Eight-year-old Cristiano first heard Prince just after the music icon died. His dad, Chris Provenzano, started playing all Prince’s old records around the house.
Now, Cristiano has a Purple Rain t-shirt. For the boy’s birthday, the Chicago father and son drove up to see the Prince-themed Twins game against the White Sox last week and got a VIP tour of Paisley Park. At the Electric Fetus Purple Rain listening party Friday morning, they won a Prince record and mingled with a couple dozen other fans who came from Minnesota and across the country.
“There’s a special quality to Prince,” Chris Provenzano said. “He has a special element that connects all different ages.”
The anticipation for the reissue felt similar to waiting for new Prince tracks in the ’80s, he said. “Something like this builds a lot of positive energy for his music. It’s important that you quickly get material out there to people that first 12 months [after his death].”
The reissue comes in deluxe and expanded packages. Both versions include the remastered Purple Rain and a disc of tracks unearthed from Prince’s vault. The expanded package comes with a set of single edits and B-sides, as well as a DVD of a 1985 concert in Syracuse.
For Bob Poppo, the new DVD meant he could finally stop digging out his VHS tape of the concert. The Indiana Prince fan said he has been visiting the Twin Cities for various Prince events since 1989.
“Even though he’s not here anymore, he still draws people,” said Poppo. “He always stayed here, he was so dedicated to this area — it brings you here, too.”
Echoing Poppo’s sentiment, several fans said events like the Electric Fetus party reflected the close-knit community of Prince fans across the world. The Electric Fetus was a special destination, since Prince was a particular fan of the Minneapolis store and even stopped there to celebrate Record Store Day shortly before his death.
“You can’t find this camaraderie and friendship anywhere else,” said Sam Hayden-De Jesus, who travels from Portland to the Twin Cities for Prince events about once a year.
“I’ve realized since Prince has died, we don’t go more than two weeks without seeing someone from out of town,” said Darin Rowles, a lifelong Prince fan from Minnesota. “It’s been a comforting thing after Prince’s death that the community hasn’t gone away, and it’s become stronger than ever.”
Fans remarked at how clear the vocals sound on remastered Purple Rain tracks, and shared enthusiasm for previously unreleased studio cuts — especially for “We Can F—” and “Roadhouse Garden.”
“[Roadhouse Garden] was one of the tracks that started to move me from grief to comfort,” Rowles said.
Some listeners said they hope the reissue is one of many, sparking the interest of new fans each time.
“More people can discover the music we grew up with,” Hayden-De Jesus said.