The world lost one of its most influential performers this week. Prince Rogers Nelson, 57, was reported dead in his Paisley Park home in Minnesota on Thursday, April 21, 2016. The cultural icon played two evening shows at Atlanta's Fox Theatre just a week before. The audience couldn't have known they were witnesses to the the final performances of a legend.
Chantal Stepney of Atlanta waited in line at the Fox for four hours the day tickets went on sale. Even in this age of digital box offices, the Atlanta native was not about to miss her chance to finally see music royalty in concert. Press play to hear her story and how she'll remember Prince.
"On Second Thought" host Celeste Headlee was also in attendance at the Atlanta show on April 14. A lifelong Prince fan, it was her first time seeing the singer in concert. She shares this remembrance:
"Prince's death is an incalculable loss. Very few pop stars in history have been capable of doing a concert like he did last week in Atlanta. For almost two hours, he captured the audience and held us in the palm of his hand with nothing more than a purple baby grand piano and the power of his voice. There was just a touch of gravel in his sound, a remnant of the flu that caused him to reschedule that show from the week before. But otherwise, he gave an incredible performance that night. He left it all on the stage, as he always did. Prince never gave less than everything he had. He wrote his first song at the age of seven and sold more than 100 million records.
But it wasn’t just his prodigious genius that set Prince apart. It was also his mastery. Rumor has it that he has enough unreleased material stored in his vault to release a new album every year until the middle of the 22nd century. No one ever watched Prince and thought, 'I could do that.' Prince didn’t give a lot of interviews, but he didn’t need to. He poured everything into his music. There’s not much else I can say without getting choked up. Because this loss feels so personal. His music was personal to me, and to millions of others. And the loss now … is impossible to calculate. Farewell to a giant. It’s true that sometimes it snows in April."
We asked our listeners to share their stories, feeling and thoughts about the passing of Prince. Here are some of their comments.
Monica Kimber: "Yes, I was there [at the final show in Atlanta]. I am so glad that I was. When I think about the fact that just one week ago, I was sitting in the Fox Theatre watching my favorite artist bring the house down, and now, I'm mourning his death, it's just surreal to me! But, I had the strangest feeling that if I didn't go see him then, that I might not ever get the chance to see him perform again. The show was amazing. He gave us 110%. You never would have known that he was sick at all. He held back nothing. He even performed Purple Rain! One of the best shows I've ever seen of his; without all of the band members, bells and whistles. Just Prince ... a piano ... and a microphone. And, it was BEAUTIFUL! Rest in peace, my dear Prince."
Sabrina Jones: "Unfortunately I didn't see him last week [at his final shows at the Fox Theatre], however I attended the "Fire It Up" tour feat. Rick James and Prince in '83. Caught Greyhound to Jacksonville, Fl. and was only 17. Then in '85, some friends and I drove to Miami to attend the "Purple Rain" tour and it was worth missing work and attending school the next day ... unforgettable memories."
Josephine Larkin Bennett of GPB Macon: "So here is a cool little fact. On April 26,1980 Prince performed at the Macon Coliseum as the opening act for Rick James’ “Fire it Up” tour. (He also played the Omni in Atlanta, Georgia on March 6 and Savannah Civic Center on April 10, 1980). My husband attended the show and said Cameo appeared as well. I looked online and while I could not locate a photo that is specifically Macon I did find several of the tour. If my husband’s parents only knew."
Michelle Faust: "I've never understood the grief over a celebrity that I didn't know. When MJ died, my uncle said, 'I feel like a family member has gone.' I didn't get it ... Until now. Prince is probably the only musician that I feel this way about. He was one of the few people on the planet brave enough to completely be himself without apologies. He was an amazing genius and I've loved his talents my entire life. Rock on with your Prince commemoration. I'm with you."
— Jennifer Perren (@PerrenJennifer) April 22, 2016
Listen to a raw cut of Prince's last performance, recorded at the Fox Theatre.