Prince’s 21 Nite Stand – Great Western Forum – May 28, 2011

 

The crazy thing about this one is, with the long weekend, I was feeling lazy this afternoon, and almost didn’t go.  But it was Saturday night, I guess that makes it right, I said ‘What have I got to lose?’ (You see what I did there right?  OK, OK, I’ll get to the review…)

So I’d heard from various friends in NYC and LA about how ‘great’ Prince’s shows were on this tour.  I was an 80s kid, of course I was a pretty big Prince fan.  Not my number one guy as most of you know, but that’s an apples and oranges discussion.  Anyhoo, my gut response was ‘Of course I’d love to go, but who can afford the tickets?’  And that’s when I heard…

$25.

‘Wha?’

You can see one of the icons of music for $25?  Well at that point of course I was in!

Prince has been known to have ‘special guests’ on this tour (as if super affordable tickets weren’t enough).  The guest tonight was one Mary J. Blige.  Now I’m going to be honest: I grew up with Mary J. Blige, I respect her and her voice, but I can’t say I’m the biggest Mary J. Blige fan.  I’m not making a 180 after tonight but this is the truth: seeing her live COMPLETELY changed the way I looked at her.  The instant connection with the audience, dancing along with her own songs, I think she’s sexier at this point than she was ten years ago.  Not for the first time in this review, words don’t do justice to how good it was. I’ve always been a fan of her version of ‘Sweet Thing,’ so when Prince snuck his little 3 foot 3 behind on stage for a quick cameo appearance, I lost it.  After the fact I was very thankful no one had a camera on my reaction, geeked on some damn Prince!  I feel like docking myself cool points just for admitting it!  Anyway, it was ‘the Club’ and ‘Chu’ch’ (and if you know what I’m talking about, you know I didn’t misspell that) all rolled into one. And that’s always been her style, but if you’re a Mary J. Blige fan, you owe it to yourself to see her perform live if you haven’t already.  AND THAT WAS THE OPENING ACT!

So after Mary J. wore us out, there’s only a handful of people who you would even WANT to try to follow her up.  But when your opening line to the crowd is ‘Do ya’ll know how many hits I got?!?’, you’re one of the guys/girls who can pull it off! And when you can say that while wearing some knee high Uggs with heels, made from Taun Taun fur, dammit you can’t be anybody but Prince!   Backed by Maceo Parker (look that name up after you’re not familiar with funk and jazz) and NPG, Prince took us through some of his greatest hits; but being the great musician he is, tweaked every one so it wasn’t exactly like the studio version.  Mary J. came back onstage to duet ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’, ‘1999’ and ‘When Doves Cry’ became great call back songs between him and the audience.  We even got fairly impromptu jams, ‘Cool’ by the Time was a perfect blend with ‘Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough’ (which I appreciated), a white guy he pulled out of the front row DIDN’T know the words to ‘Little Red Corvette,’ so Prince got his ass offstage and went into ‘Play that Funky Music (White Boy).’  And he closed the show with an even more local version of ‘Hollywood Swingin” for Inglewood.

We were all more than satisfied; when the first encore was ‘Purple Rain’, well, shit.  Justifiably epic live, not much more to add there.

So a Mary J. Blige/Prince bill, for about what I pay now for half a tank of gas.  I don’t know where I go from here concert wise…

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