I think it’s safe to say that I’m stunned at the legends of the music world (not to mention actors etc.) that we have lost in the past few months, including Lemmy, David Bowie and just yesterday, most shockingly for me, Prince at the age of just 57.
I’ve been a fan of Prince’s music since the “Purple Rain” days – I even enjoyed the film of the same name, something that I can’t say about his other films I’m afraid. Today I’m going to reminisce as best I can about the time I was fortunate enough to see Prince in concert. It was during his 1990 “Nude Tour” on one of a string of UK dates, this one being at the National Exhibition Centre (as it was then called) outside Birmingham.
Support, as I recall, came from veteran singer Mavis Staples who appeared on Prince’s 1990 album “Graffiti Bridge” and who had her 1989 and 1993 solo albums primarily penned and produced by Prince. More than that I can’t really say. I wasn’t a fan of Staples and although I presume I was at the venue for her performance (I try to catch as many support acts as I can) I honestly remember nothing of it.
So to the man himself. The tour was promoting the “Graffiti Bridge” album, which was released a few weeks after the UK dates, and was heavy on material from “Purple Rain” and the “Batman” soundtrack as well as a smattering of hit singles, a couple of covers and a track from the upcoming record itself. Staging was apparently stripped back from that seen on the “Sign O’ The Times” and “Lovesexy” tours, and also a shorter show.
Prince’s band for this tour featured guitarist Miko Weaver, bassist Levi Seacer Jr. and keyboardist Doctor Fink – all of whom had been members of the band of the previous few Prince tours, together with new members Rosie Gaines (keyboards / vocals), Michael Bland (drums) plus dancers / vocalists The Game Boyz (who were Anthony Mosley (AKA Tony M.), Kirk Johnson. and Damon Dickson).
The unfamiliar cover songs aside the set was brilliant. Plenty of instantly recognisable hits performed by top class musicians. “Alphabet St.”, “Batdance”, “Purple Rain” etc. etc. Prince was, as you might expect, electric and hugely watchable. Singing, dancing, excellent guitar playing – a consummate performer. I would personally have liked a few more tracks from the “Sign O’ The Times” and “Lovesexy” albums – two of his very best in my opinion – instead of the covers, as well as a longer show as per the previous tour, but nonetheless this was a very good gig.
During his career Prince presided over so many fantastic albums being released (both under his name and his numerous side projects and protégés such as Vanity 6, The Family, Carmen Electra etc.) and there are known to be many more that have never officially seen the light of day.
I’m fortunate enough to have his official albums, a number of his protégés / side projects and also copies of unreleased album configurations that have somehow slipped out over the years and I have to say that although his commercial fortunes may have dipped since the heights of his sales success in the late Eighties / early Nineties, practically all of the huge body of work for which we is responsible is of a consistently high standard. I don’t think we will see his like again. Prince R.I.P…
1. The Future / 2. 1999 / 3. Housequake / 4. Kiss / 5. Purple Rain / 6. Take Me With U / 7. Don’t Make Me Pay For His Mistakes / 8. Alphabet St. / 9. The Question Of U / 10. When Doves Cry / 11. A Song For You / 12. Little Red Corvette / 13. Batdance / 14. Partyman / 15. Baby I’m A Star / 16. Nothing Compares 2 U
1, 13 and 14 originally from “Batman” (1989) / 2 and 12 originally from “1999” (1983) / 3 originally from “Sign O’ The Times” (1987) / 4 originally from “Parade” (1986) / 5, 6, 10 and 15 originally from “Purple Rain” (1984) / 7 cover ZZ Hill single (1971) / 8 originally from “Lovesexy” (1988) / 9 originally from “Graffiti Bridge” (1990) / 11 cover of Leon Russell song from “Leon Russell” (1970) / 16 originally from “The Family” (Prince side project) (1985)