True Fact: The last time Prince played in Ottawa, it was at Oliver’s at Carleton U.


One of the great episodes in Ottawa music history has to be the time when Prince played an after-show at Oliver’s Pub at Carleton University.

Yes, for real.

It was June 2002, and he was in town for a sold-out show at the National Arts Centre.  Here’s an account by a guy named Alain, posted to

The Ottawa after show, held at a Carleton University campus pub, was amazing! It had been announced at the end of the NAC concert and a long line had already formed in front of the bar’s main entrance when my friends and I got there. We waited for a while and by the time they started letting people in, most of the band’s equipment had been set up on a small stage. I couldn’t believe it! Prince and his entourage eventually arrived and hung out in an enclosed area by the side of the stage. They all appeared very relaxed and were chatting with each other and having a drink.

When Prince and the band finally hit the stage, they played the following songs: (I am not sure if I got the order right…)

Whole Lotta Love
Elephants and Flowers
The Jam
Days of Wild

It was a real jam session, with too many memorable moments to list. Prince seemed to be having the time of his life, displaying the same high level of energy he had earlier at the NAC. He often pointed the mike to the audience and encouraged us to sing ‘Ottawa, Ottawa!’ The music was extremely loud and funky…

I am still on a high from this performance. Not only was the music remarkable, but I left with a great feeling about my hometown. Ottawa has a reputation for not having much of nightlife… I was really surprised by the turnout, as well as the enthusiasm and appreciation shown by the audience, especially for a Sunday night.  Read more… 

Prince plays tonight at Scotiabank Place.  I wonder if he’ll do an impromptu after-show performance this time?  My long shot locations: the new IKEA, Jim Watson’s house, Mort’s Pub in Bells Corners.  If you see him, let us know.

And if you were at that show at Oliver’s back in ’02, please tell us about it in the comments below.

See also: Ottawa Music Guide
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OttawaStart Staff


1 Response

  1. Anonymous says:

    I was at Oliver's Pub as well. Maceo Parker and Larry Graham played. There were maybe a 150 people there to watch it. It was fantastic. They'd play for a bit, then go for a beer or a smoke outside, and come back and play some more.

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