I’m crushed. And I know I’m far from alone.
Prince seemed so ageless. He appeared eternally youthful, vibrant, in killer shape, in complete command of his immense talent, displaying no signs of losing his grasp on that gift.
Available reports suggested he eschewed drug use, was a devout Jehovah’s Witness and demanded from himself the same discipline and devotion to craft he commanded from every musician he worked with.
Prince lived for music. And he made an awful lot of it. He is that rarest of rare prolific musicians whose entire catalogue was at least good, and the majority of it simply superlative.
The word gets tossed around far too carelessly these days, but in the case of Prince, it’s justified – the man was a genius. He has few peers in the history of popular music. He belongs in the company of such fellow masters as Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Miles Davis, Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson, Jimi Hendrix Marvin Gaye and Todd Rundgren.
Part of what set Prince apart from the majority of pop stars was his serious musicianship. He was a guitarist of consummate skill and soulfulness, could easily release albums featuring himself playing all the instruments, and moved from a searing falsetto to a guttural scream with grace and seeming ease. His gifts were prodigious and vast.
Who among those lucky enough to have seen Prince offer a several-hour thrill-ride of a show at Shea’s in 2002, and then follow it up with three more hours of late-night jams at the Tralf, will ever forget it? Who hasn’t relived his ill-attended but wholly epic last-minute appearance at Marine Midland Arena in 1997 a hundred times in their mind’s eye? Who amongst those blessed to be in attendance when Prince played Buffalo Memorial Auditorium during 1984’s “Purple Rain” tour can help but consider that show a high-water mark in Buffalo concert history?
Prince was poet, visionary, a man who had no trouble bridging the perceived gap between mind and body through his art, and one of the funkiest men to ever call this earth his home. He leaves behind him a void that won’t be filled.