But all was forgotten when the band kicked in. On this tour Prince was performing with an all-star band that included R&B queen Chaka Khan, hip-hop pioneer Doug E. Fresh and the bass legend Larry Graham of Sly & The Family Stone and Graham Central Station. I remember the concert opening with a huge medley of hits from one of my biggest musical heroes Sly Stone.
RELATED: See more memorials from Indy musicians here.
One of the elements of Prince's work I admired most was his ability to synthesize influences like Sly Stone into a wholly original musical persona. You could see bits of Sly Stone, Hendrix and James Brown in Prince's work — but it never felt like he was copping their style. Another aspect of Prince's work I always admired was his integration of women musicians into his projects. I totally respected Prince's complete openness to music, and his refusal to limit himself to form or genre. When Prince started doing gigs a few years ago with one of my favorite contemporary Latin bands Grupo Fantasma, I wasn't even surprised. More than any other recent pop artist I can think of Prince obliterated musical boundaries.
And oddly one last thing I really loved about Prince was the moment in 1993 when he changed his name to unpronounceable symbol. It was such a harmless move, but I remember it angering so many critics and music fans at that time. It struck me as a really classic punk rock move from Prince.
Prince's music has been in my life forever, it's such a shock to hear this news today. I always felt Prince was the single most talented musician on Earth. He was a first rate composer, performer, singer and instrumentalist. It's uncanny how much talent and genius he possessed.
I'll never forget seeing Prince with my little sister at the Indiana Convention Center in June of 1998. If I'm not mistaken this was Prince's first concert in Indiana since he played Market Square Arena during his Purple Rain tour of 1985. So all of us Prince fans in Indy were really psyched for the show. I spent a heavy percentage of my weekly check as a supermarket shelf-stocker to get the $40 ticket and I arrived at the venue extra early in great anticipation for the concert. What I'll always remember most about this show was how unbelievably long it took Prince to get onstage! I believe it was well after 10 p.m. when the band came out. There was no opener, so I'd endured four hours of mind-numbing boredom at this point!