Minneapolis – The energy was in the air at the Excel Center on Thursday for the Official Prince Tribute Concert, sponsored by the late Artist’s Family and Estate. There were many uncertainties concerning the event, including whether or not it was going to happen and who was confirmed to perform. Much to his fans delight, the sold out concert took place despite changing venues and a few no-shows including Detroit’s Anita Baker, John Mayer and Christina Aguilera. 910 AM Superstation was the ONLY station in Detroit to physically cover this event.

The house lights went down and the arena went into a frenzy; as if the Purple One himself was going to take center stage. The tribute started with a taped message from President Barrack Obama and St. Paul Mayor Christopher Coleman was present declaring October 13th as “Prince Day” in the city. The 5 plus hour concert included some of music’s biggest names including Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan and Doug E. Fresh. Also Prince’s former bands 3rd Eye Girl and the NPG jammed all night along and his ex-wife dancer Mayte Garcia paid tribute through a mesmerizing belly dance routine.

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Prince’s former best friend and bassist Andre’ Cymone did an amazing job of channeling the “spirit” of Prince and truly did his mentor’s songs justice. Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls had the crowd rocking with her rendition of Vanity 6’s international hit “Nasty Girl” which was fitting, not only due to her resemblance to the lead singer Vanity but because she also passed away 2 months prior to Prince transition. Vanity and Prince had a very public and tumultuous relationship which ended with Vanity, born Denise Matthews, walking away from the group, the filming of Purple Rain and out of Prince’s love life forever.

Legends Stevie Wonder and Chaka Khan blew everyone away with their historical duets of 1999 and I Feel For You. Individually they performed some of their biggest hits. Stevie stopped singing several times, overwhelmed with emotion and tears streaming down his face. It was beautiful and heartbreaking to see this musical legend display grief while trying to get through his songs and entertain the crowd of over 17,000 people.

Chaka Khan and Stevie Wonder perform at the Prince Tribute Concert at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016. (Pioneer Press: John Autey)

Prince always selected and used the best musicians from around the world, and would always remind the crowd to appreciate “real musicians playing real music” and “no lip-syncing allowed”. There’s no doubt that Prince was smiling down on the venue as his friends rocked the house well into the midnight hour. Below is the full set list with performer’s names included.

  • America – Mint Condition
  • M.S.R.– Mint Condition
  • When Doves Cry– Mint Condition
  • The Bird– Morris Day and the Time
  • Jungle Love– Morris Day and the Time
  • Spoken tribute by Bobby Z
  • Uptown – André Cymone
  • Erotic City– Shelby J.
  • Hot Thing– Liv Warfield
  • Kiss – Marva King
  • Anotherloverholeinyohead – Kip Blackshire
  • For You– Tyka Nelson
  • Nasty Girl– Nicole Scherzinger
  • Baby, I’m a Star– Nicole Scherzinger
  • Do Me, Baby– Luke James
  • The Most Beautiful Girl in the World– Luke James
  • The Cross– Judith Hill
  • How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore– Judith Hill
  • The Ladder– André Cymone
  • Cream– Elisa Fiorillo Dease
  • Ballad of Dorothy Parker– André Cymone
  • Pop Life– Doug E. Fresh with André Cymone
  • Housequake – Doug E. Fresh
  • Walk in Sand– Ana Maura
  • Little Red Corvette– Ana Maura
  • Betcha– Chaka Khan
  • Sweet Thing– Chaka Khan
  • I Feel For You– Chaka Khan with Stevie Wonder
  • 1999 – Chaka Khan with Stevie Wonder
  • Pretzelbodylogic – 3rdeyegirl with Shelby J
  • Plectrumelectrum – 3rdeyegirl
  • Wow – 3rdeyegirl with Liv Warfield
  • The Beautiful Ones– Bilal
  • If I Was Your Girlfriend– Bilal
  • Musicology – Shelby J
  • Dance performance by Mayte Garcia
  • Computer Blue– André Cymone
  • I Would Die 4 U– Marva King
  • Sexy M.F.– Tony Mosley
  • Gett Off– Doug E. Fresh
  • Sometimes It Snows in April– Elisa Fiorillo Dease
  • Girls & Boys– Marva King
  • She’s Always in My Hair– Kip Blackshire
  • Controversy – André Cymone
  • La Di Da Di– Doug E. Fresh
  • Let’s Go Crazy– Tori Kelly
  • Diamonds and Pearls– Tori Kelly
  • Take Me With You– Tori Kelly with Stevie Wonder
  • Raspberry Beret – Tori Kelly with Stevie Wonder
  • I Wanna Be Your Lover– Jessie J.
  • Nothing Compares 2 U – Jessie J. with Kip Blackshire
  • Someday We’ll All Be Free– Stevie Wonder
  • Superstition – Stevie Wonder
  • Instrumental jam
  • Purple Rain– Stevie Wonder

During intermission, I was being escorted through a backstage area and had the pleasure of running into and speaking with Prince’s sister Tyka Nelson; the spokesperson for the Nelson family. She was all smiles as she and her entourage walked into the VIP elevator to be whisked up the luxury suites.

“I want them to get some closure,” Nelson told the Associated Press of Prince’s fans. “It takes time to kind of get over it, and I see that they are grief-stricken.”

As Stevie Wonder closed out the show with an amazing rendition of Purple Rain, Prince’s family including sisters Norrine and Brother Alfred came out to wave at the crowd and thank them for coming. There were tears of joy in the arena and many fans from around found the void that was created on April 21st, 2016 (the day the late Artist was found unresponsive in an elevator in his home) was starting to fill. Finally, many are starting to feel closure in the Purple Rain.

(Since we were the ONLY local station from Detroit, we have exclusive footage on our social media pages including Instagram and Twitter!

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