One of the musical comrades who knew Prince best, Sheila E., may have said it best this time last year.
“He wouldn’t want me to sit here and cry,” the drummer and singer told the Star Tribune. “He’d want us to celebrate.”
While Sheila herself won’t be able to make it, many of Prince’s other musical collaborators and fans from around the world are converging in his hometown this week to do just that: celebrate his music and life rather than mourn him around Friday’s anniversary of his death.
“Celebration” is actually the name of the four-day event being hosted by Prince’s estate/family at Paisley Park in Chanhassen, where he recorded, lived and died. Many more tributes are taking place all over the Twin Cities. Here’s a rundown of the highlights.
At Paisley Park: The Celebration kicks off Thursday at 11 a.m. and lasts through Sunday with performances, discussion panels and tours each day until about 11 p.m. Tickets were sold in two scheduling “tracks,” so some fans will see activities during the day Thursday and then alternate to nighttime on Friday. Each act will thus perform twice per day, including Prince’s old bandmates in the Revolution, NPG and 3rdEyeGirl as well as his “Purple Rain” co-star Morris Day with his revamped lineup of the Time, plus recent protégés Liv Warfield and Shelby J. Only a limited number of the $549-$999 tickets remained at press time. More info: OfficialPaisleyPark.com, 7801 Audubon Rd., Chanhassen.
At First Avenue: Minneapolis’ landmark nightclub — where Prince filmed “Purple Rain” and regularly performed and hung out from 1981-1987 — is offering a much more low-cost alternative for local fans, including two late night dance parties on Friday and Saturday featuring in-demand local DJs such as Jake Rudh, Shannon Blowtorch, Lenka Paris and Keezy (10 p.m., $10, 701 1st Av).
The club and 89.3 the Current will also co-host a smaller version of last year’s impromptu Prince street party Saturday on the corner of 7th Street and 1st Avenue, the free tickets for which are already all claimed (5-10 p.m.). Then on Sunday comes what might be the coolest gig of the week: The “I Would Dance 4 U” kids dance party (10 a.m.-3 p.m.). More info: First-Avenue.com, 701 1st Av. N., Mpls.
At the Dakota: The downtown jazz haven that became Prince’s regular hang over the past decade is hosting the same powerful singer he came to see just two nights before his death, jazz/soul star Lizz Wright, for what should be an emotional show Wednesday (7 p.m., $50-$60). Then his protégé Shelby J returns for two late sets on Wednesday and Thursday (10 p.m., $40-$60). The all-star funk/jazz ensemble LP Music, featuring former Prince cohort Eric Leeds, also perform Thursday (7 p.m., $15). On Saturday, Andy Allo from his “Art Official Age” album will open for former Broadway star Morgan James, whose cover of “Call My Name” was a recent hit (7 and 9:30 p.m., $25-$35). More info: DakotaCooks.com, 1010 Nicollet Mall, Mpls.
At Bunker’s: Another downtown venue Prince was known to pop into — usually to jam with his former NPG mates Sonny Thompson and Michael Bland in their weekly Mambo’s Combo sessions — Bunker’s will host former Time guitarist and recent D’Angelo backer Jesse Johnson with “special guests” over three nights, Thursday-Saturday (7 p.m., $30-$125). More info: Ticketfly.com. 761 Washington Av. N., Mpls.
At the Metropolitan: Prince’s siblings are throwing their own Celebration after-party at the ballroom on Saturday with an array of guests including his earliest bandmates André Cymone and Dez Dickerson, his “Purple Rain” squeeze Apollonia and “1999”-era co-vocalist Jill Jones. (10:30 p.m., $43-$125). More info: PRNfamily.com, 5418 Wayzata Blvd., Golden Valley.
More tributes: Funk-rock vets Jaybee & the Routine will host the “Purple Love Experience” party Friday at the Minnesota Music Cafe (499 Payne Av., St. Paul). And one of the better Prince soundalikes in town, G-Sharp, performs a tribute with his band the Bizne$$ at Lee’s Liquor Lounge on Sunday (9:30 p.m., $10-$20).
On air: The public radio station for musicheads, 89.3 the Current, is hosting 24 hours of Prince music Friday and then a “Top 89 Prince Songs” countdown starting at 10 a.m. Saturday (online at TheCurrent.org).
On display: One of Prince’s “Purple Rain” outfits and some other related items will be on display at the Minnesota Historical Society from Tuesday through Sunday (345 Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul; MNHS.org). The Textile Center has a new quilt exhibit, “Commemorating His Purple Reign,” up through April 29 (3000 University Av. SE, Mpls.; TextileCenterMN.org.)