Just 30 minutes before we went on stage in Vienna last night I heard that Prince had died, I couldn’t believe it. It was a very tough show for me to play. The word “genius” is used a bit too often and loosely within the music world, but I think Prince was the real thing, perhaps the most naturally gifted performer of all time. I saw him play live several times, and his show at the O2 Arena in London in 2007 I would rate as the greatest concert I ever saw (Craig is agreeing with me now, he was there too).
The run of albums from Dirty Mind in 1980 through to Sign ‘O’ the Times in 1987 matches anyone in its sustained brilliance, and it was such a big part of my soundtrack as a teenager (some of you will know that The Ballad of Dorothy Parker from the latter album was on the mixtape made by my character in Hand.Cannot.Erase., which is pretty much what my mixtape would have been at that time in my life).
Last night I made a humble attempt to sing his song Sign ‘O’ the Times, in fact just before we played Bowie’s Space Oddity. It’s been a while since I recorded my version so I couldn’t remember it very well, but I wanted to at least try it, it would have seemed strange to pay tribute to one unique musical genius and not the other. Farewell strange purple one, and thanks for it all.