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Purple City Take 4: A parade of Prince associates performs late-night show

Andre Cymone

Andre Cymone

A parade of Purple People marched across the stage at the Metropolitan in Golden Valley late on Saturday night.

It was an official after-party staged by Prince’s brother Omarr Baker, and he called on some names from his big bro’s career: Andre Cymone, Dez Dickerson, Apollonia, Jill Jones, Susan Moonsie, Donna Grantis, Marva King and newcomer Natalia.

They all sat in with G Sharp & the Bizness, the house band for the late-night soiree. The top-notch, 10-piece Twin Cities group is well versed in the Purple repertoire, with a tendency to let the jams reward the musicians as much as the club-goers.

Cymone did “Pop Life,” Dickerson dusted off “Little Red Corvette,” Grantis and King joined in on “Kiss,” Apollonia plus Moonsie and Jones teamed up on “Nasty Girl.”

Several of Prince’s old pals offered stories about him. Cymone told how they were going to get their huge Afros done in a precursor to jheri curl but Prince didn’t like his new ‘do. So he got a second perm, which was a mistake, because he ended up with short straight hair. Said Prince: “I like it.”

Apollonia (below) reprised her oft-told story about filming the purify-yourself-in-Lake-Minnetonka scene for “Purple Rain.” She passed out because the lake water was so cold and they were about to call an ambulance but Prince woke her and she was fine. Or something mystical like that.


Jones recalled how she was driving Prince’s BMW because he and Morris Day had temporarily lost their driver’s licenses. She took Day home from the hair salon and then she was heading back to pick up Prince from the salon. But she had a winter mishap, the cops came and discovered that her California license was expired.

She tried to pass herself off as her mother. The cops called her bluff and she ended up in jail. She eventually called Prince and he came to rescue her before he’d had his curls combed out.

One of Prince’s new discoveries, Natalia, offered two solo numbers on the piano, including a romantic ballad she wrote with him that might be called “Candlelight.” She has a lovely voice.

Baker (below)  acted as the gracious host. He had one of the night’s best lines when he introduced Cymone, saying “He knew Prince before Prince created Prince.”


Purple City Take 3: Dancing at First Avenue on the anniversary of Prince's death

"Purple Rain" at First Avenue

"Purple Rain" at First Avenue

Day 2 of the Celebration at Paisley Park ended at the un-Princely hour of 9:50 p.m. Friday. The Purple One usually didn’t hit the stage in his own house till after midnight.

So what was a Prince fan in Minneapolis to do on the night of the first anniversary of his death?

Head to First Avenue for the late-night dance party.

I arrived just before DJ Jake Rudh wrapped up his set. He stopped the music, got on the mic and explained. “My last two songs are a bit on the emotional side. You can’t dance to them. But they must be played.”

With that, he spun “The Beautiful Ones” and “Purple Rain,” complete with footage from the movie.

The dancefloor was packed with revelers who looked a generation younger than most of the folks at Paisley Park’s Celebration. Maybe the First Ave-goers couldn’t afford the tickets to the $500-$1,000 four-day event in Chanhassen but wanted to celebrate the hometown hero on this significant night.

Two Twin Cities women I encountered mentioned that’d they been at First Avenue exactly 365 days ago.

When “Purple Rain” came on, the crowd woo-who’ed much louder than the 1,000 fans at Paisley Park had earlier on Friday during two separate performances (daytime and evenings) of the same song by the Revolution.

The footage on the screen was actually shot on the same stage behind the screen back in 1983. It was trippy to watch the live audience wave their arms in unison with the fans on film (extras, actually) who were at First Ave when the movie was made.

It was a cellphone moment.

Then as 1 a.m. struck. DJ Lenka Paris took over on the main stage, with a purple motorcycle festooned with a Prince symbol parked in front of her turntables. The party continued until the dawn, or at least 4 a.m.

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