Purple cloud reigns over Prince

In 2011, my wife and I made the decision to take our kids to see Prince playing live in concert at the Inglewood Forum. I am that glad we did.

You have to excuse me, but my heart is broken right now. I feel sick. I feel cheated. The voice. The style. The music. The platform shoes. The irreplaceable falsetto. The showmanship. Gone forever. Prince no longer with us? This cannot be. This is a nightmare I just wish would go away.

I wish I can just wake up and see a different headline than the one that tells us unflinchingly that Prince Rogers Nelson has taken his musical show to eternity. This news is hard to grasp, difficult to comprehend. The words are hard to put down right now, but I am going to do the best I can to articulate my thoughts on Prince.

 Prince performing at Coachella 2008. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons/Michamedia
Prince performing at Coachella 2008. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons/Michamedia

But what can I say that already has not been said about Prince? Probably nothing new. I’m going to give it a try, though. Gone too soon, too suddenly, and why? In the days to come, there figure to be a lot of things that will come to light following the darkness of his passing.

What a magnificent light Prince gave us. The first time I heard a Prince song was way back when Soft and Wet hit the airwaves in 1978. I was hooked. So were a lot of other people. But to a lot of black people, Prince was a strange cat that they didn’t quite get at first.

To be fair, there were a lot of people who didn’t Prince at the infancy of stellar-laced career. He was booed off stage while opening a concert for the Rolling Stones in 1981.

Prince was simply an artist who simply defied description. The music was something different we haven’t heard before, well maybe not since Jimi Hendrix. Prince was black but played the guitar like a heavy metal guitarist.

The music he played did not fit in the mode of black music. He was funk, R&B, rock, country, jazz and whatever else genre of music. That’s Prince. He always broke the mode. From start to finish, Prince was altogether a different dude. He rolled to a different beat. That’s why he’s called a genius.

That’s what we all love about him. He created his own sound-the Prince sound. He was also the prettiest man you will probably ever see. He was so good-looking that he is the only guy I know who could put on  makeup, wear a pair of heels and take your woman in the same breath.

If you think I’m lying, go check out the “I Wanna Be Your Lover” video that features Prince wearing hoop earrings, coming across bare-chested with his long hair flowing in movement like Farrah Fawcett. Yeah, that press and curl worked wonders for a lot of his legion of female fans.

Getting back to the concert. Before embarking on my Inglewood trek, I had seen Prince during his “Purple Rain” tour back in the 1980s. It was the most amazing experience I had ever had at a musical concert. It was more than just the music with Prince. It was the whole show.

Prince was jumping off of 10-foot speakers, falling into the crowd without fear of being hurt or being dropped. The guitar solos were mesmerizing, just plain unforgettable. His music always had a hypnotic feel to them. Prince was more than a talented musician. He was one-of-a-kind. The gift God gave him touched millions.

Prince. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Prince. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Words cannot adequately reflect the power of seeing Prince live. I remember thinking that if I had the opportunity to take my family to see Prince, I would. I had always talked about seeing Prince in concert, and what a blast it was.

My wife was looking forward to experience the same thing euphoric feelings I felt when I saw Prince in concert.

I wanted my family to have the same experience I had. Well, since Prince was a lot older than he was on that “Purple Rain” tour, he was not flying off of big drop speakers anymore. And he wasn’t incorporating  some of those racier lyrics into some of his songs either.

So I was thought it was safe to take the kiddies. My wife and I took our children so that they could say they had the opportunity to see Prince at least once in their lifetime.

Unfortunately, it turned out to be their only time. Tickets were going for $25 a pop, so we knew that this would be the most opportune time for a family of five to catch the icon at one time together.

It turned out to be a memorable evening in more ways than one. My two teenage sons were into the concert for a short period, but wound up falling asleep and missing out on half of the show, which featured the lovely and talented Sheila E.

My daughter was all in, dancing and rolling to every beat being played by the Purple One, so much so she wore herself out and zonked out by the time the last three songs were played.

The thing about Prince’s music is the connection he used to have with his audience. During my “Purple Rain” experience, I remember feeling that I didn’t attend a concert with a bunch of adoring fans, I was among people who absolutely worshiped all things Prince.

It was a pure revelation to see how one man could exercise command over so many people with such authority. Prince knew how to work a crowd like anyone I have ever seen. He was the perfect showman. He could play any instruments you wanted to hear, rock with the best of them and use that signature falsetto to blow you away.

It is something that I know my kids will certainly never forget. Before “Purple Rain” captured so many people’s heart and made such a big splash on the international market, I became an embedded fan when the critically-acclaimed “Controversy” became a big deal.

Any man wearing leggings, platform shoes with nothing but a trenchcoat to cover himself up was going to get attention and stir the nest, which Prince did. Prince’s music made us wrestle with ourselves as he unveiled the dynamics of sex and religion in one big foreplay motion.

Man has always struggled with sex and tried to formulate his morality through religion. Prince blended both of them together in a harmonious effort. Nobody could do Prince but Prince. There will only be one. Like most everyone else, I am sad and hurt to know that’s he’s gone. But what’s not gone are the unforgettable memories he left me and my family with.

Dennis J. Freeman
About Dennis J. Freeman 1056 Articles
Dennis covers the NFL (San Diego Chargers), NBA (Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers), Major League Baseball (Los Angeles Dodgers) and NCAA sports (USC, UCLA, Long Beach State). As a professional journalist, Dennis has also covered and written on topics such as civil rights, politics and social justice. Dennis is a graduate of Howard University.