On July 30, 2021, the Prince Estate gave us the first full previously unreleased posthumously studio album titled Welcome 2 America. On the heels of the this release, the Texas Theater chose to pay tribute on the big screen. So, on a warm summer evening, I dropped by to catch the evening showing of Purple Rain.
Purple Rain is an rock musical drama film based on a screenplay written and directed by Albert Magnoli. The film stars Prince as “The Kid”; a talented troubled artist struggling with his tormented home life and fledgling music career. The moive also stars Morris Day, Apollonia Kotera, Clarence Williams III, and Olga Karlatos.
The film has grossed over $72 million on a $7.2 million dollar budget and won an Oscar for Best Original Score.
The soundtrack of the same name is certified 13x Platinum and has sold over 25 million copies worldwide and includes the US chart-topping singles “Let’s Go Crazy”, “When Doves Cry”, and the now iconic “Purple Rain”.
It would stand to reason that “no one” hasn’t heard of Prince. So you would think. In what is truly a “Sign of the Times” (yes, is it a Prince song), I met people that were now born after the movie was released and were seeing it for the first time. A guy sitting at the bar asked me who Prince was and was unaware of the movie and his music.
I was determined to initiate this neophyte into the universe where Prince exist and he would know that that place is a better one. We watched the movie along with this eclectic crowd that has both young and old, all singing loudly and cheering at the screen.
It was a sharp contrast to the solemn silence I viewed the film for the first so many years ago. Both then and now, we all reveled in the artistry and majesty of the films’ coronation of the icon. We all sang together as “Purple Rain” morphed into “I Would Die 4 U” and “Baby I’m A Star” The audience erupted in the final scene as Prince turns the the camera. Thus should have ended the lesson for the uninitiated; but, there was more to come.
The movie turned into a party the lobby as the DJ began to spin Prince songs and videos. From the balcony, you saw sea of Prince apparel bathed in the purple light.
The Texas Theater did the magic on this night. It brought together a crowd on the anniversary of the movie that crowned (the) Prince as a king. I guess as time passes, all artists meld into the fabric of history. However, for one night, Texas became purple and the light shined brightly again.