Utahns remember Prince show at Maverik Center; performance was venue’s first concert

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SALT LAKE CITY -- There was the hair, the clothes, the dance moves, and the song lyrics. On October 4, 1997, Prince rocked a sold out crowd at the E-Center, now known as the Maverik Center.

It was the first concert at the venue, and to this day it remains one of the most memorable, according to General Manager Kevin Bruder.

"At the time it was The Artist Formerly Known as Prince, and we presented him a hockey jersey with the emblem on the back of the jersey," Bruder said.

To everyone's surprise, during the encore, Prince traded the posh white suit in exchange for the Grizzles jersey.

"And then to have that and to celebrate the venue that he was in, the hockey team, to come out wearing the jersey, it was a special moment," Bruder said.

Radio stations were also flooded with callers remembering the concert and the musician after his death was reported. It was an emotional day for disc jockeys.

"Music is my life, and Prince really knew how to get into someone's soul, he knew how to talk to them," said Brianna Cook of B98.7.

One caller said he broke down crying when heard them play "Purple Rain."

"Every single caller I've had today is just heart-broken, and I can't imagine a world without Prince, he was making hit songs before I was ever even born," Cook said.

Music stores were also consumed with the spirit of Prince. Graywhale sold out all of their Prince records and CDs within hours of his death.

"It's mostly just a nostalgia thing, you know you always remember where you were the first time you heard "Purple Rain" or "1999," said Graywhale manager Kyle England.

England said Prince was known for his mysterious ways and his flamboyance on stage, but when you set aside all the pomp and circumstance, his musical ability outshines everything else.

"Someone asked Eric Clapton once what it was like to be the greatest living guitarist and Eric Clapton said, 'How would I know, you should probably go ask Prince,'" England said.


  • bob

    I do remember where I was the first time I heard Purple Rain. At a friend’s house. I had a crush on his sister, and she was playing her brand new Prince cassette. I was a Led Zeppelin guy, and I made a disparaging comment about Prince.

    Needless to say I never got any of that.

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