Prince‘s “Purple Rain” was made for heart-wrenching moments: it’s one long build towards an ecstatic, thrilling release. The ballad is so potent that Prince sequenced it last on the Purple Rain album – how could he possibly follow it with another song?
A slew of Prince tributes took place Thursday in the wake of the singer’s death, including separate celebrations of the star helmed by Questlove and Spike Lee in Brooklyn. But as much as the world loved Prince, he was a son of Minneapolis.
In his hometown, thousands of acolytes descended on the area around iconic rock club First Avenue to celebrate his legacy and mourn his passing. The city shut down most of 7th Street, and many of the buildings were lit in purple in Prince’s honor. After 8 p.m., a DJ playing Prince cuts was replaced by local artists who performed loving covers of Prince classics – “When Doves Cry,” “The Beautiful Ones,” and of course, “Purple Rain,” which resulted in a moving group sing-along partially captured by The Star Tribune.
Long after the cathartic karaoke session, the streets reportedly stayed full. Around 3 a.m., Rolling Stone overheard one woman declare, “It hasn’t been so packed out here since Purple Rain.”