Minneapolis was closed last night.

Literally.

All of the streets surrounding First Avenue were closed. The streets that were open were so full of traffic and people that there was no point of trying to get anywhere.

Time had stopped and all eyes were on Minneapolis. All eyes were on the venue that I spend more time at than my own apartment. All eyes were on this community that I am more than proud to be a part of.

Some people had tears running down their cheeks and flowers in their hands. Some people had smiles on their faces as they reminisced about the legend himself.

Prince is dead.

That looks so weird to write and sounds so weird to say.

Prince is dead.

It’s like no matter how many times I say it out loud or type it here, it just doesn’t look right.

Prince is dead.

I have to be honest, I’m not a die-hard Prince fan. I more than respect him and completely understand his significance in the music scene but I just never fell in love with his music. That being said, I went downtown last night to pay my respects to the legend because he was, and always will be, such a vital part of this industry that I have completely immersed myself in and, let’s face it.. he is Minnesota music.

Prince’s death was felt around the country… no, the world, but I truly think Minneapolis took it the hardest. You see, around here Prince is not just a celebrity that you dream of meeting. He is that guy that lived in Chanhassen and opened up his house for pancake parties. The press called him weird, strange, and private but around here, we just knew him as that guy that you could randomly run into at other shows, record shops, hell, even the drug store.

Yeah so maybe he was a bit strange. When I found myself in the same building as him (which happened multiple times at shows) there was a strange aura in the air but it was almost comforting. A hush would come over the crowd because he had been spotted. Everyone in the crowd would take a couple of minutes to comment on the legend being in the same building but they would quickly realize he’s just another guy going out to try and enjoy some music.

I was fortunate enough to attend a couple of Prince’s pancake parties at Paisley Park. Yes, you heard that right… pancake parties. You would literally go to Paisley Park in your pajamas, eat pancakes, and wait around to see if Prince actually showed up to play. There were a few times where he played a full set, a few times where he would maybe play a song, and even one time where, after waiting for eight hours, I gave up and went home at 9am and didn’t even see him.

Time seemed to stop when the news broke. Any chance of me getting work done yesterday afternoon went out the window. I didn’t care about anything except getting out of work and rushing downtown to be a part of something that was going to be huge.

To say last night was huge would be an understatement. Within hours, an outdoor block party had been set up in front of First Avenue full of local musicians paying tribute to Prince and a crowd of thousands. The streets were shut down and the city was at a standstill. Even though it was completely unplanned and just looked like a giant clusterfuck of people in purple, it was the most beautiful thing I have (and probably ever will be) a part of.

I was lost in a sea of purple. Some people were bawling their eyes out on the shoulder of a stranger. Some people were singing along with the local musicians so loud that there is no way they have a voice left today. Some people seemed to be just completely lost and had no clue where to go or what to do.

That’s the crazy thing about celebrity deaths. You may have never met the celebrity, hell, you might have never even seen them live, but because of the way their music filled your life full of joy, their death feels like the death of your long time family pet. It’s like these waves of sorrow come over you and, although you know they’re not truly justified, you can’t help but succumb to the immense emotions going through your mind and body. I’ll be honest, when all of the local musicians got on stage to sing “Purple Rain” and the crowd joined in, I shed a tear. Did I personally know Prince? No. Did I absolutely love his music? No. But he impacted my life just like every other musician whose music has landed in the playlist of my life.

People stood in the streets for hours last night. Some of the lucky ones were able to make their way into First Avenue for the all night dance party that lasted until 7AM. Everyone else just stood in the streets and had their own dance party.

The party continues at First Avenue tonight and tomorrow night. My life seems to be on hold as I plan to go to as many of these festivities as I can including a showing of Purple Rain at Target Field tomorrow afternoon.

Prince is dead.

It still doesn’t sound right or real.

 

 

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