Royal Treatment

By David Perloff

Despite partying since like it's 1999 since 1982, the artist formerly known as a symbol (and born Prince Rogers Nelson), rocked a three-hour, six-encore set at Austin's South by Southwest in March, proving he can still hang with the young guns.

Now, the 54-year-old, five-foot-two mega-star presently known as Prince is coming to Hard Rock Hotel San Diego's 1,000-person-capacity Legends ballroom. He and his new all-girl band, 3rd Eye Girl, will treat America's Finest music lovers to four live shows, two each night on Friday and Saturday, May 3 and 4.

With 10 platinum albums and dozens of Top 40 singles under his belt, this dude's got the loot to make it purple rain. But fame comes at a price - 250 bucks a ticket to be exact (plus service fees, of course). Given that all four of his local shows are on track to sell out, the heir apparent-ly hasn't lost a step.

"Consider that the Prince show in Anaheim has four times the capacity, and the ticket price there is $200," says Andy Hersch, president of Gramercy Management Group and the guy who gets most of the credit for booking Hard Rock Hotel San Diego's (HRHSD) impressive line-up of national and international musical talent. "For Prince to do a small club show, it's like you, Prince and 900 of your best friends in a small, intimate ballroom."

But it's not just rock 'n' roll acts rocking HRHSD these days.

"We have hip-hop stars Bow Wow, DJ Scribble and Juvenile booked into 207 [HRHSD's ground-floor nightclub]; Prince in the ballroom; and amazing EDM DJs at Intervention."

Day two of Prince's San Diego reign falls on the eve of one of HRHSD's Intervention Sundays - electronic dance music parties headlined by big-name DJs who draw an average of 1,500 people each week to the prime pool deck in the heart of the Gaslamp.

"It's the the biggest outdoor pool event in Southern California," Hersch says.

Before coming to San Diego, Hersch worked at the Hard Rock casino in Las vegas (with his friends and current Gramercy partners Joe Barbour and Justin Zotts). Long story short, the guy's something of a pool party expert.

PacificSD: Do I need to do a lot of bench-pressing to puff up my chest for the pool at Intervention Sundays - or puff up my wallet to buy a table?
Andy Hersch: "Of course not. General admission ticket holders have an incredible time watching the shows and hanging out at the bars, in the lounge, by the fire pits and in the pool. or, you can be on a day bed in the middle of the dance floor, a VIP suite in the middle of the action, or a VIP cabana overlooking it all. We provide a high level of service, whether you work out or not."

Should I stick around San Diego for Intervention Sundays or head to Vegas?
"There's no reason to go to Vegas. If you're looking for that Sunday funday experience, awesome music and a pool party, it's right here."

Would you rather drink tap water in Mexico or the pool water after Intervention?
"Who writes your questions? I'd drink bottled water."

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