Purple joy farewell for Prince
PRINCE was remembered as an ingenious artiste and closet humanitarian, but mostly as the provider of decades of joy, as artistes flocked to his native Minnesota for his recent sole public memorial ( far right).
Prince died on April 21 from an accidental painkiller overdose at his suburban Paisley Park compound, which recently opened up to tourists for the first time as his estate seeks to ensure financial stability.
The long-planned concert, taking place nearly six months after Prince’s sudden death, opened unexpectedly with a tribute from President Barack Obama.
“Thank you, Prince, for all the great works you have done. You will be in our hearts forever,” Obama, who is a fan and had invited him to play at the White House, said in a brief video message.
Staying true to Prince’s legacy of infectious funk music, the concert spent little time on tearful remembrances. Instead, a parade of singers close to Prince took turns on his hits before a purple sea of 20,000 fans at the XCel Energy Arena in Minnesota’s capital Saint Paul.
As Chaka Khan, who revived her career as the queen of funk with an assist from Prince, sang her signature song I Feel For You, she brought to the stage soul legend Stevie Wonder, who accompanied on harmonica.
Wonder, whom Prince cited as a role model, sported a purple shirt under his suit as he joined Khan on another feel-good anthem, 1999.
Choreographer Mayte Garcia, Prince’s ex-wife, then came out in a leopard-print dress and matching bikini top, performing an elegant belly-dance in which she balanced a sword on her head. The Middle Eastern beat morphed into Prince’s 7. Garcia did not address the crowd, letting her feelings be known with a beaming smile instead.
Delighting an audience made up mostly of local fans, the concert opened with Morris Day, Prince’s childhood friend in Minneapolis who played his rival in the classic 1984 film, Purple Rain.
Day led his band The Time in funky tracks including his best-known, Jungle Love, which Prince co-wrote under a pseudonym.
Singers Luke James and Bilal pulled off Prince’s most inimitable trait – his powerful falsetto – with James bringing in The Purple One’s sex appeal to Do Me, Baby.
Ana Moura, the Portuguese singer Prince championed, transitioned from her own songs into Little Red Corvette, adding a touch of her fado genre’s mournfulness.
In one of the more sombre moments, Judith Hill, the last in a long line of Prince protegees sang The Cross from his 1987 album,
one of his more overtlyreligious tracks.
“I know that Prince is alive and well and he is happy right now,” she said. – AFP