Remembering Prince

You see those two flowers?

Prince gave those silk carnations to me back in the spring of 1985. And I still have them. He looked down from the stage during the last tinkling notes of Purple Rain, his third encore. His guitar was at his side by then, like a scabbard. He held a purple velvet bag of flowers, and he scanned his worshippers. I’m sure my friend Lucy caught his eye, she of the plunging neckline and imploring smile. A va-va-voom gal if ever there was one. He flashed that Prince smirk. Then he tossed those flowers right to us. We each caught a few. And mine have been on my amp ever since. I will never part with them.

Prince gave me a lot of things over the years. He gave me the moody romance of “Crazy You.” The scandalous sexiness of “I Wanna be Your Lover.” Oh, what a jam to dance to as a teenager back in the day! He dispensed the soaring guitar exercise of “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad.” Then taught me New Wave with “When You Were Mine.” He stunned me dancing to “Little Red Corvette:” and the ride is so smooooth…”Then Purple Rain!” The bass-less-ness of “When Doves Cry.” The Hendrix-like guitar effortlessly awarded to us throughout.

He gave me “God,” and I played it so loud I broke a basement window. He gave me sex when I discovered “Do Me Baby.” And then “Adore.” And others. He gave me “With this Tear,” a song I challenge anyone to listen to without crying. He gave me so much more. As he said, “I could go all night tonight.” I won’t do that. But please check out his catalogue. Please.

I saw Prince live 10 times. He was electric every time. I saw him in his bikini briefs at the Palladium. I saw him do a Zeppelin set at Radio City. I saw him give an acoustic blues tutorial at the Garden, sitting on a swivel stool with that gorgeous purple Taylor of his. I saw his Santana medley. I saw him do Beatles covers.

I wanted to see his new solo piano show so badly. I heard he played jazz and classical. But now he’s gone.

With this tear, I thee want.