By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — You can’t talk about the legacy of music in Minnesota without talking about Prince.

The Purple One not only symbolized the local music scene, he immersed himself in it.

At First Avenue on Thursday, many people gathered at the venue that the film “Purple Rain” made iconic. They expressed how dear the Minneapolis-native was to them.

Meanwhile, in another part of downtown Minneapolis, Prince’s table the Dakota Jazz Club was empty. He had sat there just two nights before he died to hear singer Lizz Wright.

Whenever he went to the club, he’d enter through a special door.

“We just kind of had a way that avoided him being seen,” said Lowell Pickett, the Dakota’s owner. “He would walk in the side door and walk up the stairs to a table that was kind of by itself, and we’d close a curtain next to it so it was kind of like a box seat.”

Just about every month, Prince would show up at the club.

“He was a musician, he loved great music, he made great music, he appreciated great music,” Pickett said. “And he would come here to see a fairly broad range of artists.”

During one week in 2013, he performed on the small stage. The shows sold out a half hour after they were announced.

“Our website crashed, people flew from Europe for it,” Pickett said. “It was pretty historic to see Prince in a room that seats 250 people, it just doesn’t happen.”

One of Prince’s final outings in Minneapolis included a stop at the Electric Fetus record shop.

Aaron Meyerring, the co-owner of the store, said Prince appeared to be in good health.

“I just mentioned to him, ‘I’m glad to see you’re feeling better,'” Meyerring said.

On Thursday, Prince’s albums and merchandise were flying off the shelves.

“I’ve talked with my children — they’re all Prince lovers as well — and we want to have a little ceremony at our house,” Meyerring said. “I know that his funeral — if he has one — it’s going to be just jam-packed wherever it’s going to be. If I can get the time off from work, I will attend that.”

The Minneapolis native was truly Minnesota music royalty.

“I’m convinced that there isn’t a more talented person in American popular music,” Pickett said.

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