As a freelance venue consultant (!) I am uniquely placed to comment on Prince’s bizarre choice of the Academy 1 for his first gigs in Manchester for many years just days after wowing London audiences with secret gigs in places such as Koko, Ronnie Scotts, gorgeous little, intimate venues… The sort of gigs you tell your grand kids about. The sort of gigs you happily queue all day for.
Did I mention the tickets in London were between £10 and £35?
I thought I was alone in thinking the academys were empty soulless boxes but I’ve heard some brilliant comments since my life long hero announced the venue on tv at the Brit awards. (This in itself was a strange decision as after hearing Prince wasnt performing I made no effort to find a tv to watch the Brit awards because… well because I’m 37 and I remember what real music sounds like… like most real Prince fans).
Yes I will get snobby about being a real Prince fan. I remember being ridiculed in the playground for liking someone who was a bit hard to define by people who are now suddenly huge Prince fans (who can’t actually name anything he’s done apart from the obvious). I used to sing along to Darling Nikki before I knew what masturbating was! My big brother taught me well and I was fully versed in FUNK at a young age. I’m glad he is now considered cool but it doesn’t change the fact that I love him more than a new fan who likes the classics because he’s cool. I don’t mean any of that in a crazy stalker way incidentally!
So Prince is playing the academy 1 and tickets sold out instantly at £70 a go. I would have found £70 if I’d had a split second to process the info but I was too late due to my lack of mind sucking TV box. Surely the fact that the venues are called 1, 2 and 3 should have given the Prince people some idea that they probably weren’t fit for someone of his stature but I understand the owners are important (to somebody other than their family’s) and lots of money obviously changed hands along the way.
To quote a friend of a friend’s Facebook reaction “The Academy is like seeing bands in the loading bay at a frozen fish warehouse – except a frozen fish warehouse would have better bar facilities”.
I’ve had the pleasure of running some of the countries best independent venues and any one of them would be so much better… Liam Fray agrees!
I have never longed for the Bierkeller so much 😦