So - a bit like Inception or Pulp Fiction or one of those films that goes out of sequence - I'm going to have to skip ahead a little bit in the story of my visit to Minneapolis, because something amazing just happened....
I just had the most incredible afternoon and evening for lots of reasons.. I was planning an easy day of relaxing and writing when I got an invite from Sara to join her on a trip to her sister's place and we would take in the spot where Take Me With You was filmed and try and find "the lake" where Prince convinced Apollonia to purify herself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka.
I drove up to Sara's place about midday where I was greeted by her enthusiastic dogs and I had a good old look through Sara's amazing vinyl collection while she got ready. We were a little on edge that something might happen that night but nothing had been announced so it was seeming less and less likely.
We headed out and drove into through proper Minnesotan countrys…
On my 9 hour flight to Minneapolis from London, I sat next to a lady who was born and raised in Minnesota. We got chatting about why we were travelling, she told me she had just been over to Ireland to visit family and it was a bitter sweet experience as her grandmother was quite old now. When I told her that I was making my journey in the hope of seeing Prince she laughed.
A peer of Prince (she was around the same age) and a teacher in North Minneapolis most of her life, she had the view that Prince thought a lot of himself and mentioned the whole name changing thing and that he should do more for charity, especially to help the schools of North Minneapolis, which she was very passionate about and said need a lot of help. Her school had been doing really well in a deprived area and the school had been shutdown because the local council wanted the land to build new offices. We talked a lot about these issues and it was interesting to hear from her about the way that schools work…
I'm setting out on what a lot of Prince fans might consider the journey of a lifetime. Certainly for me it's been a dream for a very long time. I remember hearing about the celebrations at Paisley Park many years ago, when Prince through the gates of The Park open to fans for days on end with a festival of gigs by Prince and artists that he'd worked with or admired. I wished I could've been there and looked back thinking - how did I miss that??
This year has been a great year to be a Prince fan in London. We've been treated to two tours - one in small venues with all of the excitement of last minute announcements and then a stadium tour. Two new albums and a glimpse of even more exciting music yet to come from NPG Quartet and other Prince and 3rd Eye Girl projects.
Its easy to let the idea of a trip like this stay a dream. I'm writing this as a kind of diary but also to share my experiences and maybe as you read this you might be moved to make your dream …
Laura Mvula has been gathering acclaim since her debut, nominated for an Ivor Novello, three BRIT awards and the Mercury Prize. If you don't know who she is, the chances are you already know a couple of her songs. Prince apparently was playing her record before going on stage during the Hit and Run shows earlier this year and he invited her to open up for him at the second night he did at the Birmingham LG Arena.
This show was part of the Late Night series of the BBC Proms, which are largely classical music with the late night slots picked up by "contemporary" artists doing something a bit different to fit in with the Proms. In this case, Laura teamed up with the Metrepole Orkest and composer Jules Buckley.
Laura's music already had orchestral leanings, being classically trained her first album uses real instruments but in a somewhat sparse arrangement. Laura has said that working with this 80 piece orchestra "brings these songs to their full potential&quo…
Prince is well known for his last-minute jams - but last night was really tight. I think at most about 4 hours notice of a mysterious SuperMoon jam at Paisley Park. Then 2 hours later the flyer above went out via @NPGOFFICIAL and @3RDEYEGIRL.
Looking at the list of musicians and after seeing the livestream just a couple of weeks ago of what this band can do - If there was a way to get there - I would've been there in a heartbeat. (Catchup with the session here)
Here is the first report that I could find online of what went down last night....
"Tonight's event was held in the Love 4 One Another room. It started out with DJ, old school music. Then Marcus Anderson, John Blackwell, Andrew Gouche, and Xavier Taplin took the stage and played a jazz session. Prince was standing off to the left of the stage. They said it was all new songs that they had created the last 2 weeks. There were probably about 150 people there. After that set was …
Last night was the first of what appears to be 2 listening parties held at Paisley park this weekend. From the sounds of it there were at least 2 groups that were select by the girls in the group. They were led into Studio B, the same place that the last listening party took place.
Apparently there were 6 tracks played. Here is an incomplete list of the tracks played via @Baron3121
One of those tracks featuring Hannah on vocals may be the song "White Caps" which was previously described as a duet with Joshua Welton.
Its difficult to piece together exactly what went down from all the tweets that came out. Separating the true funk soldiers from the fantasists :P U know who U are ;) Thanks to @PrinceWatchUK for helping to filter. There were mentions of Lianne La Havas possibly being attendance. Update - confirmed by retweet by @3RDEYEGIRL. Below are some quotes of the most vivid descriptions of what went down last night.
Tracks have been described as Heavy, Rocky, J…
I've always loved great music - all different sorts! Here's a mix that I put together quite a few years back. I guess at this point some might call it Old Skool - but that has a whole different meaning for me! You'll find some Mint Condition, Maxwell, Some Big Daddy Kane,and Zapp! - hope you enjoy it :) .
It's been a long time since I've seen Mr Hudson perform. I think maybe even back at the iTunes festival when Kanye West came out and joined him on the stage of the Roundhouse. A lot has happened since then, and when I heard that he was going to be playing at the 100 Club - I was surprised and pleased to be able to see him play such a small venue again.
I guess I've been a bit out of the loop on Mr H for a minute. Over the last 12 months or so, I'd heard a couple of new tracks Fred Astaire and Step into the Shadows - both very different. I was intrigued that Mr H was still making exciting and challenging music, wondering when an album would come out etc.
A big surprise to me and a really nice surprise was to see that Joy was playing with Mr H again. They're vocals go so well together - I just love that sound from the first album. The gig was incredible, hitting the old tunes in different ways, peppered throughout with new material and introducing new band mem…
Jon Bream appeared on local Minnesota radio station WCCO News Talk, to discuss his experience visiting Paisley Park at the weekend and hearing new tracks from another new Prince album. If you're not keeping up, this is separate from the previously touted 3rdEyeGirl record, Plectrum Electrum.
Bream was called by Paisley Park whilst working elsewhere and summoned to checkout some new music by Prince. Bream writes for the Star Tribune, Minneapolis and has covered Prince's career since it began - they have a long history together. Bream captured the amazing atmosphere around the Gold Tour in the liner notes to The Gold Experience album. So it was not so unusual for Prince to call Jon up to check this stuff out. Bream describes a relationship of mutual respect between him and Prince.
Bream describes being taken into Studio B at Paisley Park by staff, with one other reporter, where the band and tour manager were waiting. Prince was not present. He describes listening to two t…
This is not about Prince. It's about someone who has influenced Prince. One of those rare individuals that goes to the well of creativity and comes back with something so unique that it lasts forever and has the power to reach so many people.
I've admired the music of John Coltrane for many years. Until I heard Coltrane I enjoyed the sax, but in a chilled out background music way. There was something in the way that he played those standards that had an edge to it - something different. Overtime, I would visit my local second hand record shop and pick up Coltrane on vinyl for next to nothing. Listening to these albums was a revelation. I'll never forget listening to The European Tour double LP. Hearing songs transformed from pleasant jazz standards, twisted, wrenched and dragged into another dimension.
This is music you either love or hate I think. An acquired taste. One that I acquired and being born too late to see the legend perform I was very glad to be able…
At the Roundhouse Prince played a variant on The Ride (slow, bluesy, guitar based track) with new lyrics. We're referring to it as Butterface....
Lyrics transcript by #JamieStarr1uk
People think they know her
But that really ain’t the case.... (yeah!)
They talk about her private life
They’ve only got just a taste
Dirty Troll?, Scallywag, Jezebel, Disgrace
Call her what you want to
But I call her... Butter Face
Everywhere Butter Face go
She’s the talk of the whole place
She might be a 6 or a 7 (hmmph!)
But I bet you she won’t go to waste!
Everythin’ ‘bout Butter look good
(y’all ain’t heard me)
Everythin’ ‘bout Butter look good
Everythin’ ‘bout Butter look good
But her face!
(y’all know what I’m talkin’ bout – turn it out!)
I’m tellin’ y’all right now
If you see her, just in case
Nobody know where she came from
I’m thinking deep space...!
Whatever’s goin’ on wit Butter
I bet you she don’t go to waste
Cos everythin’ ‘bout Butter look good
But her face!
Report on the Roundhouse show 2 is on its way! In the meantime.....
The aim of this post is to be an uncharacteristically quick description of events last night...
Heard about the private show happening (for those attending the UK premier of the movie Belle) at the Hippodrome, Leicester Square. Site of one of my all time favourite aftershows by the way....
Went down there, thinking - meet up with friends, have a drink, probably no chance of getting in - but would be good to talk outside of zooming around to fan invented aftershow party venues / home after the Roundhouse gig.
Found a small gathering of purple people outside Hippodrome, hoping to somehow get in or see what was happening.
Went for a meal - completely chilled about what was / wasn't going to happen.
The Hippodrome is now a casino. Like all casinos, security is extremely tight because of the money going around etc. As me and Rob walked around the place after our meal - I felt sure that we must've looked like w…
Last night something happened - to me. Maybe it happened to you to? Maybe it happened to you long ago? Transcending the setlist. Revelling in the moment, in the Party, in witnessing this master at work. I'm the guy that loved the Gold Experience tour - when he played no hits. I love hearing what he's doing next and what he's passionate about - wishing he would tour his new albums and really let them out to play. But last night, instead of disappointment at familiar parts of the set - I let go and got swept along for the ride. The familiar parts weren't for me - they were for those coming for the first time and I was happy for them. And strangely, by taking that approach, I found that they were for me as well - just to have fun and relax - safe in the knowledge that Prince had me covered - there would be some gems in there to make it a unique experience. I remember the first time I saw Prince and heard him play Purple Rain live. It's a moment and feeling I…
Imagine you are walking past the back door of your favourite local grimy dive where THE best up and coming bands play. The door has been left ajar and you hear the crashes of drums, strains of hard rocking guitars loosely colliding building an electric tension. You don't know who is about to hit the stage, but there is a palpable tension in the air created just by the sound of this band slinging a guitar strap over their shoulders, stretching their fingers and warming up the drums. This is what the beginning of the album "Suites" by the Donna Grantis Electric Band sounds like.
You run around to get into the venue and as they hit the stage and the band launches into a hard rocking instrumental, reminiscent of some of the greatest moments of Led Zeppelin. A driving rhythm section and wailing guitar that at times soars away, taking your mind with it. This track sounds very familiar to you - is it Prince?
You may have heard this track in a short video quite a while bac…
Here's an insight into what went down in the run up to the Cafe de Paris gig. Thanks to Rob Staples for this report.
Café De Paris – 20th May 2014
Seeing as Marcus has so expertly captured the gig itself,
let me share a bit of my experience about the run up to Tuesday night.... it
was just as exciting as the twitterstorm of Hit & Run I and had a clutch of
hardened Prince fans on edge for a whole week!!
I first heard the remote rumour of a secret gig about a week
before on Wednesday 14th May - a link to
a website had been circulated briefly and then disappeared. The public website
was www.autismrocks.com and had a simple info flash:
Any Prince fan worth their salt sees the words ‘Rock &
Roll Hall of Fame’ and immediately makes a connection with Prince, with him
receiving this legendary title back in 2004. Fans in the know also understand
that Prince’s agent, Kiran Sharma, is a leading light within the British Asian
community and that she is highly committed to fundraising…