Prince death: ‘Tell the cat to chill’ before no-show at Croke Park

“Tell the cat to chill.”

That was reportedly the phrase used by Prince when he was told Irish music promoter Denis Desmond was becoming anxious about whether the music megastar’s concert at Croke Park was going to go ahead in the summer of 2008.

As it turned out Mr Desmond had good reason to be fearful. The concert was due to take place on June 16 of that year.

According to Keith Sarkisian, an executive with William Morris Endeavor Entertainment (WMEE), who acted for Prince in negotiations for the gig, Prince told him on June 3 that he was not coming to Dublin — 55,000 tickets had been sold.

A Commercial Court case some two years later saw concert promoters MCD seek compensation of €1.7 million against the singer, full name Prince Rogers Nelson and WMEE — the case was eventually settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.

However, despite letting so many fans down on that occasion, Prince had a good relationship with the Irish public, playing here on numerous occasions.

Indeed, he was the artist behind one of the biggest music concerts in Cork’s history, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, July 7, 1990.

As the Blackpool Sentinel blog of Martin O’Connor and Colm O’Callaghan put it: “A crowd cited by the organisers at 60,000 filed down The Marina in brilliant sunshine to see Prince, by then one of the most cavalier figures in contemporary pop music. The explosion in the scale of music video production had helped to propel him and his randy, funk-fuelled pop songs into the mainstream’s bullseye and, beyond the potty mouth and beneath the burlesque live shows, was a gritty and smart writer and producer.”

In fact while most considered the concert a massive success, Blackpool Sentinel was less impressed writing: “The show never once looked like touching either heart or soul, of ever bellowing fire. I left Páirc Uí Chaoimh feeling strangely incoherent wondering if 60,000 people could possibly be wrong. And I think so.”

Of course, Prince’s contribution to Irish music could also be seen through his writing — after all he helped to fire Sinead O’Connor’s name into global recognition with his lyrics for “Nothing Compares 2 U”.

U2, tweeted a black box image, similar to a black armband, last night. Above it they simply wrote: “PRINCE. Larry, Edge, Bono, Adam.

Ronan Keating tweeted: “No no no. Not Prince. Devastated a true music icon. His music inspired me and my generation. #DovesCry rest in peace man.”


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