Prince took the stage in Baltimore before thousands of fans who were dressed in gray in tribute to a man whose death in police custody prompted riots and drew international attention.
The pop star announced Sunday's "Rally 4 Peace" concert at the Royal Farms Arena Baltimore after weeks of protests sparked by Freddie Gray's death. During the show, Prince debuted a song he wrote for the city after Gray's death.
The 2.5 hour concert had three encores, and raised money for local Baltimore youth programs.
USA Today reports:
Prince could've just performed Baltimore, his new protest song, and called the rally's social justice portion a night. But the Rally 4 Peace, while still in essence a Prince concert, had its somber moments, with Prince dedicating the evening to families mourning loved ones.
During Baltimore, which he performed for the first time Sunday, Prince was joined by Baltimore City state's attorney Marilyn Mosby, who took the stage with her husband to enormous applause.
Reportedly in the crowd were family members of Brown, Gray and Eric Garner (who died last summer after New York City police put him in a chokehold), invited by the singer to attend the rally.
And at the mic, Prince saluted Baltimoreans working for change, the city's black business owners and the next generation of artists, activists and thinkers.
"For those who have lost loved ones, we're here for you tonight," Prince told the crowd before launching a set that included his most famous hits.
Prince also called on the city's youth to fix a "broken system."
The lyrics of the Baltimore song include a message of redemption:
Nobody got in nobody’s way
So I guess you could say
It was a good day
At least a little better than the day in Baltimore
Does anybody hear us pray?
For Michael Brown or Freddie Gray
Peace is more than the absence of war
Absence of war