The Electrifying Mojo was the torch bearer for Prince,” Freed says of a radio DJ colleague. “He’s a big reason Detroit played the role it did.” The enigmatic radio DJ known on air as the Electrifying Mojo (real name: Charles Johnson) had complete control over his show, since he paid directly for his own FM air-time. He was very forward-thinking when it came to music programming. He’s perhaps most often remembered as being the man who first broke techno music to the world in the mid-80s, but he was also a very early adopter of Prince.
By the time Mark Brown, aka Brownmark, joined Prince’s band in the summer of 1981, Mojo had whipped Detroit into a purple frenzy. “Detroit was crazy, I couldn’t believe the energy,” says Brown. “I don’t know what it was about the demographics and the sound, but they were Prince fanatics.” Minneapolis was starting to catch on by then, but not with the fervor of Detroit. “They would come to concerts wearing trench coats and have their hair thrown to the side,” says Brown. “There was something special about that place. They were Prince crazy.”
The 1999 Tour featured a four-night run in Detroit in the tour’s first month, and another date added months later — this time at the 20,000-seat Joe Louis Arena. It was a sign of things to come. By the time the Purple Rain Tour started in November 1984, Detroit was one of Prince’s top markets and the tour opened there with a longer run of dates than they played in any other city.
Freed made the trek to Detroit for the opening night of the tour, and the excitement was palpable. “It was electric,” remembers Freed. “The radio’s going nuts. It felt very big.” Freed says, adding that being in a different city made it feel like what was happening back home was real, “You don’t know a lot of people there, you’re not in a familiar environment. It was a form of validation.”

Prince and the Revolution returned to Detroit in 1986, for a pair of shows that included a show at Cobo Hall on the night of Prince’s 28th birthday. “Detroit is like my home town – I mean that. I could’ve stayed in my town and partied but I wanted to come down and party with you,” Prince said on stage that night. By then, Prince had moved on from mammoth tours and was starting to favor what would soon become one of his trademarks: the sneak-attack strategy. The Detroit shows were announced just days in advance.
In the audience at that birthday show was Detroit DJ Mike Servito. It was the first concert he ever attended; he was eleven at the time and was brought to the show by his older cousin. “I remember the room just being electric the entire time. The excitement level can’t be compared to anything. I was so young and so mesmerized and so aware.” Servito was also impressed by the scope of it all, with costume changes and skits leading in to songs. “There was so much going on because it was the extended Revolution. So many people on stage jamming and dancing. It was just incredible,” he says, and Prince himself did not disappoint. “He was jumping and spinning and doing everything I imagined. It’s insane to think he was only 28 at the time.”
On their way back home after the show, Servito and his cousin did what many Detroiters did that time of night; they tuned in to listen to the Electrifying Mojo’s show, where history was about to unfold. As one of Prince’s first and biggest supporters, Mojo had a very deep connection with a man who could be quite di&fficult to reach. That relationship was put on display when Prince called in to Mojo’s show after the Cobo Hall show for an interview, surprising even Mojo himself..