Purple Rain tour, Detroit. Prince opened his Purple Rain tour in the Motor City for a five day booking. At that time I was photo editor of a national rock'n'roll magazine, and we were doing a cover story on Prince. His record company and management gave me permission to shoot the opening of the tour, four nights in Detroit.
The first night before the first show, all the photographers were asked to come early to the venue to receive the do's and do not's and their assigned positions for the show. As was the hottest act in the country at the time, there were photographers from all over the world covering this event. We were placed on a box half way between the stage and the back of the coliseum, which was about 300 or more feet. We all had long lens on tripods, but I was still too far from the stage to get a decent shot. Prince's handlers said that if we were caught leaving the photo box, we would be ejected from the show. The longest lens I had was a 300mm and a 600mm. By the second night I was getting nothing and getting very edgy that I was not getting the cover shot that I needed. I had to do something about it. I knew that after the third song, the audience would get out of their chairs and stand on their seats. This would be the perfect time to make my move. I grabbed a pocket full of color and B&W film, took the cameras off the tripod and slung a camera with a 180mm lens on one shoulder and another camera with a 85mm lens on the other, and stuffed a 50mm in my pocket. A spot meter hung around my neck. In other words, I was pretty conspicuous. When the fourth song hit, right on cue the audience went wild and stood on their chairs. At that moment, all the security detail turned around to look at the stage and I jumped over the barrier and took off into the center of the hall and down the isle. I bumped into a security guard and told him I was on my way back from the rest room to my seat. He did think twice and left me alone. Got to the third row and noticed that there was an empty seat in the middle. I guess that who ever was sitting in this seat was one of the people who had rushed the stage. I could not believe it -- the perfect position! I looked through my camera and smiled.