Prince and Vanity on the cover of Rolling Stone

Former Prince protege Denise “Vanity” Matthews died over the weekend, and Prince took a few moments during a recent tour stop in Australia to honor her memory and the impact they had on each other’s lives. A reporter for Australia’s News.com.au was in attendance, and it sounds like Prince broke away from whatever his planned setlist was for a number of special songs dedicated to Vanity, like a “reworked” version of his song The Ladder that replaced the name Electra with Vanity and a similarly reworked version of The Beautiful Ones that changed the line “my knees” to “Denise.” Vanity also dominated a lot of Prince’s stage banter, with him noting during an encore that he’s “trying to stay focused” and that the show was “a little heavy” for him because of her death. He also said that he and Vanity “used to love each other deeply,” adding, “She loved me for the artist I was, I loved her for the artist she was trying to be.”

Prince also acknowledged the difficulties that he and Vanity had, noting that she “was very headstrong cause she knew she was the finest woman in the world [and] never missed an opportunity to tell you that.” He even referenced one fight they had in which he threatened to throw her into a pool, with Vanity responding that Prince couldn’t throw her into a pool because he’s “too little.” After mentioning that he “probably shouldn’t” tell that story, he added “she’d want us to celebrate her life and not mourn her.”