As if answering some kind of Bat Signal -- perhaps there's a spotlight on top of the Hancock tower that throws a big purple Prince symbol into the sky -- pop megastar Prince swooped into to town this week, bringing the party -- and a few party fouls.
Near the end of his Monday night concert at United Center -- the first of three this week at the arena (plus three late-night shows at House of Blues, read on) in conjunction with the local Rebuild the Dream charity -- his crack NPG band started vamping into "Purple Rain." But Prince just had to explain his purple presence.
"Chicago, I don't want to preach," he lied, "but we need to love one another." He continued his homily, implicitly acknowledging the city's rough summer and his reason for being here, like some musical medicine man. "These are hard times, and they're gonna get harder. I don't need to be here; I want to be here." Earlier, as he was getting the party started, he instructed the sold-out crowd to "take your mind off all the problems outside."