Watching Prince perform Purple Rain live in Syracuse in 1985 gave me a chance to think a little more about what David Bowie and Prince both meant to me because that is there true greatness - they meant a lot to many but for each it is different.
For me it's because they, along with a very very few other musicians, represent really a kind of magic. They are known for each having a certain strong affinity for fantasy, whimsy. They created personas that were different characters. The costumes and makeup. They could be easily placed into a fantasy sci-fi tale.
Magic is important to me. Not magic tricks, not Wiccan religious beliefs, not actually expecting a Hogwarts letter any day now. Just a general feeling, instilled in me since early childhood through literature and spending a lot of time in trees or barns talking to my imaginary pixie friends, that all things in life that are wonderful are magic. It's not a belief system or a naive kind of optimism, it's just the way I choose to interpret things, while also understanding their rational causes. For the sake of joy, and the sake of making the most of life.
So in my brain, Prince and David Bowie were kind of just...real life versions of the people I read about or made up as a kid. They could do things that others couldn't. They looked like some kind of elven creatures. They wore things that sparkled and swirled, and were bathed in glowing coloured lights. If five year old me had ever seen either one live she would have been convinced they had magic powers.
It comes down I suppose to imagination. Two artists whose sheer force of imagination can't be comprehended, so vast that it poured eternally out and was transformed into music and performance.
In my imagination they are magical guardians of the realms of fantasy and in a way I feel like they maybe felt a bit like that. I hope so anyway.