Singer Prince performs in a surprise appearance on the "American Idol" television show finale at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, California in this May 24, 2006 file photo. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Chris Pizzello/Files
*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-PRINCE-OBIT, originally transmitted on April 21, 2016.

Stevie Wonder To Lead Prince Fans Concert

Nearly six months after Prince’s sudden death, his fans will have their chance Thursday to mourn the pop icon at a star-filled tribute concert in his native Minnesota.

Stevie Wonder will lead the sold-out show at a 20,000-capacity arena, which will mark the first — and, family members say, only — official public event to remember The Purple One.

Organizers invited fans to show up several hours ahead of time for a free outdoor party near the venue to celebrate Prince, the prolific if eccentric musical genius who was the biggest celebrity to live in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The concert comes a week after Prince’s estate opened up Paisley Park — the reclusive star’s suburban headquarters that was usually sealed to visitors — ahead of the start of regular tours.

Prince, outwardly a model of health, died accidentally at age 57 from an overdose of powerful painkillers. His family quickly cremated his body and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, his religious group late in life, held a memorial service, but both events were private.

– Eclectic lineup –
Wonder, the soul legend whom Prince had cited as a role model despite their different styles, and pop star Christina Aguilera will headline the concert which begins at 7:30 pm (0030 GMT Friday).

Performers with personal connections to the late artist will include “Queen of Funk” Chaka Khan, whose cover of Prince’s “I Feel For You” revived her career, and Morris Day, who grew up with Prince in Minneapolis and played his rival in the classic 1984 film “Purple Rain.”

Newly announced to the lineup is Prince’s ex-wife Mayte Garcia. A dancer and choreographer, Garcia was also the mother of Prince’s son Ahmir who died a week after his birth in 1996 from a rare disorder.

Ana Moura, one of the leading singers of Portugal’s melancholic fado music, has also confirmed her attendance. She found a new global audience after Prince, a fan of fado who is famous for taking on proteges, championed her music.

Other artists will range from 23-year-old breakaway pop sensation Tori Kelly to veteran funk singer Anita Baker and R&B producer Bilal.

Two of the backup bands from Prince’s long career, the New Power Generation and 3rdEyeGirl, will perform with the guest artists.

However, several acts closely associated with Prince are not performing, including drummer and singer Sheila E, who is scheduled to play Thursday night in suburban New York with Brazilian great Sergio Mendes.


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