Mad, beautiful and cosmic: Minneapolis celebrates Prince

Mad, beautiful and cosmic: Minneapolis celebrates Prince

Minneapolis (AFP) - Thousands of fans packed into downtown Minneapolis early Friday to celebrate Prince's life with an all-night party at the club where the late music legend and native son filmed "Purple Rain."

The iconic singer died suddenly Thursday at the age of 57, stunning the world and sparking a slew of tributes.

A line snaked around the block outside the First Avenue club, as the sound of Prince hits throbbed out of the venue.

Young women were dressed to the nines. Men wore purple T-shirts or purple ties. A few people came with purple flowers. Others hung back just to watch the crowd. Two blocks away, traffic snarled.

Clutching a single yellow rose, Cleo Patricx, a musician himself, said he hoped to make it through the chaotic but buzzing crowd to lay the flower at a memorial for the performer outside the club to bid farewell to "one of the greats."

"People are coming from all over the world so this is a whole weekend of celebration," said Patricx, wearing sunglasses and hugging his girlfriend, who held a bunch of roses.

"It's mad, beautiful, everything. All these people are kind of like the cosmic united souls of the purple, know what I'm saying?

"So it's just like a cosmic experience, you can feel the energy out here, the vibe, a lot of beautiful people, a lot of people tuning into the energy, the music, the sounds, the atmosphere."

Those lucky enough to get into the club danced to Prince's anthems as a slide show of the superstar's life played on a giant screen.

People swigged beer, others sipped wine. Wafts of marijuana laced the evening air, which was surprisingly mild after locals said it poured earlier in the day.

The crowd, both young and old, was diverse, with blacks, whites, Asians and hijab-wearing women all spotted in the mix that was still pulsating in the middle of the night.

Americans from out of town and proud Minnesotans delighted that one of music's icons was a hometown boy.

- 'Iconic' -

"It's almost akin to Michael Jackson. But there's something with more substance and more appeal about Prince," said Rosemary Wentzell, a 56-year-old legal secretary sipping red wine.

"He really was a Minnesotan. He stayed here," she said, finding love and comfort from the diversity of the crowd.

"When we're going through all the strife of terrorism and the political scene right now in the United States -- to have this coming together for one man," she said, her voice trailing off.

Engineer Peter Ivanov, 24, was another to don purple and line up for more than an hour in the hope of getting into the free party.

"Prince is the most iconic Minnesotan idol of our time to be honest -- so this is why everyone's gathering," he said. "We're here to celebrate, not for his passing but who he was."

Ivanov says he saw Prince perform live, and comes regularly to First Avenue to discover up and coming artists.

"This shows how much he meant to the Minnesotan community. It's not just that he's a Minnesotan celebrity, it's that he was a big man."

Patrick Devine, 21, an aspiring singer and bass guitarist with a day job at Honda, is such a huge Prince fan that he used to cover his songs for performances while in high school.

His favorite song? "Let's Go Crazy."

To pay tribute, he dressed in a shiny purple jacket and psychedelic purple trousers, with a neon headband in his hair.

"I just thought, 'what would Prince wear?' and that's what came out," he said, happily posing for photographs.

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