Prince – The Forum – April 22, 2011

I can’t complain too much for $25.00….
(But, I guess I will for a bit anyway…)

I finally saw Price again and honestly I was a somewhat letdown.

My only previous Prince experience was seeing him boo’d off the stage before the Rolling Stones. I think he made it through four songs before retreating off from the abuse….it was ugly. I’d always sort of wanted to see him do a full show since, but things just never clicked and I’d never gone. Of course during that time (the intervening 29 years or so)….I’d heard about the amazing shows that he put on. I mean, just reading reviews of the first two shows of this 21 night stand I’d seen references to Clapton, Hendrix and Santana.  Hey, I’ve seen two of those three artists multiple times and that’s a VERY high bar for anyone to reach.

Sadly, the Prince show I saw last night never scaled those heights.

Friday night I’d say that it was a good show with some great moments. But the playing didn’t approach Clapton at his laziest. And for sheer guitar talent and prowess it didn’t approach Jeff Beck a few weeks ago in Pomona or Robert Randolph (February in Orlando) who I’ve already seen tear the roof off a venue this year alone.  Prince did shred a bit on Controversy, I’ll give him that. And the stretch of Take Me with U>Raspberry Beret>Cream>Cool and Hollywood Swinging played after a rough-ish start flat out rocked. That was the high point of the show for me. That was after he reeled off five somewhat lesser known cuts to start the show. (At least to a casual fan (i.e. me) they were lesser known.)

The sound where we were sitting was horrible for bulk of the show. With the first few songs being a real train wreck of mixing…This rough mix took me back to the bad of days of arena shows when the vocals could be buried under a layer of sludge. It finally got somewhat sorted, but three days into a run in the same venue says to me that the mix should be worked out and much tighter.

But the biggest omission in the show that let me down was one of the sets that he’s played on the previous two nights…using internet set lists as my guide  (Let’s Go Crazy > Delirious > Let’s Go Crazy reprise > 1999 > Little Red Corvette). Four of…and arguably maybe the four biggest of his hits.  He also omitted “Nothing Compares to U” and “Kiss”.  Heck, I love artists who change the setlist up every night. I actually love hearing an artists play their new material. When Elton John did 9 cuts off of Peachtree Road at Honda Center, I thought it was awesome.  But, after those cuts he still played “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” and “Your Song”….both of which I’ve certainly heard lots, but expected he sort of had to play.

I was actually part of that old cliche demographic at this Prince show….I was “The guy who’s never seen this act before, who is a casual fan and may never see him again…” That makes me the guy that Springsteen plays “Born to Run” for; or the one that The Stones play “Satisfaction” for.

Couple that with a somewhat brief set, 19 songs including encores. Playing 90 minutes is average headliner length and nothing like the epic three hours he seems to have done last week on the opening show. I walked away from the show a bit let down.

Is it a value for twenty five bucks….undoubtedly.
He’s a great writer, has star charisma and a razor sharp band. But, it’s not even the best show I’ve seen this month, much less the “epic-life changing-spectacle” that people talk about his shows as being.  It seems that the show I got was nothing like the show that reviewers seem to have gotten the night before and that is a letdown, because even at the low price this may have been my one shot at seeing him live.

At least no one boo’d this time.

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11 Comments

Filed under Other concerts

11 responses to “Prince – The Forum – April 22, 2011

  1. Laura

    Had to laugh at the reference to Prince opening for The Stones on their Start Me Up Tour in support of Tattoo You. I was there and it truly was funny in a sad kind of way. Particularly the guy who got on the mike after Prince stormed off stage. The guy chewed someone out for throwing a bottle on stage. He said “if you think you can do any better, then get up here and try.” If I remember correctly Prince wore tight high waisted black pants, a black bow tie and a large black cape… no shirt. I just don’t think fans of The Stones, George Thorouhgood and J. Geils were ready for the likes of Prince in those days. To me, it made as much sense as pairing Hendrix with The Monkees.
    Great review… glad you didn’t feel too cheated for the price. Although that is 90 minutes plus that you’ll never get back again. LOL! 😉

    • I totally agree that folks were not prepared for Prince in those days…and at that show in particular. Of course the Stones had been just as shocking in their day and had taken Ike & Tine and Stevie Wonder out in the past as openers. So, I suppose on paper it made sense. I think song selection had some effect too. As I recall the first song was “J–k U Off”, which in retrospect may have been a risky choice for a Stones crowd amped up on beer and substances….

      The guy who came out on the mic was Bill Graham, and I recall him chewing folks out pretty good. Wow, that was a while ago, wasn’t it?
      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Amara

    I have to agree, I think I set myself up for disappointment by reading the setlists of the nights preceding. It was a good show, great even for $25 but I def believe we got the shortest and least entertaining of the three shows. And if you’re going to cut your setlist in half, make sure it’s the better half you’re playing. I also could have done with a 15 minute Purple Rain as opposed to the 30 minute one we had the pleasure of.

    • Totally agree, I should have never looked at a setlist (or some reviews that I read) because it set my bar and expectations sky high going in. It wasn’t that it was a bad show so much as it wasn’t as good a show as I expected based on the previous two setlists I’d seen.

      In a way this experience is exactly why I see live shows. You never know what the spin of the wheel will bring, sometimes it great, sometimes good and sometimes disappointing. But, if I wanted predictable I’d pull out the CD and listen instead. The chance to see something great has to be balanced out against the times you don’t get greatness.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!
      I appreciate it!

  3. Amara

    One more thing, I don’t know if you saw this but he did a Bob Dylan cover, Make You Feel My Love, EVERY other night, I was excited to see that but…. Never happened. And Alicia Keys and Mint Condition are a huge step down from Sheila E. and Chaka Khan. I have heard both of the other shows from this weekend described as a party and our show simply wasn’t.
    I am a bit bitter. I am a huge Prince fan and feel like I’ve been cheated on.

    • Ack…no I totally missed seeing that. I would have loved to her him cover Dylan. I did make the mistake of briefly glancing last night at the the Saturday night setlist…I could see that it was much better overall, but I didn’t read it too deeply as to not depress myself any further….(Larry Graham, Chaka Kahn as guests jumped out at me….Ack.)

  4. annette

    I was fine with the concert – I’ve seen him before. But for my sister and HER first time, she was definitely disappointed with the lack of “classics” played at the Friday night 4/22 concert. We DIDN”T hear any of the Kiss, 1999, Die 4 u songs.
    The worst part was when we were leaving and security told us, “it’s not over yet.” So we sat and waited 45 minutes only to see Prince ride in a bicycle through some aisles NEVER to return to the stage.

    • That stinks.
      There’s seems to be a lot of confusion about when (and if) he’s going to stop or keep playing. It’s a shame you had to wait so long for nothing.

      I waited about 20 minutes and then headed out for home. I based it on the fact that the spot operators climbed down from their positions above the stage. I figured that was a pretty solid sign that he wouldn’t come back.

  5. Julie

    In terms of hits, he did play Purple Rain (somewhat endlessly, as noted) and When Doves Cry — both pretty big hits. But I recognized little else in the whole set, and there are a lot of things he could have played that I would have recognized.

    It was still fun for me from a nostalgia perspective, and it’s not like it was bad. But I remember when he (and I) were 19 and there was so much buzz in Minneapolis about this amazing new artist. His career may have lived up to that expectation, but this particular show didn’t.

  6. MsPetey

    I thought it was over on Apr 23rd once the spot operators came down the ladders as well, but it wasn’t and it wasn’t over on May 7th either once they came down. He & Sheila E came back for a 15 min Glamorous Life…….AWESOME! Watch “Security”, if they aren’t telling folk to leave, it’s safe to assume, he will be back to the stage.

    • Hopefully I might get a chance to go back and see another show before the run is over. We’ll see if I can work it out somehow. I’d be really interested in seeing how different the show would be.

      Thanks for the comments and info about later shows.

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