Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan top Prince tribute show lineup

Published 9:44 am Friday, September 16, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS — Stevie Wonder and members of Prince’s inner circle will highlight a family-sanctioned Prince tribute concert in St. Paul on Oct. 13, organizers announced Thursday.

Prince’s family originally planned to hold the show at the new NFL stadium in his hometown of Minneapolis. However, organizers said that it will be at the smaller Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. CDT Monday via Ticketmaster and the arena’s box office; some will cost $19.99 in tribute to one of Prince’s hits.

The lineup also includes Christina Aguilera, Chaka Khan, John Mayer, Tori Kelly, Anita Baker, Doug E. Fresh, Luke James, Bilal and Mint Condition. Prince’s inner circle will be represented by Morris Day & The Time, Judith Hill and Liv Warfield. The New Power Generation led by Morris Hayes, along with members of 3RDEYEGIRL, also will perform.

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“It’s an all-star mix of classic and new artists, Prince-inspired as well as Prince family-type artists,” said organizer L. Londell McMillan, a longtime attorney for the late superstar who is helping to manage his estate’s entertainment assets.

Prince’s family first announced the show in late July, after his death of an accidental painkiller overdose in April. But details were slow to come out. McMillan said it took a lot of work and time to put the details together because so many artists were involved. He also held out the possibility of additional tribute shows at some point.

The wait frustrated Prince fans across the country who had made travel reservations without any guarantees of tickets, including Angela Reardon, of Birmingham, Alabama, who booked her flights, hotel and rental car two days after the first mention.

But she was philosophical about the long silence on the lineup. Having been a fan for 38 years, she knows Prince himself had a habit of waiting until the last minute before announcing his concerts.

“Just to be there with the Purple fans — that’s important,” said Reardon, who’s also booked a VIP tour of Paisley Park, the studio complex in suburban Minneapolis where Prince lived.

The change from U.S. Bank Stadium to the arena that’s home to the NHL’s Minnesota Wild was a “business and creative decision,” McMillan told The Associated Press. He said he thought they could have sold enough seats at the stadium, but the decision wasn’t just about selling tickets. Another factor was that they wanted to stick with the date announced by the family because so many fans had already made travel plans.

“For this kind of show, you want it to be intimate. You want it to be right,” he said.

The Xcel Energy Center can seat up to 20,000 guests depending on how it’s configured, compared with 50,000-55,000 for concerts at the stadium. However, its acoustics are considered to be very good for a hockey arena. The sound was muddy for the football stadium’s inaugural concerts last month, by Luke Bryan and Metallica.