Rest in Peace, Prince.
Last night I went to a sold out show of the movie Purple Rain in New York City. An artist as prolific as Prince has ample material for fans to absorb, and the digital age allows us to grieve him at our fingertips. I, myself, went down the purple rabbit hole watching performances and reading Prince stories posted by friends on Facebook. His music was part of the soundtrack of my youth, and with each track, a memory resurfaced. Yet after listening to nearly 12 hours of the 26-hour Minnesota public radio marathon broadcasting Prince’s entire catalog (in alphabetical order!), I needed to remember Prince with a crowd.
By any measure, Purple Rain is a ridiculous film…with an amazing score. The movie that launched Prince’s superstardom is at once silly and ernest, weird and funky, perhaps a bit like the man himself. I went to pay my respects. I went because I needed to laugh, cheer, and most of all, sing. I didn’t remember the movie being so funny (or so dated), but that’s the thing about a collective experience, emotions are contagious, and through most of the film we were roaring and clapping together.
At the end of the movie, Prince sang the title song, and all 300 or so of us swayed our arms along with the glamorous ’80s extras on the screen, singing our hearts out, especially during the falsetto oooo’s at the end. I suspect it was cathartic for everybody in the audience, most of whom stayed through the credits, a few dabbing the corners of their eyes.
There will never be another like him. Thank you for helping us get through this thing called life, dude.