Star not very good at deadlines, agent tells court

 

THE TWO men from the William Morris Agency were anxious for a response when they arrived at Prince’s Beverley Hills home less than two weeks before his scheduled Croke Park concert.

Keith Sarkisian and Marc Geiger had waited for over a month to get an answer directly from Prince as to whether he was going to cancel the concert on June 16th, 2008. The enigmatic performer had already indicated that he was not interested in other dates on a European tour.

The pair were on a salvage operation for the Dublin concert. They presented three options to Prince. He could play the concert and get a net pay day of $2.7 million (€2 million), he could cancel and give a legal reason such as being sick or he could cancel without reason.

They explained that he could face potential liabilities for cancelling the show at short notice.

“He got definitely agitated,” Mr Sarkisian said yesterday. “He kept saying ‘you guys got me into this mess. I’m going to have to fix it’.”

When Prince confirmed for the first time that he would not be playing the concert, he expressed a desire to speak to MCD promoter Denis Desmond. “Tell the cat to chill, we’ll figure it out,” Mr Sarkisian recalled Prince saying at that June 3rd meeting.

Despite the singer’s absence from the court, his mercurial personality loomed large over proceedings. Mr Sarkisian recalled having dinner at Prince’s house after tickets went on sale for the Croke Park concert. “What was the atmosphere like?” asked Mr Justice Peter Kelly.

“Conversations with Prince are always interesting,” said Mr Sarkisian to a ripple of laughter. “They are usually about things such as world issues, politics or religion – not guarantees or monies.”

Mr Sarkisian said he couldn’t recall if he mentioned the Dublin date at dinner in Prince’s house, but he recalled the singer was pleased to hear there was considerable interest from European promoters in him. “He was asking us to do more,” added Mr Sarkisian when asked if Prince had remonstrated with him for going ahead with the Dublin date.

With the Irish date confirmed, or so WMEE thought, other promoters came on board. However, there was still no definitive answer from Prince.

“Prince was not very good at deadlines,” said Mr Sarkisian. He said Prince’s assistant Ruth Arzate had told him not to press the singer “or else he could do the opposite”. Instead she suggested he write an e-mail to the reclusive star “as softly but as firmly” as Mr Sarkisian could.

At the end of a long day Mr Justice Kelly said he had got the impression that Prince was a “very erratic individual”.

Mr Sarkisian said it “might sound like he’s completely crazy, but it is more that Prince has ways of doing things and that may not make sense to other people.”