Throughout Grammy-winning drummer Bobby Z’s American Heart Association fundraiser Saturday at First Avenue whispers prevailed that his Revolution band mate Prince was also at the nightclub where “Purple Rain” was filmed.
That was not Prince. That was Marcus Scott, a Chicago man who tells me he’s making a living all over the world as a Prince look-alike.
Among the clues the “Benefit 2 Celebrate Life!” was not being graced with the real Prince’s presence: a) he was not backstage hiding in the dressing room for the musical stars; b) he wanted to shake hands but only got a fist-bump from me because it’s cold and flu season; c) he was mingling, engaging people in conversation; and d) he was TAKING PICTURES. There’s even one on Twitter taken by @Retro 17 that captures me giving “Prince” a kiss. Would Symbolina ever be that close to the woman who inspired the song “Billy Jack Bitch”? No, he would not.
The princely confusion is completely NOT UNDERSTANDABLE, based on what Scott told me he was telling fans.
“I was here yesterday for Questlove and as soon as I walked in, the crowd went crazy,” said Scott, who added that happens all the time. “And I tell them I’m not him. I say, ‘I’m not him,’ and they say, ‘Yeah, right, Prince.’ ”
I told Scott he looks more like Prince than most of us, but the differences are obvious to me.
“You can tell the difference when you know him, when you have been in his face; when you have seen him,” said Scott. “But if you have never seen Prince, you’re going to think I’m Prince.”
Bobby Z told me Scott was at Prince’s recent shows at the Dakota.
Dr. Funkenberry.com said: “Prince had a message for Bobby this week on our Spreecast show. ‘Prince would like to thank Bobby Z for his continued support and pledges his friendship for eternity. All the best.’ ”
“Very cool,” read Dr. Funkenberry, a news and funk website.
Prince “was there in spirit,” Bobby Z said to me of his former boss. Bobby suffered a near-fatal heart attack in 2011 that’s made him appreciative and even more benevolent through his mypurpleheart.org. “Maybe the fifth one,” Bobby Z said, when asked if Prince will ever attend the event. “He’s knows this is my moment. He knows he can’t watch the show like a person. He knows what he’s doing.”
Word around the event was that Bobby Z’s wife, Vicki, was telling friends that she was wearing a T-shirt sent by Prince. It featured the cover art of Prince’s current release “3rd Eye Girl,” and you can see it at the 13:16 mark in my startribune.com/video.
Too much of a good thing?
Gretchen Lieberum, half of Princess, the band that sings Prince songs, told the audience that she has seen the movie “Purple Rain” more than 120 times.
Lieberum performs with “Saturday Night Live” alum Maya Rudolph, who didn’t let a little thing like being great with child prevent her from dancing her best. OK, I love Maya Rudolph but thought her set was like an SNL skit that wouldn’t end. I’m sure I was in the minority on this. The time Princess spent on stage may be explained by Bobby Z calling the event Rudolph’s “Holy Purple Jerusalem, the first time she ever performed on the First Avenue stage.”
I wonder if Lieberum and Rudolph had a chance to take in the “7.27.84 Purple Rain” photo backdrop? Somebody hit me up on Twitter and asked me if the paint job on that insignia inside the nightclub featured the darkest purple ever or black.
In other notable moments, Mint Condition’s Stokley Williams was making some fashion statement in red pants.
Bobby Z, Dr. Fink, Andre Cymone and Dez Dickerson, alums of Prince’s first band, performed, as did Alexander O’Neal, and Nicholas David (the Minnesota guy on NBC’s “The Voice.”)
C.J. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and seen on Fox 9’s “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count. Attachments are not opened.