United in fandom, I joined fellow Prince fans at two humid, sultry "Prince Parties" - one was a lush free concert at Hemming Park in downtown Jacksonville, another a beach community gathering. Steamy summer days in North Florida often mean rain, but if the droplets fell we all hoped they'd be Purple. The only rain we heard was the lyrics in the music, and both nights were magical.
At both shows I watched evening turn to night, blissfully listening to amazing Prince covers. The Hemming Park show had different bands perfectly suited to the variety of styles Prince bought to music.
The only solo female singer, a perfect fit for the quivering, pained falsetto in Prince's "The Beautiful Ones."
They hit each note without a hitch; Rock, Funk, R&B, Experimental Psychedelia, Soul Searching Ballads enveloped us, hit our hearts, and made us cheer.
The denouement of each show, of course, was The Song, Purple Rain.
They truly went Crazy for the finale, hit song after another, perfectly blended and culminating in the always crowd-pleasing Purple Rain.
Each time it bought down the house. At Hemming Park they extended the ending, the crowd joined in, some taking the stage to coo the haunting final vocals into the microphone.
It was wonderful to be surrounded by fans, listening to the early birds chat about the little-known facts and trivia. The MC told personal Prince stories between each performance, performers talked about Prince being the muse that inspired their entire careers.
For one night even the trees, like many of the fans in attendance, were purple.
I was disappointed that my mom, the super fan that along with my dad had be hooked on Prince with lifelong listening, couldn't attend the amazing free concert downtown. I dragged her nearly kicking and screaming over an hour away out to The Surf for the second Prince Party.
I didn't realize this fund-raising party would come with several raffles, your normal ticket qualifies and the prizes were amazing. I eyed the "Free beach motel and dinner" stay. Hard. I needed that, somehow I felt like it was already mine.
*The Post title a reference to the way Prince wrote Eye, 2, and 4 for those not in the know...
I didn't win the most expensive raffle price, an INCREDIBLE white and purple beach cruiser donated to the cause, but I did win that beach motel and dinner stay at The Surf!
And then my camera ran out of batteries, cutting these amazing vocals short. I wish there were records of every song, everyone did an amazing job.
It was a lucky win because we almost didn't put the other half of our tickets in the raffle bucket. I'm packing up now and getting ready to go out and explore Fernandina Beach and claim our room and grub!
Many of the fans missed an opportunity to see Prince perform live, or maybe find some way to send a note and let him know how much his work touched us. However, I'm grateful I got to see these live shows and join music lovers in both morning and celebration. I keep reading tributes with a common theme, Prince as a person and in his music reminded us that life was short. His lyrics told us to Go Crazy, enjoy it, live it to the fullest. I've been taking that lesson to heart every day since his passing.
Let's Go Crazy (Listen)
We are gathered here today
To get through this thing called "life"
Electric word, life
It means forever and that's a mighty long time
But I'm here to tell you
There's something else
A world of never ending happiness
You can alway see the sun, day, or night
So when you call up that shrink in Beverly Hills
You know the one, Dr. Everything'll-Be-Alright
Instead of asking him how much of your time is left
Ask him how much of your mind, baby
'Cause in this life
Things are much harder than in the afterworld
In this life
You're on your own
And if the elevator tries to bring you down
Go Crazy (Punch a higher floor!)