On Friday 21st February 2014 Melanie Smith (Mudkiss Photography) and I were at Manchester’s Academy to do a review of the Strypes for 'Louder Than War'.

During the week Prince had announced a series of concerts including two at the larger Academy venue at Manchester University. We’d missed out on tickets but Mel picked up a tweet as we left the Strypes which hinted at a second show, with tickets on sale to the first comers. Through a series of lucky incidents, including two complete strangers lending us the £70 cash we needed for the tickets, we got to see the encores on the Friday night and the full concert on the Saturday.

There was a very strict no photography policy. Frustrated but respectful of Prince’s wishes, the only image Mel took was on the Friday night as we waited to see if Prince would return to the stage, and it was this photo of the microphone stand, with Prince’s iconic symbol, that she shared when we heard the news of his death on April 21st 2016.

Having seen him live I knew you could never get enough of him, never be satisfied, because he gave his all, and his all was beyond anything else you were ever likely to see. In a small venue like the Academy it was an intensely life affirming experience. The poignancy of this photograph made me cry because I knew what I’d lost, along with everyone else.

Photo by Melanie Smith

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