It looked as though a giant sea of purple flowed out of Los Angeles City Hall and covered the lawn Thursday night. Actually, it was thousands of Prince fans, adorned in purple, at a tribute concert for the musician. Stevie Wonder, Eric Benet, Aloe Blacc, Faith Evans and Deitrick Haddon were among the performers tapped to salute Prince.
Prince was born in Minnesota, but “we know the City of Angels is where he found his wings,” said council member Marqueece Harris-Dawson, one of the event organizers. Speaking of wings, several doves were released into the crowd with the song When Doves Cry.
“It’s an emotional evening,” said DJ Adam 12, who worked with Prince for 20 years at L.A. nightclub Glam Slam. “Everybody has different beliefs in the universe and religion. Whatever the higher power is that you believe in, reached down and touched Prince,” he told USA TODAY, before taking the stage with some of Prince’s original band members. “He was the most talented, beautiful, special human being I think ever born. He touched a lot of people.”
Benet, who performed a cover of Prince’s Wanna Be Your Lover and Raspberry Beret with Haddon, was indeed one of those people. He said to USA TODAY, “There’s all this love out there for him. I know Prince is probably sitting on top of that building right now, we can’t see him, but he’s looking down and he’s like, ‘I’m feeling y’all for this.’”
Blacc changed the lyrics to his song The Man to “he’s the man,” and thanked Prince for paving the way for him. Blacc also performed a version of Diamonds and Pearls, which was fitting for the steps of City Hall, because the building was the primary site of Prince’s music video for that song, according to Harris-Dawson’s concert press release.
The event ended with a surprise appearance by Wonder, who was joined onstage by the other performers from the three-hour-long concert.
“In the spirit of Prince, we gotta love one another. And we can’t just talk about it, we gotta be about it,” Wonder said, closing the show with Purple Rain.