Of all the eerily beautiful moments while spending time in Paisley Park on the anniversary eve of Prince’s death, the most bittersweet was provided by the man himself.
On a massive screen inside the massive soundstage Prince frequently used for performances, a clip played from a 2014 concert with 3rdeyegirl.
As he steered "Purple Rain" through its moody intervals, Prince paused to tell the crowd, "If you come to my house, you have to take care of it…at Paisley Park we sing together, we dine together, we love together."
It was a fitting comment at that moment, with close to 1,000 fans from across the world assembled in the Paisley Park audience, all staring in the dark at video footage of the performer who died on April 21, 2016 just a few hundred feet from that screen, and exactly a week after thrilling crowds at the Fox Theatre at what became his final concerts.
While the mourning process continues for many – Matt Fink of The Revolution said earlier in the week that he still grieves for his former boss – this weekend at Paisley Park is supposed to be about rejoicing in Prince’s musical contributions and preserving his legacy.
The four-day Celebration 2017 kicked off Thursday with waves of fans who spent between $500 and $1,000 to bask in the Prince-ly aura, wander through parts of the Paisley compound (the Atrium houses Prince’s ashes – out of reach – in a "symbol"-shaped urn, guitar displays and, on the second floor, his white doves in a white cage), attend panels with members of The New Power Generation and soak in a surprise performance from George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic.