As the lines stretched around the block Sunday night in front of the Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, all knew they were in for a spectacular night. Last week, when Prince announced his #Rally4Peace concert as a tribute to Freddie Gray and the countless men who have died at the hands of police, there was no doubt that it would be a sold-out show. When the tickets went on sale Thursday at 5 p.m., they sold out within minutes. Prince’s #Rally4Peace concert not only generated concert sales but also generated proceeds for various youth organizations in Baltimore.
The concert, which was slated to start at 8 p.m. Sunday, experienced a slight delay, but once the lights dimmed and the prerecorded music tracks went silent at 8:40 p.m, you knew what was about to occur: Prince and his band, 3rd Eye Girl, appeared onstage and the crowd went crazy.
“For those who have lost loved ones, we’re here for you tonight,” Prince told the crowd before kicking off the show.
Prince made his way through a couple of hits before performing his ode to Gray, “Baltimore.” The song was made in response to Gray’s killing at the hands of Baltimore City police officers and called for justice.
“Nobody got in nobody’s way, so I guess you could say it was a good day, at least a little better than the day in Baltimore. Does anybody hear us pray, for Michael Brown or Freddie Gray? Peace is more than the absence of a war,” Prince sang.
One surprise guest, before Prince performed “Baltimore,” was Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore City’s state’s attorney who has charged six officers in Gray’s death. Mosby received a standing ovation from the crowd as she hugged Prince. Prince was also joined onstage by special guest performers Miguel, Estelle and Judith Hill.
Prince’s concert was filled with moments of political commentary; at one point during the show, he told the crowd, “The system is broken. It’s going to take the young people to fix it this time. We need new ideas, new life. … The next time I come to Baltimore, I want to stay in a hotel owned by you.”
As the #Rally4Peace concert came to a close almost two-and-a-half hours later, Prince and his band took to the stage and closed out with an amazing performance of “Mountains.” The Purple One showed his love to Baltimore, and after having not performed in the city for 14 years, Prince definitely provided an occasion to remember.