandkids,” Teherany said.
“As sad as it is, I am lucky to say I was one of those people in the room who got to witness real talent.”