Peter booked a hotel within walking distance of First Avenue, so we could easily get there by foot, rideshare, or Skyway. We stayed at the Millennium Hotel which had the regular suite of amenities you can expect at a top hotel. As we found out, it also had a sauna.
As we were going to our room, we talked to two other hotel guests and asked where they had come in from and what brought them to Minneapolis on Valentine’s Day. I suspect my look of fear at the prospect of going outside and my odd collection of warming layers made us rather curious, too. They were from another Minnesotan town about 100 miles west and had come for a pheasant and quail hunters’ convention taking place at the convention center across from the hotel.
“You think this is cold?” he laughed with amusement, and proceeded to describe being out on a snowmobile in 50 below windchill.
We relaxed and crashed out for a few hours until we decided to have some dinner. Just a block away was Brits Pub, which looked interesting.
“Ask us about outdoor seating!” a sign in the window announced, and Peter cheekily did, much to the hostess’ horror. She told us we could try out the Clubhouse upstairs, which had a fireplace and a view of Minneapolis, and was reached by stairs hinting a storied past for the building.
Peter and I enjoyed some pints and dinner. I asked our server who now knew that we came from Nashville if we would be able to walk to First Avenue or if we should call a rideshare. I was bundled up, but I didn’t want to die. Peter assured me that the alcohol would have a anti-freeze effect, and the fat in the cheese sandwich I’d just had would provide an extra layer of warmth. And so out in the cold we went.
First Avenue is a legendary site, and most people know it as the place where Prince and The Time played in Purple Rain. Peter saw multiple acts there, and the names of the acts in the stars that covered the outside walls included many of our favorite bands from the 1980s and on.
The club however didn’t open until 8 pm, and we’d gone especially early to pick up our tickets. In Nashville, fans hold up the wall until doors open. That was not a reasonable option, so we went to a nearby pub.
By the time we finished a pint, the doors were open and there was a line of old punks our age filtering in and grumpily showing ID that proved that yes, said 50 year old is over 21. A great number of them were wearing the iconic Suburbs t-shirt like the one Peter has, and it was warm enough to take off the top layer of warmth. We staked ourselves a spot near the front of the stage, a position we’d have to defend.
I was soon to experience my first concert in Minneapolis.