Dear Prince: You had me at ‘Controversy’

Somehow it’s hard to imagine Prince resting in peace. In the afterlife, I see him making divine music, dancing up a storm and–yes–throwing shade all over the place.

Many of us fans may believe we really understood Prince, really “got” him. My own sense is that he probably experienced great happiness, tremendous joy, and deep dark times. He certainly lived; no doubt there were few things he wanted to try that he didn’t try.PRINCE

The first concert I ever went to was Prince: The LoveSexy Tour. My boyfriend and I were among the fans at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit on Halloween in 1988.

RELATED: See list of every concert Prince played in the state of Michigan

Random concert impressions:

  • Sheila E. being a virtuoso on the drums
  • Prince playing the keyboard rising from the stage atop a heart-shaped column
  • There was a bed on the stage
  • There was a basketball hoop on the stage
  • There was a full-scale replica of his Ford Thunderbird on the stage

Memory is not always reliable, but I have a strong recollection of my first Prince moment: Hearing “Controversy,” on Radio Belize. I must have been around 12 years old.

“I just can’t believe
All the things people say, controversy
Am I black or white?
Am I straight or gay? Controversy

Do I believe in God?
Do I believe in me?
Controversy, controversy
Controversy.” 

[Release date: October 14, 1981]

Any guesses which line jumped out at me? I was impressed by the music, and blown away by the reference to being biracial; I could not recall ever hearing such a thing in music.

Learning of Prince’s death felt like a light going out. One moment he was here: bright and eternal. The next, gone. It was good to live in a world in which Prince also lived. Now I console myself with my concert memories, my Prince music collection (good thing I kept his CDs), and the thought that we shared a planet for a time.

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Warning, this blog is personal: Last night I wept at the Tears for Fears concert in Kansas City

You’ve seen this: Concert footage in which fans are crying. I never understood it. Sure, the music is great and the band members are (sometimes) good looking, but weeping at a concert?

Last night I wept at the Tears for Fears concert in Kansas City. On and off, from the first strains of “Everybody Wants To Rule The World,” through the encore “Woman in Chains” and “Shout.”

Tears for Fears played the Uptown Theater in Kansas City, Missouri on June 15, 2015.
Tears for Fears played the Uptown Theater in Kansas City, Missouri on June 15, 2015.

There was something in those familiar, loved songs–rendered even better and new again live–that hit me in the heart. Hearing Roland Orzabal (best voice in pop music) got right in amongst me. Also, the band seemed to see the fans as a mass audience of old friends, with warm smiles and genuine enjoyment of the crowd.

The years–with all the good and bad they have held–rolled over me again and again.

And there’s another, very important thing. For a variety of reasons, I have never settled down in a geographic place. A sense of only partially belonging here or there is something I am now used to, and most of the time I don’t even think about it.

MORE: Holly’s Tears for Fears Spotify playlist (You haven’t lived until you’ve heard Orzabal cover “Creep” by Radiohead)

Last night, I think I was moved, in part, because I remembered that I belong to a generation and I (finally) understood something about what that means. In a hall full of singing, dancing and cheering strangers (average age around 42, I’d guess), I felt connected. Music carries us through time. So, I suppose I will always have a “place.”

Artwork on the shirt I bought at the concert on June 15, 2015.
Artwork on the shirt I bought at the concert on June 15, 2015.

RIP Anne Tkach: I hardly knew you, but now I know you were amazing

Here’s how I knew Anne Tkach: As Adam Hesed’s girlfriend, who came with him to family gatherings throughout the year: Thanksgiving, birthdays, Christmas. She was warm and kind, but we never really had a deep conversation; now I wish we had.

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It’s a little complicated: Adam Hesed is a member of my sister-in-law Emily Edgell’s (nee Shavers) family: a clan that includes blood ties as well as family by choice. Because Emily and my brother Randy have the biggest house and yard, we tend to do the major occasions there.

I knew that Anne and Adam were involved with music–I did not know that Anne was a big deal on the St. Louis music scene, playing in bands and supporting her fellow musicians in all kinds of ways.

On April 9, Anne died in a house fire. She was 48 years old. You can read about what happened here.

My mother told me the news; she had just seen Anne at Easter Sunday festivities, which I missed–driving back to Kansas City, where I live.

Checking Anne’s Facebook profile, I learned just how much she impacted the community in life–and about the shockwaves and despair her death left in its wake.

READ: This tribute in The Riverfront Times

On April 18, I attended Anne’s funeral in Webster Groves; Emmanuel Episcopal Church was packed–standing room only, This is where I learned a great deal more about Anne; that she was deeply loved by a lot of people–because she was generous, humble, and loved to knit. That she also loved to wear overalls I already knew. Also, that she loved Adam Hesed.

The sadness I felt was mostly for the living: Adam, Anne’s father Peter, Emily, the Hesed family. But, I also wished I had known Anne better.

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