Concert promoter on bringing Prince to Steel City: ‘He loved Pittsburgh'

PITTSBURGH — As the world mourns the loss of pop icon Prince, a local concert promoter recalled how he was able to bring the musician to the Steel City.

“He loved Pittsburgh. For one, he knew he could sell out in a short amount of time,” concert promoter Rick Engler said.


Engler was instrumental in bringing Prince, who was found dead Thursday morning inside his Minneapolis compound at the age of 57, to Pittsburgh four times.

Prince first brought his Fire It Up Tour to the Benedum Center in 1980 when the venue was called the Stanley Theater.%



“The announcer goes, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, Prince!’ He throws off the robe and walks out in very, very small black bikini underwear,” Engler said. “I was worried the police were going to be called because they were going through some serious gyrations.”

Prince returned to the Steel City several times over the years, with his last visit being to the Mellon Arena in 2004 for his Musicology Tour.

“I was hoping to bring him back to Pittsburgh one more time after seeing his performance at the Super Bowl,” Engler said. “He blew everyone away. I was thinking, ‘Man, how good would it be?’ Now that's never going to happen.”