This April, Minnesota and the world suffered a dark day with the loss of Prince Rogers Nelson. His death rippled across the Land of 10,000 Lakes and the world rapidly, hitting us with a massive shock. The news from Chanhassen, Minnesota and Paisley Park struck like a sucker punch to the mouth. I found out while on break at work and didn't believe what I heard until I saw the local news on our channel KARE 11. Just a few days prior, they had reported locally on his plane landing due to a medical emergency and that he had been okay afterward. Just days before his death, Prince had bought records at a local Minneapolis record store, the Electric Fetus. Now he was gone.

imagesPhoto Credited to KARE 11

Instantly, Minnesota's own had left us behind and the tributes started to sprout at Prince's home. All things purple lined the fences around Paisley Park, epic dance parties commenced at First Avenue where Prince got his start and continued to watch up and coming stars quietly from the back, and Minnesotans and music fans from around the world started to pour out their love for the Purple One. They had a watch party of “Purple Rain” at Target Field, the home of the Minnesota Twins. The team made “Little Red Corvette” the 7th Inning Stretch song for the remainder of the season. Prince's family emerged from Paisley Park, handing out memento boxes to the gathered fans, showing their appreciation for everyone's love and support. All over Minnesota---both in the Metro and in Greater---we reminisced about how Prince, one of our own to the end, had touched our state and made it a better place through his unique music.

Those tributes haven't stopped since.

Last year at the Salute to Supernatural convention in Minneapolis, the house band Louden Swain opened the show with a Prince song. It was “Kiss” and it was looped right in with the “Rules and Regulations” of the welcoming portion. It earned the band great cheers. Throughout the remainder of the con, they played snippets of Prince here and there, shouting out to us that they realized that they were indeed in Minnesota and that he was ours.

CprMcGJUIAAh6j3Photo Credited to Fangasm

This year, that nice recognition hit like a gut punch. The convention started with a wonderful rendition of “Raspberry Beret.” It was also the first time that weekend I would cry during a tribute to Prince. They played other standard hits of his like “Let's Go Crazy” and the Karaoke party had a fun and joyful version of “Kiss.” What was so neat about them realizing just where they were and what Prince meant to us as Minnesotans last year had gained so much significance after the tragedy of April.

And then there was the Saturday Night Special. Oh certainly there were other stunning performances (for another article, certainly), but it was the closer “Purple Rain” that truly brought everything home for the Minnesotan crowd. They were here, they recognized how that loss had hit so close to all of us here in our state, and they joined that grief and turned it into something magical and beautiful.

Richard stated before we launched into the song that they had performed it at other places. Before, the standard closer had been “With a Little Help From My Friends,” connected to Rob Benedict's stroke experience and recovery. With a little time now away from that, they felt ready to use another song as closer. So, Richard stated that those other places they had debuted the new closer had been practice for here. That practice paid off in spades.

Cpy6Q QUAAAAAE1Photo Credited to Fangasm

From the first note, with everyone waving their purple glow sticks, to the last crescendo, they truly honored our loss and the joy that Prince brought us in his shortened life. His music lived beautifully. The entire crowd sang the words---and I hope others were like me for the first few parts, crying through them and struggling to sing at all---and as we neared the end it truly felt transcendent.

In so many ways, singing “Purple Rain” with the Supernatural Family during the Saturday Night Special made it feel like Prince wasn't really gone at all. Somehow, in that room, he was there with us in spirit, singing right along.

Prince may be gone and we may still grieve his loss in our state, but it is clear that he truly touched so many with his music and can still bring some good to the world. This moment truly captured that spirit. It allowed all of us to collectively feel that loss as one---but even more to celebrate what we had with him while he was in our state and in this world. It allowed us to celebrate a great talent taken far too soon.

And somehow, the lyrics of “Purple Rain” fit so much of this moment, too:

I never meant to cause you any sorrow
I never meant to cause you any pain
I only wanted one time to see you laughing
I only wanted to see you laughing in the purple rain

Cpy6kbzVIAA0 3cPhoto Credited to Fangasm

I want to thank the Supernatural cast and Louden Swain for giving Minnesota this gift and this moment. It meant so much to so many of us and it gave us that chance as a Supernatural Family to say goodbye to one of Minnesota's very own in such a graceful way. Of everything that happened in that concert, this song is the one that sticks the most in my heart. This is the moment that I will look back on and smile through the tears. Thank you so much for seeing our grief and bringing us such a joyful celebration. It was perfect and it helped mend some of our hearts in the best ways.

May Prince always see us laughing under the purple rain.
 

Header Image Credit: Purple Rain.  , dir. (Warner Bros., 1984)

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