December 11, 2021 Rock & Roll, Entertainment, Sports and Americana
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/11/2021

Offered is Prince's tour bus bed canopy used on his custom coach from the 1984-85 Purple Rain concert tour. This elegant and massive fabric would have enclosed Prince's bed while traveling on the bus. The canopy is owned by the owner of "Smooth Ride" Custom Coach Leasing, who brought us the entire "Smooth Ride Rock & Roll Tour Bus Collection" an earlier auction. The accompanying letter from Smooth Ride owner Sandra Placco details the company's time working with Prince and the circumstances behind ending up with the canopy. It reads in part:

We did the Controversy and 1999 tours for Prince, and Prince was so impressed that he asked Smooth Ride to do the coaches and build him two special vans for the Purple Rain tour. We again worked with Florida Coach, and we put 13 coaches on the tour, built his special vans in Tennessee (where we lived then). When we drove the vans up to Minneapolis in 1984, my then-husband Dominick introduced me to Prince for the first time. The band was at a large hall rehearsing for the Purple Rain tour. Prince was at the sound board, and when the lights came back up, Dominick took me over to meet him. I was taken by how small he was, and when I extended my hand for a shake his little tender hand came out for a light grasp. I always looked into others' eyes when meeting, but Prince was famously shy-we had no eye contact. He was polite, though, and returned back to his work. 

Normally I would be focused on tour bookings and contracts, but I ended joining the Purple Rain tour because we had 13 coaches, drivers, security and two vans. When I met up with the tour, I had to bring the children, with me. Chris was 3 and 1/2  years old and Little Dominick was about 8 years old. Right away Prince and the group took to Little Dominick! One night I had the kids sitting with me back stage on a trap case, right near Prince’s dressing room, and a member of  The Time (Prince's opening band) started dancing to some of the prep music played while the audience got seated. Little D joined in and wow! Soon other members of the band were watching, and before you know it - they were all dancing! Prince came out and caught sight of it, put his hands on his hips and just started laughing.  Later in the show, when it was almost time for “Baby I’m a Star” to get started, Jerome grabbed little D and next thing I know he’s on stage dancing with Prince! The crowd loved it. So every night from then on, while we were out there, Little D danced on stage!  There were many great moments with Prince as he got to trust me--his love of mothers influenced him with our relationship. 

That's why I think Prince stood at the closet on his private coach and looked at his tour jacket, knowing who would end up with it--the trophy of the Purple Rain Tour. He also left behind a stage-played tambourine, two stage-worn headbands and the satin canopy that covered the bed on his coach. 

The canopy measures 45 inches by more than 110 inches long, as it was made to lavishily drape over a bed. It exhibits some staining and small tears, along with age-related toning. The distress is from improper storage. Excellent condition.

Smooth Ride Rock & Roll Tour Bus Collection

Each item in the collection is accompanied by a signed letter of authenticity from owner Sandra Placco. Her letters read in part:

Smooth Ride Custom Coach Leasing operated for over 40 years providing tour bus services to rock & roll bands. We began building coaches in our driveway in Red Hook, New York back in 1974. The first tour was with a band called Orleans (their big hit was “Still the One”), and we operated until 2014. We went on to provide tour bus services to dozens and dozens of different acts, including Prince, KISS, Phish, Trey Anastasio, Bob Dylan's “Rolling Thunder Revue”, Janet Jackson, Alice Cooper, TOTO, Bruce Hornsby, Don Henley, Steve Miller, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Neil Young, Weezer, Fall Out Boy, Arcade Fire, to name just a few!

The business originally started as “Land Yacht” and gained the trusted name of “Smooth Ride” in the early 80s. Our reputation grew, and tours just came in as entertainers found that we provided a better way to get from point A to point B. I personally handled the tour booking, tour contracts with the bands and management companies and our company financials. Around 1984, we started working with Florida Coach, who built custom coaches for us, and later we worked with Night Train Coach of Nashville, Tennessee, as well as many other custom coach companies, over the years. We stopped operating in 2014, as I was preparing for retirement. 

Princes 1984 <em>Purple Rain</em> Tour Bus Satin Bed Canopy
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $500
Final prices include buyers premium: $0
Estimate: $1,000 - $2,000
Number Bids: 0
Auction closed on Saturday, December 11, 2021.
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