Honoring a genius like the late Prince requires a particularly artistic tenacity few artists can reach. The short list includes 4U, the official Prince estate approved symphonic orchestra who delighted Prince aficionados on September 15 at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Art’s Filene Center.
In the grand wood-paneled amphitheater, 4U offered both familiar and unheralded renditions of Prince’s catalog. Hits as notable as “Little Red Corvette” and “When Doves Cry” even made guests in the upper tiers croon, as the 20-member orchestra reminded attendees why loving Prince is an uncontrollable sensation.
Songs not popularly played on radio stations during his glory days still sat well with listeners, as the audience tried their best to catch the melody and hum along; it was as though they were connecting with royalty despite the barriers between life and death.
Despite his absence, the voice of Prince was heard and his essence was felt. It was most obvious as jiving and clapping was seen throughout the grounds as if Prince had resurrected for once last performance to say I love you all.
4U’s full-scale production was curated by Questlove, and included imagery offering a glimpse into the world of Prince. Shown on stage were handwritten notes, classic black and white inspired short films and history-making concert performances all honoring the culprit of their collective joy.
The night created a rare occasion where past and present intersect, allowing the two to coexist, creating new memories for the future. Generations came together effortlessly, amplifying the significance and legend of Prince.
It was appropriately grand and continued past the encore of “Purple Rain,” when no one wanted to leave because the truth would set in shortly after; the idea that we have heard the last of the artist formerly known, but never forgotten as Prince.
For more information about Wolf Trap’s fall schedule, please visit their online calendar.
Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts: 1645 Trap Rd. Vienna, VA; 703-255-1868; www.wolftrap.org