Last night, Prince was honored with a star-studded memorial concert just outside of Los Angeles City Hall, the same setting where he filmed the music video for his 1991 hit song “Diamonds and Pearls.” Thousands of fans gathered, clad in purple, to see the likes of Aloe Blacc, Faith Evans, and Eric Bonet sing some of the departed stars biggest hits and listen to some of his closest collaborators talk about his musical genius. Near the end of the show, everyone received a huge surprise when Stevie Wonder made an unannounced appearance to lead them all in a tribute to Prince’s standout hit “Purple Rain.”
Wonder has gone on the record a number of times since Prince’s passing to express his admiration for the artist. Earlier this week, Rolling Stone published a touching, personal letter that Wonder penned in honor of his departed friend. “If Michael [Jackson] was the King of Pop, Prince should be the Emperor,” Wonder wrote. “Prince fought for his artistic freedom. He didn’t allow anyone or anything to get in his way. By following his own path, Prince took music to a whole other place, like the Beatles did. He wanted to change the way things were, like Marvin Gaye did. When you do that, you have to be very sure of yourself.”
At the concert in L.A., Wonder was equally effusive, saying, “Losing prince was like losing a member of [our] musical family.” He added that he “still can’t imagine Prince gone.”
Watch Wonder’s emotional performance in the video above.