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Prince Mission Impossible in St. Paul

We’d like to thank John for sharing the following story.

It was the Fall of 1996. As I was showing the ballroom of the Saint Paul Hotel to a group of five people for a future wedding, I heard a voice call out, “John, John are you there?” Wearing a black baseball cap, Bill Murray walked into the promenade and, moments later, he and I stood face to face. Graciously he pardoned himself, and then asked, “Hey, John, could you help me with something?” The group I was escorting didn’t mind being interrupted by such a celebrity as Mr. Murray.

st paul saintsStanding in the doorway of the ballroom, he came up with one of the most bizarre requests I’d ever heard. The St. Paul Saints were in the Northern League Baseball playoffs and, as one of the principal owners, he was staying at the hotel to attend the team’s final game of the series. “John” he said, “can you get a hold of the phone number for Prince, I want to call him and give him tickets to the game tonight”. As a true concierge, I said, “I’ll do my best”.

He left to have lunch in the St. Paul Grill. Turning around, my tour group had their mouths open in awe. After finishing with the tour, I went back to my desk and asked myself, “How am I going to do this?” Putting on my clever thinking cap, I began my quest.

prince symbolKnowing that his name wasn’t in the phone book under “Prince” – he was known by a symbol not a name at the time – I called Paisley Park, his onetime recording studio in Chanhassen. There was no answer (it was Saturday). Then I called a few nightclub owners in the area, asking them if they knew how to get a hold of Prince. To my surprise, Kenny Horst, at The Artists’ Quarter, gave me the number to his producer and some of his band members.

I figured my best bet was to call the producer. After finally getting in touch with him, I told him the situation, but unfortunately, he wouldn’t give out Prince’s phone number. “What if I put you in touch with Bill Murray personally? Would you give him the phone number?” I asked and, to my surprise, he said yes.

I transferred the call to Bill Murray as he ate his lunch in the Grill.

Mission accomplished!

Bill made the call to Prince, but he was not home. He did give the producer two tickets for the game.

That night the Saints won the championship. After the game I got a big thank you – a $20 gratuity, signed “Thanks, Bill Murray”.

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