Milwaukee remembers the music legacy of Prince

At home of the World's Largest Music Festival, Prince's passing has left a huge hole.

"He could play a brilliant guitar, then sit down and play a brilliant piano," said Bob Babisch, Summerfest VP of Entertainment.

Prince played many concerts in Milwaukee starting in the late 1980's, most recently at Summerfest in 2001 and 2004.

Babisch said they've tried every year since, to get him to come back.

"He liked to have only a couple weeks notice before he'd do a show, so it was real hard for us to plan," he said.

Prince's sound and style was an unmistakable blend of funk, rock, R&B, soul, pop and dance music.

"He took all these influences, yet he maintained his integrity," said Bruce Cole.

Cole, a Marquette University music expert, described Prince as a chameleon. He said the icon's death will uncover a new respect for his talent and inspire young people to live fearlessly.

"He may look like an outsider, but he's being what he wants to be and you be that too, don't be afraid," Cole said.

Prince performed his final show in Atlanta last week, but his legacy lives on in venues around the world and through his exceptional musical gift.

"He brought a lot of happiness and emotion to people," said Cole.

"You always see it all the time when someone dies, they can never be replaced, oh he can never be replaced," said Babisch. He [Prince] can never be replaced."

Babisch said Prince helped Summerfest get the Rolling Stones in 2015.

He said the tour promoter for the Stones was the same for Prince when he played here. The promoter remembered how great Prince's show was and encouraged the Stones to try a different, more intimate venue.

The Times Cinema in Milwaukee is showing special screenings of "Purple Rain," April 26-28 at 9:30 p.m., to honor Prince's iconic life and career. Tickets are $5.

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