Just moments after musician/actor/beautiful person Prince learned that his one-time protégé Denise "Vanity" Matthews had died at a Bay Area hospital, he had to take the stage in Melbourne, Australia. According to reports, what resulted was an emotional performance filled with reminiscences of the fallen artist.
As previously reported, Matthews, who collaborated with Prince throughout the 1980s before shunning the spotlight as a born-again Christian, died in Fremont earlier this week following a battle with sclerosing encapsulating peritonitis.
According to News Corp Australia, Prince had "just found out about" Matthews' death before hitting the stage, saying “Someone dear to us has passed away, I’m gonna dedicate this song to her.”
What resulted was "a touching version of Little Red Corvette with a touch of Dirty Mind — songs from the era when they were together."
He then altered the lyrics to The Ladder, singing “This Prince, he had a subject named Vanity who loved him with a passion, uncontested.” He also referenced her when singing The Beautiful Ones, saying "I’m trying to stay focused, it’s a little heavy for me tonight. Just keep jamming ... She knows about this one," then changing the final lyrics from "my knees" to "Denise."
“Can I tell you a story about Vanity? Or should I tell you a story about Denise?" Prince reportedly asked the crowd, before saying "Her and I used to love each other deeply. She loved me for the artist I was, I loved her for the artist she was trying to be. She and I would fight. She was very headstrong cos she knew she was the finest woman in the world. She never missed an opportunity to tell you that.”
He also said that during an argument, he threatened to heave Matthews in the pool, When she told the diminutive artist “You can’t throw me in the pool, you’re too little," he says he had his bodyguard toss her in.
“I probably shouldn’t be telling this story,“ Prince concluded. “But she’d want us to celebrate her life and not mourn her.”
TMZ reports that Matthews has attended services at a Bay Area church as recently as Saturday night, where she told congregants that she was "ready to go home." She was 57.