D'Angelo Honors Prince w/ "Sometimes It Snows In April" Live On The Tonight Show f. Princess
Since Prince left us, there’s been a lot of loose talk about who might be called upon to perform his music in the inevitable tributes. Kind of a tough one, since first you have to answer this question: What musician living is worthy to even touch the hem of Prince’s murex-dyed robe? Well, y’all know there’s really only one name in that hat (okay, mayyybe two. But we’ll address that another time). There’s only one artist who has covered the Purple One credibly enough to say he channeled his spirit. One who studied with the self-same Jedi Master who served as tour manager to both Prince and James Brown. One soul cat who can rightfully pull up a stool to the custom-made violet-tinted Yamaha piano that Prince was slated to play on the remainder of the Piano & A Microphone tour, before his shockingly untimely passing. In case y’all haven’t caught up with me yet, the name in that hat is D’Angelo. And though the hat is extremely broad-brimmed, he wears it well.
It doesn’t hurt to have Princess, the most distinguished Prince cover band in the universe, providing vocal and moral back up, holding down the Wendy & Lisa-shaped silhouettes to stage left. Princess comprises Gretchen Lieberum and Maya Rudolph, who is here tonight to remind us that she is indeed Minnie Ripperton‘s daughter, blessed by birth with incredible voice–the comic genius is just for extras. But though D’s Black Messiah/The Second Coming tour has in a sense been training for this moment, the perfect gig he never wanted, the main ingredients of this performance are 1) the kind of soul you can’t learn through any amount of vocal training and 2) an incredible reverence for and emotional connection to the music of Prince, a near-spiritual connection D has spoken on before with his brother in arms. Of course, then there’s the bones of the song “Sometimes It Snows In April” which, right now? Could probably have many of us bawling right from the eerie, opening “hoooooo.” It’s where D goes from there that will leave you, simply, stunned. All good things, they say, never last. Watch below, and treasure this one: