Prince. David Bowie. George Michael. Three trendsetting, beloved music icons who revolutionized the music industry with their meaningful lyrics and catchy sounds. Each man had a distinctive flair and style that drew audiences to him and his music. Each of these three musicians was well-loved by the public, garnering masses of fans.
In 2016, we lost many musicians. Among the losses were Bowie, who we lost Jan. 10, 2016, followed by Prince on Apri 21, 2016, and finally Michael Dec. 25, 2016. Fans all around the world mourned the losses of each. Just recently, Prince and Michael received tributes at the Grammys.
In Tucson, The Loft Cinema, located at 3233 E. Speedway Blvd., decided to host its own tribute to these three men in the form of a sing-a-long on Saturday, Feb. 18.
Twenty-three original music videos for Prince, Bowie and Michael’s songs were shown on the large screen in the venue with lyrics provided in subtitles onscreen for the audience to sing along to. Glow sticks were also provided for the audience to wave during the show.
“This sing-a-long is really born out of our love of David Bowie, Prince and George Michael,” said Jeff Yanc, the program director at The Loft Cinema.
Yanc said The Loft Cinema puts on a “Purple Rain” sing-a-long each year, and also holds a “Labyrinth” New Year’s Eve party each year.
“We’ve never had George Michael onscreen, so it was kind of a great chance to do that,” Yanc said. “These are just three music artists that I really love, and so, [this was] just a great chance to tribute them and do something celebratory rather than kind of a downer.”
Crowds of people attended the sing-a-long and the small venue was nearly filled with the three musicians’ fans. The ages of the audience ranged from people in their 60s to young children; fans old and new watched the music videos and sang the lyrics to the songs they loved.
“These are three of my favorite singers of all time,” said event attendee Lee Cauble, who is recently retired. “And we brought my granddaughters and their friend, and my daughters here. It’s a pretty special night for us; these singers transcend generations, so it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can enjoy Prince, Bowie and George Michael.”
A few people even came in costume as Prince, Michael or Bowie. The Loft Cinema held a competition for best costume for each of the three musicians.
“I’m here tonight to celebrate all of the art and all of the gifts that the three artists being portrayed has given to us over the years,” said Andre Rivera, a computer network engineer who dressed as Prince at the event. “It’s not being sad about what was lost, it’s about being happy with what we have.”
The Loft Cinema’s tribute began with “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince & The Revolution, for which the audience indeed went crazy. People shouted and many stood up to dance as they sang; hardly anyone sat down for the remainder of the night.
“Rebel Rebel” by Bowie followed, and then came “I Want Your Sex” by Michael. Many other popular songs by these artists graced the screen during the night. Prince’s “Little Red Corvette” and “When Doves Cry,” among others, were played. Bowie’s “Heroes,” “Modern Love” and “Space Oddity” were also played. Michael and Wham!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” “Careless Whisper” and “Everything She Wants” were also played.
The songs were arranged in no particular order, leaving the audience uncertain of what was next until the song title appeared onscreen followed by its music video. Each song was accompanied by singing and dancing from audience members.
“This entire tribute tonight means so much to me because I essentially grew up listening to these beautiful artists’ music, so it was the script of my teenage years,” said Melinda Cromeens, an administrative assistant at a behavior health organization.
Nursing student Cindy Monroy said she attended the event because she’s a huge fan of the artists.
“They are like the soundtrack of my life,” Monroy said. “When Prince passed away, it affected me so deeply I couldn’t even explain it. So, just to be here and to keep his legacy alive, his memory alive, which it will never die of course, but this is just so fun. [Prince] was all about bringing people together and not judging and love—David Bowie and George Michael as well. That’s why I’m here and it’s going to be super fun.”
The overall feeling of the venue was nostalgic and filled with a vibrant energy; everyone participated in the sing-a-long. The night ended with Prince’s “1999” as The Loft employees threw streamers across the room and green circular lights strobed across the ceiling, walls and screen.
Prince, David Bowie and George Michael changed the lives of many of the audience members.
“I can identify each and every time of my life and attach it to every single one of these guys,” said audience member Meredith Cohen, a therapist at the state prison. “It’s the story of my life, right up here.”
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