Gallaudet alum remembers Prince's secret campus concert
WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- In November of 1984, Prince sold out seven shows at Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland. Before he left the DC area, he played one more – a free concert on a campus where most wouldn’t be able to hear it.
Stephen Hlibok was 21 years old, and a student at one of the largest deaf universities in the country, Gallaudet University, when he saw Prince.
"It was just one quite afternoon in November,” Hlibrok said, through an interpreter. “All the sudden everybody started chattering and saying 'Go! Go to the field house! There's going to be a concert there.' I had no idea who was performing. I just thought, 'you know - I should go.'”
That’s exactly what he did. Hlibok says he followed a sea of people through campus and to the Field House.
"When I got there I was shocked at the size of the stage. It was covered in black. It had these giant towering speakers.”
The amazement quickly grew.
Shortly after, Prince walked out on the stage – and sang a number of songs, including “Purple Rain.”
"He sang and he really rocked the house that night. It was amazing. I could feel every beat.”
Prince and his team kept the concert under wraps until the last minute. According to the Washington Post’s coverage of the concert, over two-thousand people attended.
Decades later, Hlibok is still amazed Prince choose Gallaudet.
"At that time it was unheard of to sing a song to an audience of… deaf people but Prince was very sensitive to the disability community at that time and he always wanted to give back."