This has been a curious day. Debi and I are in Minneapolis for a wedding, and while we were driving through the rain to go see the bride and groom’s new house, we heard Purple Rain on the radio. I joked that I was disappointed that the rain wasn’t actually purple in this town, and I then suggested that we should do a Prince tour later in the day and try to find the locations from the movie. We later heard on the radio that there had been a fatality at the Prince estate, and we assumed that a party must have gone wrong. A while later, the bride looked at her phone and learned that it was Prince who had died.
The bride and groom then went off to do wedding stuff, and since we were in town and had nothing else to do, we decided to go to Paisley Park and pay our respects and see if anything was developing. As we drove, the radio DJs were in shock and didn’t know what to say, so they started playing his albums in chronological order, without commercials, and taking breaks between songs to tell personal stories of their encounters with Prince and all the generous things he had done for this community. The rain was really coming down at this point, and as we approached Paisley Park, the rain stopped.
We arrived just as the news vans were setting up and the police were closing off the streets. There were a handful of mourners, and a whole lot of media. We watched as friends and employees entered the gates and reporters tried to figure out what was going on. I heard one reporter ask a State Patrol officer “Can you tell me if the body is still inside?” We were disgusted.
All the news cameras started lining up in a row along the yellow line in the road, and a sole Paisley Park volunteer, dressed all in purple, told people they could only approach the property if they were bringing flowers. There was a single hand-written sign, and a dozen bouquets of purple flowers stuck on the fence. It wasn’t long before a helicopter started hovering overhead and more and more police started arriving on the scene. We decided it was time to leave.
As we walked to the car, thickening crowds of mourners were approaching from all directions, the traffic was backing up, and there were now police directing traffic. As we turned around for one last glance at the scene, reporters were beginning to interview the crowd and police were setting up barricades. The sun was now shining.
We listened to that radio station play Prince’s music for the rest of the day. I think the song Purple Rain will be stuck in my head for a while.