Despite long delays in the planning, there will be an official Prince tribute concert on Oct. 13 after all.
It just won’t be at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, with all those purple seats.
Instead, the concert featuring Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Christina Aguilera, John Mayer, Tori Kelly and others will be staged at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
The X, with its Minnesota Wild green seats, holds 15,000 to 18,000 for concerts. Concert capacity at the new Vikings stadium is about 50,000. Still, the smaller event is expected to raise more than $1 million for Prince’s estate.
“It’s not about the money. It’s about celebrating his life and music and bringing people together and love for Prince,” said L. Londell McMillan, one of the principal concert organizers.
Tickets will go on sale Monday at 10 a.m. at the Xcel Center box office, 1-800-745-3000 and on ticketmaster.com. Prices haven’t been announced yet, but McMillan said tickets would start at $19.99.
Other performers include Anita Baker, Doug E. Fresh, Luke James, Bilal, Mint Condition and Prince-connected acts — Morris Day & the Time, Judith Hill, Liv Warfield, the New Power Generation led by Morris Hayes, and members of 3rdEyeGirl.
The official tribute concert at U.S. Bank Stadium was announced in late July by Prince’s sister, Tyka Nelson. But details about the acts and tickets were never forthcoming, despite social media postings from Nelson and McMillan, special adviser to the estate, promising information in August and then after Labor Day.
Fans from around the world expressed their frustration, including some who already bought tickets for airlines and for Paisley Park tours and made hotel reservations.
“It’s like they pulled a rabbit out of the hat,” said Ingrid Ostrom of Greensboro, N.C., who paid for airfare and Paisley Park tickets and planned to take four unpaid days from work and pull her 14-year-old son out of school to visit Minnesota. “I’m thrilled they were able to get this together and keep the same date. At this point, I’m not sure [McMillan] could have gotten a full stadium [for the concert]. It was a smart move to a smaller venue.”
This week, concert organizers changed their venue target, McMillan said, “to better handle the costs and quality and sound and production.” Target Center is booked Oct. 13 for a concert by pop star Sia.
In an interview from his New York office on Thursday, McMillan explained that part of the challenge of putting the concert together — and hence the delays — was accommodating the schedules of in-demand artists.
“If it were a Prince show, it would be different,” said McMillan, who served as Prince’s lawyer and manager for a time in the 1990s and ’00s. “This is a classic all-star salute. We’re grateful for the fans’ support in the process.”
McMillan acknowledged the help of influential talent manager Irving Azoff, regarded as one of the most powerful figures in the music business, for helping put the concert together. Longtime Minneapolis concert promoter Randy Levy, who works on the Soundset hip-hop fest and Festival Palomino, has been brought in to assist with production.
McMillan said more acts could be announced later.
Prince, 57, died April 21 of an accidental painkiller overdose and no will has been found.
There has been confusion about his estate and heirs, though his six surviving siblings have been working with Bremer Trust, which was appointed the estate administrator.
Bremer retained McMillan, a New York entertainment lawyer and magazine publisher, and veteran music business executive Charles Koppelman, a New Yorker who has recently been involved with the careers of Adam Levine and Nicki Minaj, as official advisers.
McMillan and Koppelman are under time constraints of sorts. Their 90-day term as advisers to the estate will expire Nov. 2. That could be extended if Carver County District Judge Kevin Eide approves.
Prince’s estate has been valued at $100 million to $300 million before taxes, which could take as much as half of the value.
In addition to the official tribute concert, Prince’s estate is scheduled to open Paisley Park, his longtime studio complex in Chanhassen, for tours, starting Oct. 6. Tour tickets are $38.50, or $100 for the VIP tour.
Now fans have to scramble for tickets to the concert.
“If I get shut out of tickets now, I’ll die,” Ostrom said.