This story was published originally by The Bee on Sept. 6, 2004. Prince died April 21, 2016, at age 57.
Prince appeared at the center of the cross-shaped stage Saturday night at Save Mart Center, stepping off an elevator platform wearing a purple sports coat over an unbuttoned, white dress shirt with white bell-bottom slacks and white heels.
He turned and flashed a sly smile at the deafening crowd that seemed to say, "Just wait and see what I do next."
Then he began prancing around the stage. His music rang out, and he launched into his latest hit and the tour's namesake, "Musicology."
"California, " he called out. "Are you ready for the best night of your life? You have no idea what I'm gonna do to you tonight."
Prince is many things.
A liar, he went on to prove Saturday night, he was not.
Next, the 46-year-old Minnesota native and certified hit-maker rocketed into "Let's Go Crazy" -- of course the sold-out crowd was already there -- as confetti and purple ribbon began to fall from above.
After that, the more than 15,000 fans in attendance were hooked. Prince sang, danced, played guitar and plain entertained the heck out of a posse of purple-wearing patrons who stood during most of the two-hour-plus, more-than-30-song performance that ended with perhaps his biggest hit, "Purple Rain."
In doing so, he drew one of the biggest crowds Save Mart Center has ever held.
Saturday's concert, which was configured with the stage in the center of the building rather than at one end of the floor, will challenge Shania Twain's June concert for Save Mart Center's concert attendance record. It was unclear until a final attendance figure is determined, Save Mart Center officials said, which concert drew more people.
As if Prince needed any other reason to be considered music royalty.
This Musicology tour, which had already stormed through the West Coast and included a stop in Bakersfield this year, pit the purple one in a see-saw battle with Madonna for the hottest and highest-grossing concert tour of the year.
Fresno turned out a diverse crowd, young and old and richly multiracial.
There were women who looked dressed for the club, fanatics who made their shirts for the night, hand-holding couples and even a dude in a cowboy hat.
The highlight of the night was when, after a quick intermission at the one-hour mark, Prince popped back on stage, in a white shirt and white fringed pants, clutching his acoustic guitar for mellow versions of "Little Red Corvette" and "Cream."
At one point, Prince and his eight-piece band took a step away from his catalog of hits and began playing other people's songs.
Included were Beyonce's "Crazy In Love, " Blackstreet's "No Diggity" and The J.B.'s "Pass The Peas." It showed the dynamic of Prince, combing the danceable ("No Diggity") with the contemporary ("Crazy In Love") with the undeniably funky ("Pass the Peas").
Prince steered the night with an unpredictable rhythm. There were long instrumental breaks in which he danced, showed off his band and talked to the audience. Then he'd string together different songs from his catalog, sometimes short, sometimes longer, drawn-out versions.
If fans wanted to see a greatest-hits CD performed track by track, then the night might have disappointed. But if they wanted to see a funky, unpredictable, perhaps record-setting night, then Prince was king.