A home fit for a Prince! Fans descend on late singer’s famed Paisley Park as his secretive studio complex opens to the public as a museum
- On Thursday, Prince fans who snared tour tickets descended on the Minneapolis suburb of Chanhassen to see inside the late Purple Rain star's 55,000-square-foot inner sanctum
- Prince died on April 21 from an accidental overdose of painkillers, at the age of 57
- Rooms in the studio complex were themed according to Prince's albums, like Graffiti Bridge or Purple Rain
- The superstar's vast collection of distinctive costumes, pianos and guitars from each time period were on display throughout
- Another room was dedicated to Prince's electrifying 2007 Super Bowl halftime show
Music fans around the world and Minnesota residents have long wondered about Paisley Park, the late pop icon Prince's mysterious studio complex to which few have had full access.
On Thursday, the mystery came to an end for some fans who snared tour tickets and descended on the Minneapolis suburb of Chanhassen to see inside the late Purple Rain star's 55,000-square-foot (5,100-square-meter) inner sanctum.
The unveiling was decidedly muted. Organizers required ticket holders to meet at an offsite location and be bused into the complex in groups.
Retreat: On Thursday, Prince fans who snared tour tickets descended on the Minneapolis suburb of Chanhassen to see inside the late Purple Rain star's 55,000-square-foot inner sanctum. Pictured is the complex's atrium
Write me a song: Prince's handwritten notes are still sitting out inside the control room of Studio A (pictured) where he recorded some of his greatest hits
A peek inside: Some of the first Paisley Park tour ticket holders disembark a the bus for the new Paisley Park Tour on Thursday
Star: Prince died on April 21 from an accidental overdose of painkillers, at the age of 57
Fans described the tour as an emotional experience, especially when they were confronted by Prince's ashes in a Paisley Park replica urn.
Diane Fluin told CNN: 'It was reverent. Everyone was very quiet and there was a lot of tears and hugging.'
Sonja Fagan, a 37-year-old from Dublin, arrived with a bouquet of roses, saying Paisley Park was now a place of mourning.
'His legacy is going to live on, and that's what he would have wanted,' she said.
Fan Rhonda Watson traveled 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) from Tennessee to tour the complex.
'It is very unique and very distinctive, and it's a very creative space, just like the musician,' she said. 'I am very grateful that I am one of the people that got to experience that today.'
Another visitor, Erin Goetdel, told CNN: 'As soon as I got in, I felt really honored to be in a space that he had created to bring people into his world and his thoughts and his vision.'
Prince died on April 21 from an accidental overdose of painkillers, at the age of 57.
Dressed for the occasion: Prince fan Gloria Brown, from Chicago, shows off her custom-made Paisley Park t-shirt as she waits to get inside the tour
Big day: Organizers required ticket holders to meet at an offsite location and be bused into the complex in groups
Purple Rain: NBC's Today gave viewers a look at a room showing memorabilia
So much to see: Guests will be able to turn Prince's recording studio, private nightclub and the Purple Rain room (above)
The complex opens one week before a memorial tribute concert in St. Paul, which is adjacent to Minneapolis.
The public opening of the studio complex is a milestone for music lovers and historians.
It was the pop legend's 'playground,' said Mobeen Azhar, author of the book Prince: Stories from the Purple Underground.
'Paisley Park is where he would play, experiment and most importantly create,' Azhar said.
'That spirit of creativity is just so strong. For that reason, as far as I'm concerned, Paisley Park is holy ground.'
The complex opened in 1987, and was a fully functional recording studio used by a number of artists during its peak in the 1990s, including the Stone Temple Pilots, REM and Madonna.
Prince also arranged impromptu free shows and parties there for small groups of fans.
Looking out: A security guard stands at the front door before the start of the Paisley Park Tour on Thursday
Getting ready: Stephanie Davis of FarmVille, Virginia, prepares to walk inside for the first Paisley Park Tour
Never forgotten: A portrait of Prince by artist Daniel Lacey hangs outside Paisley Park
Iconic: A look at the boots that Prince wore while filming the music video for Raspberry Beret (above)
Shredding it: Prince saved 121 guitars (one above) to put in his museum one day
Rashad Shabazz, a professor of cultural geography at the University of Arizona, said he attended one such show in which Prince took the stage at 12.30am before an audience of about 50 people.
The star performed for three hours -- playing every instrument and stepping into the crowd to direct the band from the floor.
'You didn't have to have a ticket. You just walked in. You stood at the stage five feet from him,' Shabazz said. 'Those free shows gave people, poor people, particularly students... access to him.'
Remembered: Prince is pictured wearing his signature color purple in this file photograph
Getaway: Music fans around the world and Minnesota residents have long wondered about Paisley Park, the late pop icon Prince's mysterious studio complex to which few have had full access
'We're Liverpool and he's The Beatles’
Prince has drawn tourists from all over the world to the Minneapolis area ever since the 1984 release of Purple Rain, said Michaelangelo Matos, a Minnesota-based music critic and author of a book about Prince's album titled Sign O' the Times.
'We're Liverpool and he's The Beatles,' Matos said.
While some parts of Paisley Park were now outfitted to exhibit memorabilia, other areas -- such as his working studio -- have been left untouched since the singer's death, tour attendees said.
Rooms in the studio complex were themed according to Prince's albums, like Graffiti Bridge or Purple Rain.
The superstar's vast collection of distinctive costumes, pianos and guitars from each time period were on display throughout.
Changes: While some parts of Paisley Park were now outfitted to exhibit memorabilia, other areas -- such as his working studio -- have been left untouched since the singer's death, tour attendees said
Facility: The complex opens one week before a memorial tribute concert in St. Paul, which is adjacent to Minneapolis. The public opening of the studio complex is a milestone for music lovers and historians
Another room was dedicated to his electrifying 2007 Super Bowl halftime show, featuring a video of the performance that is widely regarded as one of the sporting event's most legendary.
'He was bigger than life, and you see that,' said fan Jennifer Wolf.
Phyllis Jackson, a 77-year-old Minnesota resident, left the tour with two Prince posters.
'I've been to Graceland several times,' Jackson said, 'This is so much more. You can see that he was thinking of it as a museum before he died, because there was so much in there.'
Untouched: Prince's recording studio was left untouched, with his music and notes still sitting on a stand (above)
Honored: A Grammy award Prince received for best male R & B vocal performance is pictured
Public access to Paisley Park was expected to be short-lived, as Chanhassen city officials granted temporary permits on three dates for the complex to offer tours.
A broader permit that would turn the site into a permanent museum -- akin to Elvis Presley's Graceland -- was delayed earlier this week, over concerns that the estimated 600,000 fans expected to visit year would create traffic jams and congestion in the town of 24,000.
City officials asked the site's administrator, the Bremer Trust, to formulate a detailed plan to address those concerns with a more detailed plan to address the tourism impact.
Want to see a home fit for a Prince? Your guide to visiting Paisley Park
Tickets for Paisley Park are listed at two different price points on the complex's website.
Early purchase general admission experience tickets cost $38.50 each, plus $7.50 in fees.
On the 70-minute self-guided tour, ticket buyers can see the complex's main floor, 'Prince's video editing suites and rehearsal rooms,' a soundstage and concert hall, plus the NPG Music Club, the site says.
It warns: 'Once Early Purchase General Admission is sold out for a specific date/tour time, General Admission price becomes $50.00 per ticket plus service and facility fee for that specific date/tour time.'
Tickets for a 100-minute VIP tour cost $100 each, plus $11.75 in fees. The website says a tour guide will lead you through the locations that can be seen with the less-expensive experience. In addition, extra rooms, studio areas and artifacts can be viewed.
Paisley Park's website says: 'The Chanhassen, Minnesota City Council has granted Paisley Park a temporary permit to open the museum for tours on Thursday, October 6, Saturday, October 8, and Friday, October 14 while Paisley Park continues to work closely with the council on their traffic and zoning concerns.'
'No new tickets are available at this time but we remain committed to giving all fans the opportunity to visit Paisley Park. Further information on this will be forthcoming.'
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