Prince‘s spirit reigned supreme over the final weekend of Coachella. On Sunday, in response to the untimely passing of the pop genius on Thursday at the age of 57, large screens displayed his 2008 Coachella gig, including his astounding take on Radiohead’s “Creep,” ending with the quote “From now on, this is Prince’s House.” And throughout the weekend, countless acts acknowledged his influence, sometimes with a few simple words, sometimes by reworking his music in their individual styles. Here are eight of the most notable tributes.
The stage was wholly lit in Princely purple as James Murphy’s crew funked its way through “Controversy,” a song that had a tremendous influence on the evolution of house music and, by extension, the electronic dance music that has defined the sound of Coachella. LCD Soundsystem honored another late pop star during their set, covering David Bowie’s “Heroes,” just as they had during their previous week’s performance.
“Yesterday, I lost a dear friend, my son,” the 76-year-old soul legend announced from the stage on Friday afternoon. “I’m talking about Prince. He was my angel.” Staples was signed to Prince’s Paisley Park Records for seven years, working with him on her albums The Voice and Time Waits for No One and also appeared on his 1990 album, Graffiti Bridge. After the remarks, Staples requested a moment of silence, then sang a chorus of “Purple Rain” a cappella.
Usher and Major Lazer
Perhaps the most expansive Prince tribute of the weekend occurred on Sunday, when Usher unexpectedly joined Major Lazer for a medley of “1999” and “I Would Die 4 U.” In front of a purple backdrop of simulated rain, Usher’s deft footwork highlighted the debt today’s pop stars owe to Prince the master dancer.
“We had a major loss in the world and in the universe this week,” the jazz saxophonist stated before leading his 13-piece ensemble through the Malcolm X tribute “Malcolm’s Theme,” which integrated the keyboards from “1999,” connecting multiple strains of the African-American tradition in a single stunning performance. “We love you, Prince,” Washington said to close his set.
Sufjan Stevens and Gallant
Wherever Prince fans gathered this weekend to celebrate his memory, they sang “Purple Rain” together. On Saturday, indie-pop mainstay Stevens offered his heartfelt take on the epic power ballad, with R&B singer Gallant providing intense falsetto vocals.
Gallant and Jhene Aiko
Gallant once more paid homage to Prince during his own set with “Diamonds and Pearls,” a song that his onstage partner Jhene Aiko suggested for personal reasons. “My two older sisters were in the music video … when they were babies,” according to Aiko, who also reminisced with Billboard about when she got to dance with Prince onstage at a 2011 show in L.A. at the Forum. “That’s when I realized he was my size!”
Jack Ü, Diplo and Skrillex closed their set with the spoken introduction to “Let’s Go Crazy” and also spun a remix of “I Wanna Be Your Lover” as black-and-white photos of Prince flashed on the screens beside them. “Skrillex asked the crowd to celebrate the man who ‘wasn’t afraid’ to express himself through music and change the world,” according to The Sun.
Even the Coachella performers who didn’t have a chance to work up a full-scale musical tribute to Prince went out of their way to acknowledge his legacy. Ellie Goulding began a performance of her hit “Lights” with a few bars of Prince’s haunting classic “When Doves Cry.”