When Prince announced last week he would be appearing in Oakland, Perry Litchfield snapped up $750 VIP tickets. With seats at the foot of the stage, the 52-year-old CEO of Resolution Remedies was excited to see the show.
He didn't realize he would become part of the show.
About halfway through Wednesday's concert, after making eye contact with Litchfield, Prince unloaded his Hohner guitar into the audience in Litchfield's direction. "He kind of flung it up in the air, and I grab it," Litchfield says. To Prince fans, it was like Barry Bonds' 73rd home run ball. Right away, "I feel hands behind me and they're dragging me to the ground," Litchfield says. About 10 other concertgoers were kicking, pulling, scratching -- "everying they can do to get that guitar."
He endured the melee for about 30 seconds, then security personnel pulled the concertgoers off Litchfield "and I've got my guitar." But only for a moment -- one of the officials "took it out of my hands and said, 'It's part of the show.'"
Litchfield got first aid for abrasians to his back, bloodied knuckles and a blow to the head from hitting the ground. For his trouble, he was later approached by Prince's handlers and offered a guitar pick.
Asked if, as an ADR professional, he thought that was a reasonable settlement, Litchfield chuckled. "It's a nice gesture, but I think that it falls a little short," he said, suggesting that the guitar, or at least some personal expression of apology from Prince, would be more appropriate.
It doesn't sound like the guitar will be forthcoming, though. When the handlers gave him his picks, "I said, 'Where's my guitar?' and they looked at me like I'm crazy."
Update: SFist and ABC weigh in with blog and video, respectively.