As fun as it was to watch Jimmy Fallon and Questlove trade crazy stories about Prince, that was nothing compared to Tuesday’s soul-shattering performance by D’Angelo on The Tonight Show.
Seated behind a piano and bathed in purple light, D’Angelo performed “Sometimes It Snows in April,” which Prince recorded exactly 30 years to the date before his death, on April 21, 1986.
The lyrics include lines like “Sometimes I wish life was never-ending / And all good things, they say, never last.” D’Angelo appeared to tear up when he changed one line to “I often dream of heaven and I know that Prince is there.”
On backup vocals, D’Angelo was joined by Maya Rudolph and Gretchen Lieberum, also known as Prince cover band Princess. The duo’s appearance followed a tribute show they performed over the weekend at the Moontower Comedy and Oddity Festival in Austin, Texas. At that show, Rudolph declared her intention to “celebrate and honor the beautiful, the genuinely, unique, one-of-a-kind, the most brilliant, most special, most magical, most fucking incredible Prince Rogers Nelson.”
The past week has seen beautiful musical tributes to Prince from Bruce Springsteen, David Gilmour, and some of Broadway’s biggest stars, but more than any of those who came before, D’Angelo is one of Prince’s true heirs. And he proved that definitively Tuesday night.