Tomorrow night at Numbers, the club will pay tribute to Prince on the first anniversary of his death with “Purple Friday.” In layman's terms, DJ Wes Wallace will mix even more of the late pop genius’s music than usual into an otherwise normal Classic Numbers set, which will then climax like the bridge of “Purple Rain” at the stroke of midnight with a solid hour of Prince hits and videos. Plus Prince memorabilia giveaways, crying doves and other surprises — basically everything except an official costume contest, but don’t be surprised to see more than a few Cuban-heeled boots, round mirror shades and frilly blouses anyway.
Events like this one, and the tide of news coming out of Minneapolis lately, make it that much harder to face up to the fact that Prince is really and truly gone. But as much as we’d all like to believe this is all some elaborate prank he and the late Charlie Murphy dreamed up over another game of hoops, soon to be revealed in a forthcoming Dave Chappelle Netflix special, that’s probably not going to happen. Fortunately, Prince's music is forever, and his memory is in no danger whatsoever of fading anytime soon because he gave us so many reasons to remember him by...but also to miss him, terribly.
What I miss most about Prince is imagining I might have visited the Continental Club to catch a Prince cover act, booked to commemorate Sign O' the Times' 50th anniversary, let’s say, in 2037. Before the show, there’d be a buzz that Prince himself, now nearly 80 years old, was in the building and then there he would be, onstage, gray-haired and arthritic but still the coolest person in the room. He’d be in a $50,000 custom-tailored suit and backed by a tack-sharp band that included his latest protégée/lover, some exotic beauty less than half his age. He’d play the old hits, but also the new stuff, because, like Johnny Cash and Leonard Cohen before him, he would have made some of his best music as a senior citizen of the world. What I miss most about Prince is thinking that a moment like that might really happen. JESSE SENDEJAS JR.
It feels weird to discuss Prince in a past tense. Even though we've been doing it for a full calendar year, it feels uneasy. Because for all we know the inevitable scythe that hangs over us, we do believe that some of us are eternal. Prince to me was eternal. And what I miss the most about him is that even as he approached 60, he was still inventing ways to captivate us as an audience. He had long proven himself as the voice for the awkward, the sexually confused or liberated. He maintained a staunch position on labels, rebellion and fighting for yourself in the face of bare-faced corporate machines. And in his last few years, as the number of his public appearances grew, we got to see the sly humor that previously only industry titans and collaborators saw.
Everyone had a Prince story. Everyone was getting a new one thanks to 21st-century technology and his frequent pop-ups at late-night jam sessions. How poignant he was with the small statements that turned into grandiose hit points for the world to stretch on Tumblr and social media. Prince's dying didn't feel real because I still hum and make up my own lyrics to "Erotic City"; the bass line from "777-9311" punctures my brain and takes over at a moment's notice. "Adore" is about as strong as love can feel while declaring your car is the one thing you don't want your lady to mess over. Michael Jackson's dying meant that a troubled soul was at peace; his last shred of normalcy and being the most famous man on the planet buried with Dangerous in 1991. Prince's dying just felt wrong; it still does.
I know many who will visit Paisley Park on Friday to pay their respects, to catch a glimpse of the one ghost who doesn't feel like he's truly left this realm in the first place. I wish I were among them, but it would be too sobering an experience. Prince is gone. And what I'll miss most? The ubiquity and power of the man himself. BRANDON CALDWELL
For some people, owning your sexuality doesn’t come easily, but for Prince it seemed to drip from every nook and cranny. Prince embodied the magic of the masculine and feminine, the yin and the yang — and had fans of every age loving it. He was the rabble-rouser for sex positivity. Enough so that in 1985, Tipper Gore, after hearing her preteen daughter play the audacious track “Darling Nikki” off the Grammy-winning Purple Rain, founded a coalition against explicit content in music. Prince, ladies and gentlemen, is the reason those tiny Parental Advisory stickers are on album packaging. What I’m missing is the sensibility of the rock and roll rebel, the boundary-pusher, that free soul who had something to say and found a way to sneak it into pop music. VERONICA ANNE SALINAS
I mostly miss Prince because he straddled that fine line between weird and cool. He was also something today’s music scene sorely lacks – mysterious. In today’s age of social media and the like, we know way too much about our musical heroes, and, quite frankly, celebrities in general. We grow bored of them far too quickly. Prince was a throwback to an era where our rock stars, while human, maintained an air of mystery. He was also super talented and was a welcome sight any time he decided to show up at an awards show, Minneapolis-area sporting event or wherever else. They didn’t get any cooler than Prince. CLINT HALE
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Because although Prince never had any true rivals — seriously, how could he? — he even made his rivals great. CHRIS GRAY
Numbers (300 Westheimer) pays tribute to Prince with "Purple Friday" on Friday, April 21.