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Entertainment & Arts

Prince’s last shows: A view from the front row

Prince’s last shows: A view from the front row

A detail of a photo taken from the front row at one of Prince's final shows, at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta on April 14. (Amiee Stubbs / For The Times)

A detail of a photo taken from the front row at one of Prince’s final shows, at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta on April 14. (Amiee Stubbs / For The Times)

During Prince’s second-to-last concert, the early show in Atlanta on April 14, “his voice was perfection” -- said a photographer who was seeing him for the seventh time and found herself in the right place at the right time to snap a photo she knew she shouldn’t be taking.

“I wasn’t going to share it,” said Nashville photographer Amiee Stubbs, 42, who had a third-row seat but found herself standing pressed up against center stage as the show was coming to a close. “Then this happened. He was so perfect that night.”

He played “Linus and Lucy” from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and David Bowie’s “Heroes,” she said by phone from Nashville on Friday, “and he took his songs and made them like I’ve never heard them.”

As for his health, “there were no indications that he wasn’t feeling well,” said Stubbs, who made the drive to Atlanta twice after Prince got sick and at the last minute pushed his Feb. 7 shows to the next Thursday. “He had the flu before ... but I was thinking he couldn’t be here if he couldn’t give his all.”

I’m just so glad I took that photo I shouldn’t have taken.

Amiee Stubbs, photographer and Prince fan

Because he was performing sans guitar, with only a piano and a microphone, he didn’t move around as much, she said, but looked as sexy as ever strutting out to the keyboard.

“Everything we love about him, it was there, even though the style was so different,” she said.

With no-photography rules strictly enforced at Prince shows -- she said she’s seen three people get booted just for pulling out their phones -- Stubbs wasn’t about to broadcast what she was doing. But with the best seat in the house, after the musician high-fived her and others up against the stage, she decided she had to get the shot.

“I was thinking, ‘I may never get this chance again,’” to be so close to Prince, she said. “I assumed there would be another time I saw him, though. I didn’t think I would be putting an iPhone photo in my portfolio.”

But, she said, “now I have that moment,” and maybe it could transport some people there.

“I’m just so glad I took that photo I shouldn’t have taken.”

Christie D’Zurilla

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