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By Christopher Gray, June 8, 2007, Music

Nothing Compares 2 Prince

When pop royalty plays a birthday party at a small local club, word gets around. So last Saturday night, it was no surprise to see private security staking out the alley behind the Belmont as sheriff's deputies directed traffic out front. "They want us to tape this whole street off, but if you're on the sidewalk, we can't do anything about that," one winked to the 35-40 onlookers milling around outside the Thistle Cafe, as Grupo Fantasma serenaded VIPs inside. If the parking valets' purple shirts weren't a big enough hint, a police-escorted limo rolling through at 10pm sharp was confirmation enough that Prince was indeed in the house, or about to be; the stinging guitar lick shortly thereafter eliminated any doubt. Just then, Belmont bouncers placed a pair of 15-foot-high white screens in front of the entrance, prompting a chorus of boos from the bystanders (and a warning from our deputy friend), but the sound carried just fine. Austin Mayor Will Wynn and Gov. Rick Perry were reportedly inside – Secret Service agents were stationed on nearby roofs – but Chronicle Editor Louis Black definitely was. "It was fantastic," he reports. Prince, said to have pulled down a cool million for the evening, jammed with Grupo on and off for about a half-hour before a miniset of "Little Red Corvette," "Nothing Compares 2 U," and a funk blast from 2006's 3121 that left everyone, inside or out, awestruck. "I cried blood," said Texas Rollergirls announcer Whiskey L'Amour.

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