“Tell me who in this house know about the ‘quake?”
I wonder why she didn’t say “shit”? Mint Condition said “whore”.
I’m so shallow.
I haven’t seen the rest of the BET tributes. I have chosen not to. The Sheila E tribute, however, was something special. It was as cathartic as hell – for both audience and performers. It’s authenticity was moving.
The choice of songs was clever. A wonderful journey through Prince’s work and, and for some reason I found this satisfying, only one top ten hit. There was nothing obvious and – and yes, you know what’s coming – they were obvious songs. They spoke to the relationship Sheila E had with Prince. Housequake – such a song of joy in the Sign O The Times and Lovesexy tours. Naturally Erotic City, A Love Bizarre and The Glamorous Life, these are intimate moments this girl and this boy shared. And what a glorious sight to see Jamie Foxx singing along – should an audience be able to sing along to a B-side? That made me smile. Hearing Sheila sing A Love Bizarre was beautiful. Immediately an overcoated, sunglassed and pink adorned Prince leapt to mind. Such playfulness and fun. Such ease in creativity. A man and his band so happy in their work. Reading Sheila E’s comments it’s cool that she argued for America and Baby I’m A Star, and won. Prince would have been proud. He was always about fighting and winning. Let’s Work took me by surprise; such a riff…many have turned to it. Perfect.
Sheila wasn’t quite channelling Prince but there was essence of Paisley all over the stage. One of the more enjoyable aspects of the spectacle was the sense of chaos about it. The band, the backing singers, the dancers, Jerome and Sheila… There seemed to be four concerts going on at once. It was a collision of history. And yet there were gaps. The Revolution were absent…The NPG were absent, Mr Hayes excepting of course…3rdEyeGirl were absent. No Fink, no Z, no Eric, no Levi, no Ida, no John. Of all the old timers though, for want of a better epithet, seeing Jerome Benton appear brought an immediate lump to the throat. Man, he’s still so cool! He is still so Jerome Benton. His moves, his demeanour, his charisma. Prince was a genius giving this man a job. Entourage owes Prince a debt of gratitude. As do many. To get back to Ms E, the run and slide in Baby I’m A Star was inspired. If A Love Bizarre sent you into flashback mode, this simple act sent wave upon wave of purple memories washing all over you.
And then I cried. Sobbed. Shook. I’d never seen Sheila E pick up a guitar before. To see her play guitar during America took me by surprise. It shouldn’t have of course, Prince surrounded himself with talent. As Baby I’m A Star drew to a close I saw her pick up another guitar. The clip was coming to a close, surely there wasn’t time for another song? No. There was time for a tribute.
This wasn’t closure. This didn’t bring to an end the emotions I have been feeling since April 21st. All this did was leave me with a sense of contentment; a sense that others cared just as much as I did. To see Sheila E and Mayte walk the Blue Angel to the front of the stage and hold it aloft destroyed me. That shouldn’t have been the guitar. It should have been the telecaster or the white cloud or Habibi but it wasn’t the guitar they chose. They chose the Blue Angel. And they made the right choice.
It has produced the last iconic moment of Prince’s career.
Sheila looked spent. She looked drawn and weighed down even in this moment of release. To know now that Girl Meets Boy was in her heart imparts in us some of the feelings she must have been going through. The pictures of her latest shows seem to show some of the weight has gone. Mayte looked affirmed. The memories she shared with Prince will have weighed as heavily as anyone’s. For them to come together in this moment was inspiring.
And what of Prince? To appear in your own obituary? “Ladies and Gentlemen…Sheila E!” That was such a lovely touch. It’s been funny, watching on the .org, seeing the discussion. I don’t know which concert it came from. It doesn’t matter. All I could hear was the Dortmund Lovesexy concert in my ears. Everyone will have a place in time in which it sits. It was an apposite moment in this ferocious celebration.
It hasn’t taken long. It’s July. The articles are there that suggest the vault may be full of duds. The .org has returned to its former pin-pricking self. The world has moved on and the tributes are now condensing to concerts in Minneapolis…bless Adele and her use of The Most Beautiful Girl In The World. Hit’N’Run Phase Two still sits on the shelf. I’ve not listened to a Prince song in weeks. The world moves on. Mostly. A moment of it is still stuck; still snagged on something and won’t move forward. Time is a trick. Yes. Yes it is. I can’t believe it’s been over two months since Prince died. Sometimes it feels like yesterday, sometimes it feels like it hasn’t happened, sometimes it feels like it happened years ago. St Paul is out with Peter Frampton. The Revolution’s fire has quelled. The Weltons are enjoying disturbed sleep. But Prince hasn’t been forgotten, of that I am sure. The tributes keep appearing – hence my “whore” reference above. And I know that this tribute will live long in the memory.
Thank you, Sheila E. Thank you, Mayte. Thank you the band and BET. Thank you for this genuine appreciation of a writer, a musician, a force, a star. There aren’t many who don’t know it now.
Spoke a little soon – The Revolution. First Avenue. September. A further sigh of contentment.