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Hear the Afghan Whigs and Har Mar Superstar pay tribute to Grant Hart at First Ave

 

 

A lot of love was shared between the Afghan Whigs and Har Mar Superstar last night at First Avenue, but the best moment came when they showed their mutual love for Grant Hart just a week after the local Hüsker Dü legend passed away.

Currently serving as the Whigs’ opening act on tour, Sean “Har Mar" Tillmann dedicated his heart-kicking ballad “How Did I Get Through the Day?” to Hart during his set on Thursday. Then the hometown opener came back out during the Whigs' encore to join the (reformed and revitalized) Cincinnati band’s frontman Greg Dulli in a predictably intense version of Hart’s underrated 1985 Hüskers classic “Keep Hanging On.” Local musichead Kyle Matteson thankfully caught the tribute on video, posted below and on YouTube.

“When I found out that Grant Hart had passed away I was very sad,” said Dulli, who has many Minneapolis ties, “but I was also very happy because his songs and his band’s songs changed not only my life but so many other people’s. To stand here on the stage where so many people including Hüsker Dü stood is an honor.”

As their tribute came to a close, Tillman urged the crowd, “Do the chorus with us, just to send it up to Grant. Wherever he is, he’s just a beautiful person.”

Dulli & Co. also paid a little homage to Prince by sliding in a snippet of “Sometimes It Snows in April” as the lead-in to their own dramatic gem “Faded.” Let's hope no other local heroes die between now and the next Whigs gig in town. You can read a full review of Thursday's show in City Pages

Prince items belonging to Susannah Melvoin and other associates go up for auction

The backstage laminate from the 1980 tour with Rick James is part of RR Auction's new collection. / Courtesy RR Auction

This backstage laminate from Prince's 1980 tour with "Superfreak" hitmaker James is part of RR Auction's new collection. / Courtesy RR Auction

Another trove of one-of-a-kind Prince mementos and personal items is on the auction block, and this time some of the offerings truly are personal.

Boston-based memorabilia seller RR Auction -- which hosted a big sell-off back in February with former Paisley Park staffers – is now marketing an even larger bundle of goods, including some truly unique items belonging to Susannah Melvoin, Prince’s girlfriend in the mid-‘80s and the sister of his Revolution guitarist Wendy Melvoin.

Susannah's offerings are featured alongside other newly available artifacts from Prince’s longtime horn player Eric Leeds, assistant tour manager Gwen Leeds (Eric’s sister-in-law), costume designer Helen Hiatt and several other ex-employees of Paisley and/or PRN Productions. Maybe the most coveted piece in the 200-plus-item roundup will be Prince’s laminated backstage pass from his first big tour opening for Rick James in 1980, a photo of which has already been all over social media (current bid: $1,500).

The most talked-about items, however, could be Melvoin’s. Also known from the “Nothing Compares 2 U”-singing Prince side-project the Family (with Eric Leeds) and as the co-writer of “Starfish and Coffee,” she offered up 27 items to RR Auction. They include Prince’s handwritten script notes for the movie “Under the Cherry Moon” (now at $4,875), leggings he wore during his early stage outings in 1979 ($888) and a series of one-word postcards that purportedly precluded his marriage proposal to Melvoin ($330).

In a Soundcloud recording posted alongside her items on RR Auction’s site, Melvoin singles out those nuptial-hinting postcards as the kind of thing that was authentically Prince. They were apparently sent by a Bachman’s florist to Melvoin, who misspelled her name as "Miss Malvoin" and wrote individually on the cards, "Please," "No," "Guess?" and "Yes."

“I knew, no matter if it was his writing, this was him,” she says. “This came directly from him. I knew that nobody could think that way.”

Also in the podcast, Melvoin preemptively strikes down possible criticism over her decision to sell off these items, saying that her personal memories of Prince and his music are what mean the most to her. She might also get a sympathetic break from Prince diehards after the celebrity tabloids reported a few years ago that her ex-husband, Texas blues-rocker Doyle Bramhall II, was allegedly behind on paying child support to her (celeb gossip because Bramhall was dating actress Renee Zellweger at the time). 

“It’s OK for me to put those in the hands of collectors, and people would say their lives become fuller,” Melvoin told RR Auction. “It puts branches on their tree of life. It’s now a part of their lives. I’m happy to share that. If I had more [to share], I would.”

There’s plenty more to choose from besides her contributions in the auction, which wraps up Sept. 27. See the whole shebang at RRauction.com. Other highlights include:

*Nine pages of Prince's handwritten musical enhancements notes for the film “Purple Rain.”

*Prince's bright yellow custom-made high-heeled shoes from the “Sign o’ the Times” tour (seen below).

*Prince’s 'Mountains’ handwritten chorus music sheet lyrics.

*Another vinyl pressing of the infamously shelved 1986 LP “Camille.”

*A 1986 cassette recording of Prince rehearsing.

Susannah Melvoin, left, with twin sister Wendy Melvoin in the 'Girls & Boys' video.

Susannah Melvoin, left, with twin sister Wendy Melvoin in the 'Girls & Boys' video.

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