It’s always hard saying goodbye to iconic figures like Prince Rogers Nelson. We feel we know them, even if we don’t, and want to claim a piece of them in some small way. This is why record sales of Prince’s music shot up by 2.3 million within 24 hours. It is why we’ll be hearing countless stories of the music legend’s last days, and those who knew him personally will share their memories.
I don’t remember the exact date, but five years ago, sometime between April 14 and May 4, 2011, I was fortunate to catch Prince’s 21-day concert at the Forum. This was before Madison Square Garden bought the venue, and not much was going on.
Word spread quickly about the $25 tickets, which was truly unread of. So when my friend Ray invited me to the concert, I was more than ecstatic.
“I know this is last minute,” he said, “but I have an extra ticket to see Prince tonight, and I was wondering if you’re not too busy…”
“Absolutely yes!” I said. “Why are we still talking Ray? I’m on my way now. I’ll text you from the Forum parking lot.” To this day, it ranks as one of the best concerts I’ve attended—more precious now that he’s gone.
Minnesota will forever claim Prince as its native son, and rightfully so. He will long be remembered as one of the coolest neighbors in Chanhassen—one who hosted impromptu dance parties at his Paisley Park estate. Word is that Minnesota is even considering changing its state color to purple.
But what Prince gave to Inglewood is also pretty special. He put his money where his heart was and has always been—with the people. He brought A-class entertainment to an iconic venue at a time that it desperately needed resurrection. He gave the same level of performance for $25 that could have easily demanded hundreds of dollars. He did that for the community.
While Inglewood can claim one of Prince’s last biggest runs, it is obvious that Prince claimed Inglewood too. According to a Rolling Stone article, during Prince’s opening night performance, he shouted "Inglewood is mine!"
Prince loved the Forum and commented that it was one of his favorite places to play. He said he came there for the first time to see the Jackson Five; then he sang a medley of Michael Jackson songs.
Two and a half hours later, he ended the set, and appeared minutes later dressed in a gold lame suit with matching heels. The crowd went crazy and chanted: “More! More!” The Purple One didn’t seem a bit tired, so he kept playing.
“Y’all just don’t want to go home, do you?” he said.
“No! No!” the crowd yelled back.
“I know, I don’t want to leave either,” he said. He kept playing.
I remember coming home that night, thinking what a generous soul he was and tweeting my appreciation: “Dear Prince, Thanks for being so generous and allowing us to enjoy your show for $25. Good lookin’ out. Love you.”
In the coming days, there will be much talk about Prince’s estate. There will be speculation around the singer’s highly valued music vault, which is said to contain hundreds of unpublished songs.
Time will tell who gets what. But more important than Prince’s financial fortune, however (said to be worth around $300 million) is the value of his impact on others. His legacy inspired the courage to be authentic, and unique. This is something we can all claim for ourselves.