Eric Clapton turns up at Prince’s after-party at The Kensington Roof Gardens. I’ve never quite ‘got’ the blues before, even though I’ve been a lifelong Hendrix fan. We’ve all read the rave reviews of Jimi playing ‘Red House’ at the Isle of Wight Festival but for many of us there, especially the teenagers, we wanted the excitement of Purple Haze and Foxy Lady before stumbling back to our tents pretending to be more stoned than we were. Tonight is different. Under the same stars, I can hear the alchemy and, more importantly, I can feel it as Prince and Eric jam together. We arrive in style from the show at Wembley where the purple one is phenomenal. My pal Chloe gets me on the guest list saying, “You’re the only dude who can open a bottle of champagne in the back of a limo without breaking everyone’s shades. I hope you’re free to join us”.
I have to juggle a few things. I’ve actually seen Prince at the Marquee Club back in the early days when there are only a hundred of us there. Were I to write a one word review I’d say, “Outrageous”.
Yesterday a similar number turned up for Jason’s party on The Thames. He’s been celebrating getting a deal all week. I get talking to a sax player as we watch the dancers on deck. One in particular is standing out. “She’s Swiss” he says, “Crazy as a cuckoo clock and, for reasons I can’t fathom, mad about percussionists. Anyone in the brass section doesn’t get a look in.”
I’m dressed in my naval costume, having come hotfoot from a photo shoot. I’ve still got my brass telescope with me, which I’m focussing on Tower Bridge in a reflective moment, away from the crowd and the DJ.
The Swiss dancer appears by my side. “So” she says, “Are you the captain?”.
“Me?” I say, “No, I’m just a drummer.”