On Friday, Prince proved to the city of Brisbane why he is one of the greatest musicians of all time.
I’ll admit I am not a seasoned Prince fan – I was very young during his reign in the 1980s and didn’t grow up listening to him. The hits that I was most familiar with were “Cream,” “Little Red Corvette,” “Raspberry Beret,” “Kiss,” “When Doves Cry,” and “Diamonds and Pearls.” I am well aware of the greatness associated with The Symbol. When I was notified that Prince was coming to town, I was cluey enough to know that this was not a gig to pass on.
Prince is an icon, a musical genius – rightfully placed amongst the greatness of Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley and Whitney Houston.
Luck presented itself – in it’s purple form
I picked up a solo $100 ticket in the upper area. When I arrived I was fortunate enough to be upgraded to Purple Reserve seats which were stageside on the floor – retailing at $350. I was elated to be given this opportunity among a few select others – including another lovely girl who attended solo seated by me by the name of Wasiela.
From what I saw of the fellow lucky ones – there was a contingency of those who appeared as though they led a life less fortunate than the blessings I have. I saw one older lady tear up in joy at the windfall saying ‘this never happens to me.’ It was very apparent who received the free upgrade in the Purple Reserve and who paid the full price – the lucky chosen ones had a huge grin on their faces, the full paying ticket buyers – a glare of disdain.
I figured it was karma, I’ve lost count of the times I have paid full price for tickets only to find the promoters/ticket vendors have reduced them dramatically at the last minute.
Those in attendance at the Brisbane Prince gig were as I had predicted – older. I was seemingly one of the youngest there. Plenty of 80s music lovers filled the stadium – many wearing a purple item of clothing, Symbol merchandise, or dressed in Prince’s signature androgynous style. I was pretty annoyed at how unresponsive the crowd was at times throughout the show. The Symbol wanted the audience to clap and sing louder to the lyrics and they seemingly ignored his requests – I mean damn, I can only project my solo falsetto to “Purple Rain” so far people!
The Entertainment Centre was in the rare In-The-Round mode whereby the entire stadium is opened up. This will only happen if the entertainer is capable of selling the huge number of tickets involved in that layout and their stageshow is strategically created to work the entire stadium.
The stage was shaped as Prince’s signature symbol it would change colours from the embedded lighting. A piano featured – it lit up and changed colours. The band were positioned at the circular end of the symbol. If you suffered from epilepsy bought on by lighting and flashing – you surely would have fitted during this concert, there was a ridiculous amount of strobe lighting throughout the performance.
The Purple One arrived and departed the stage via a lift in the centre of the symbol. He had a number of back up singers all dressed in purple and he also had the famous Twinz his twin dancers who hail from Australia – he founded them in 2004 and has had them with him since. Rumours suggest he has dated them in the past. The Twinz were absolutely incredible to watch as they worked the stage.
Prince is very protective of his image and cameras were not permitted into the stadium and illegal use was enforced by surly security guards- if you were caught snapping or filming. I was fortunate enough to get the photos I did. It is rather ridiculous banning cameras when everyone has them built into their phones these days. From what I saw, even press were limited. It was suggested that Prince actually cut his show short because he was extremely annoyed with all the flashes from the cameras.
The Symbol performed for almost two hours straight – I was blown away at his level of energy throughout the gig. He is in his mid 50s and didn’t skip a beat. He transitioned each track cleverly gauging how the crowd was reacting to his track choice. It is said that he changes the sets freely – feeding from the vibe of the audience, evidence of a true musical veteran.
Prince took the stage in a head to toe black outfit with a long coat and signature black high heel boots. His guitar strap was leopard print and he switched out his guitar regularly – each were dazzling in appearance and selected to co-ordinate with his outfit. He changed at encore into a sweater with a purple heart and then into gold heeled boots. Everything about his appearance down to his eyeliner and glittered hair was perfection. I marvelled at his ability to perform in heels – leaping onto the piano and gyrating.
He wanted to get the party started – and he was our DJ and MC – orchestrating our every move.
The Brisbane set was as follows:
- “Jam of the Year” (from Emancipation, 1996)
- “Let’s Go Crazy” (from Purple Rain, 1984)
- “Delirious” (from 1999, 1982)
- “1999” (from 1999, 1982)
- “Shhh” (from The Gold Experience, 1995)
- “Empty Room” (from The Vault, 1999)
- “When Doves Cry” (from Purple Rain, 1984)
- “Sign O The Times” (from Sign On The Times, 1987)
- “Pop Life” (from Around The World In A Day, 1985)
- “Darling Nikki” (from Purple Rain, 1984)
- “4Ever In My Life” (from Sign On The Times, 1987)
- “Take Me With U” (from Purple Rain, 1984)
- “Raspberry Beret” (from Around The World In A Day, 1985)
- “Cream” (from Diamonds and Pearls, 1991)
- “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” (Michael Jackson cover)
- “The Dance Electric”
- “Cool” (The Time)
- “Adore” (from Sign On The Times, 1987)
- “Diamonds and Pearls” (from Diamonds and Pearls, 1991)
- “The Beautiful Ones” (from Purple Rain, 1984)
- “How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore”
- “Purple Rain” (from Purple Rain, 1984)
- “Kiss” (from Parade, 1986)
I was shocked of his omission of “Little Red Corvette” which performed very well on the Australian charts.
His encore included “Kiss,” his funkalicious rendition of Sly and the Family Stone’s “Everyday People.” Prince gyrated and grooved throughout the concert but not as much as was evidenced to his solo dance performance to “Kiss.” I teared up with emotion and joy seeing him dance – he was phenomenal. The way he shook his booty to the beat of the music and elegantly moved – it was as though he truly was feeling the beat of the music through his body. He was everything…
The man, the performer, the sex god
After seeing him live in concert – I finally understand the appeal that is Prince. He is enigmatic, brilliant, charismatic and oozes sex. He writes his own songs, can play all the instruments in the compositions, has an enviable vocal range, can mix funk, rock, pop and R&B and dances/entertains like no other.
He is a hybrid of Marvin Gaye, Jimi Hendrix, and James Brown.
Prince was rated in the Rolling Stone Top 100 Guitarists of all time and from Friday’s performance it was clear why. The way he worked that guitar was sexy and executed with such ease, he played it with his teeth at one point, and played it while caressing one of The Twinz.
Anyone that appreciates guitar playing skills would have loved his string prowess on “Purple Rain” (complete with actual purple rain falling from the roof).
The man is androgynous and small in stature – something I am not at all attracted to in a man. For some reason, Prince is the exception. There is a charisma, an ego, that screams ‘I own what I’m working with.’
At the concert, I was ready to offer my whole self to this man, and as my friend Lulu said – she wanted to tear her clothes off. Sis – that is totally understandable. That man moved me in a way I have not been moved before. He was sex in high heeled boots, a scarf and eye liner – it is of no consequence that he is my father’s age. Sex appeal knows no age.
Stop seducing me Prince!
This performance was up there with one of the greatest I have seen in my life – and I have seen many. Prince effortlessly proved on Friday night, exactly why his music has spanned thirty years, has had ten platinum albums and countless chart topping hits. He is nothing short of a musical genius. He put on a unforgettable, gobsmacking, flawless show with real showmanship – something rare in artists these days and acquired through experience and talent.
For those people with an opportunity to buy tickets for his remaining shows, I highly encourage you to do so. Seeing Prince live is a bucket list item – I am so serious. This opportunity doesn’t present itself too often, he hasn’t been to Australia for nine years and I doubt that he will tour again given his chart topping days are over.
If you can’t get to the concert itself, head to his famous after-parties post-gig which I regret not going to, but am feenin to go to next week for his second show.
Tickets have been $100-$150 at the door, and provide a long performance full of funked out jams in a more intimate setting. A must see for Prince fans and musos alike.
Remaining shows in Australia:
May 22, Sydney, Allphones Arena
May 26, Brisbane, Entertainment Centre
May 30, Melbourne, Rod Laver Arena
Did you see Prince in concert? What did you think of him?