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(Paisley Park/NPG Records via AP)

As if to underline they weren't kidding about it being a "celebration," Paisley Park operators surprised fans in town to honor Prince with a performance by one of rock's most legendary party starters, George Clinton and P-Funk.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and his expansive (and expensive) crew treated the first round of fans at Paisley's four-day Celebration to an 80-minute afternoon set at Prince's studio-turned-museum in Chanhassen. They will return for a second concert for another round of Celebration goers on Thursday night, just like all this week's performers will do (including the Revolution on Friday and Morris Day & the Time on Saturday).

"I think Prince would have found [Clinton] a good representative to get it started," said Todd Hall, who came from Guam to attend the event, timed to Friday's anniversary of Prince's death.

Clinton and his pioneering groups, Parliament and Funkadelic, were in the upper echelon among Prince's biggest musical influences. Prince eventually got to to collaborate with Clinton, who participated in the movie and soundtrack "Graffiti Bridge," both made at Paisley, and also released two comeback albums on Prince's Paisley Park Records.

Clinton, 75, took the stage right off the bat with his band, dressed in a silver lamé jacket and matching police-style hat. He dove right into the hits, too, including "Atomic Dog," "Up for the Down Stroke," "Flashlight" and "One Nation Under a Groove."

While the ringleader never said anything about Prince, one of Clinton's many hypemen told the crowd at the end of the set, "We want to thank Prince. He was there for us when we needed it, and we loved him."