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    Live Report: Prince @ Paisley Park

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    maxim9691

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    Live Report: Prince @ Paisley Park

    Post by maxim9691 on Tue Sep 28, 2010 10:11 am

    Live Report: Prince @ Paisley Park

    By lchennig 2 Comments
    Categories: Uncategorized
    Tags: Live Report, Prince


    [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.][You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]Chanhassen, MN24 October 2004My sister and I heard about this show on our way back to ourparents’ suburban home, when we drove by Paisley Park (Prince’spersonal recording studio-slash-mansion complex in Chanhassen, MN) andnoticed a crowd of people gathering outside. We had just been to Culver’sfor dinner. That’s right: Butterburger, Concrete Shake,sit-yr-ass-in-a-blue-booth Culver’s. A terrible dietary choice, and I’mnot proud of it.But what unfolded from that bloated ride home, O my brothers, is the stuff of freaky-deeky concert going legend. “Yeah,Prince is throwin’ some kinda party,” said the cop out front, divertingtraffic to designated parking areas. In three and a half years ofdriving past, this was the first time we had seen anything of any sorthappening outside the mysterious Paisley Park. A nondescript,lavender-striped monolith set against an uninspiring suburban backdrop,Prince has been recording there for more than 20 years — albums ofjarring stylistic complexity — though you would never know to drive byit. Basically a Willy Wonka-type scenario, if Wonka’s had dealtexclusively in androgynous, super-sexxy candy.Another question for the cop. Yes, the ‘party’ was open to thepublic. A charity one-off, actually. $40, cash only. We parked hastily,apologized for forgetting our non-perishable food item, and joined thegathered throng in the courtyard. Waiting anxiously in the briskevening, we assessed the crowd to consist principally of (1) LotusFlow3r fanclub members, dressed in New Power Generation-emblazonedparkas, who had received an email announcement of the show, and (2)ordinary Minnesotans who read every square inch of the newspaper, wherea smallish announcement had run that same morning, bottom of page A2.And us. We were there too: a couple of twentysomethings who go to rockshows fairly often and think we know bloody everything… How far out ofschool would we be with Prince?Doors finally opened around ten, and we quickly learned that wewould not be given an all-access pass to the entire complex (a shame…check out the slideshow),but whisked directly to a large performance area. But wait… just beforewe broke for the stage… what was that in the lobby? It’s the PurpleRain motorcycle! No &%*$! Just sitting there in the corner! Is it thereal one from the movie? The impish, fanboy security guard manning thevelvet rope gave me a slight nod to say “you bet your ass it’s theone”. Daaamn! What an iconic 80′s artifact! I instantly madethe first of many unfortunate Michael Jackson comparisons when Ithought back to my visit to the Experience Music Project in Seattlethis summer, where I saw MJ’s ‘Billy Jean’ jacket + glove encased inmuseum glass. And here’s THE Purple Rain bike! Just sitting here in aprivate studio in the southwest suburbs!It also got me thinking about how the Prince from “Purple Rain” wasreally the only one I knew. I’m sure I’m not alone in this assessment.He’s the one who’s on DVD. The one with Appolonia, on the purplemotorcycle, headed for Lake Minnetonka. Intensely weird, yes. But atrack like “When Doves Cry”… it’s at least comprehensible… (evencategorizable?)After about an hour Prince took the stage with his band andsummarily smoked my neophyte ass. “I got too many hits y’all” hepronounced more than once, laying into yet another funkified jam. Thefalsetto vocals, the liquid synths, the belting, buxom backup singers…it was all in full effect. And yo, I’ve seen some guitar wanking in myday (John Frusciante, Jack White), but this guy was off the gridentirely. “Can your boyfriend do THIS?” Rockstar swagger, distilled toits essence.Most of the tunes I never knew existed. He seemed to draw from everything except“Purple Rain”: mostly early-early 80’s (as I researched later), plussome new material. Tons of covers peppered the setlist, ranging from “IWant You Back” to Sarah McLaughlin’s “Angel” (no &%*$!).He played for three hours, and I was surprisingly happy tostand/dance for the duration. A definite high point was Larry Graham,original bass player for Sly and the Family Stone, who took the stageand guested on a handful of funk classics, including “Everyday People”,“I Want to Take You Higher”, and other joints he and Sly once pulledout at Woodstock.(I learned later that Graham has been in the Prince fold for a whilenow, and is actually the one responsible for Prince’s becoming aJehovah’s Witness. Eeew!)A blistering encore of “Kiss” gave way to a tender ballad (“SometimeIt Snows in April”) that I was embarrassed I didn’t know. But thatPrince, he lets you down easy: “Purple Rain” for the closer. Nice andslow, building to that gospel-infused chorus. Into extended guitar +falsetto solos… all was right in the world.A serendipitous hankerin’ for pancakessuddenly o’ertook me, but no. It’s late, and we’ve overstayed ourwelcome. Come along, sis. Like what you’ve done with the place, Mr.Prince. We should do this again sometime.
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