I was dreaming when I wrote this, forgive me if it goes astray....
Last night Prince & 3rdEyeGirl performed a benefit gig at the intimate Cafe de Paris in London for a new charity called Autism Rocks, established by Sanjay Shah this year. Some of you may be familiar with this venue as Prince played a gig here back in 1998 with Chaka Khan, which was broadcast on UK television.
DJ Trevor Nelson was warming up the crowd with some slamming tunes as a small number of fans partied in the standing section on the floor and celebrities partied in the discreet balcony area.
Everyone was dressed to impress and in party spirits, as Prince and 3rdEyeGirl took the stage. The venue was so small that there was not enough room on stage for the whole band! Prince, Donna, Hanna and Ida took the stage on the floor and the keys were setup above them in the balcony for Joshua and Cassie.
Prince came out wearing shades and kicked off with Let's Go Crazy and the crowd really did - then straight into Take Me With You - just like on the record - WOW! Prince was smiling and having fun while playing Raspberry Beret, with the whole crowd and balcony area singing along. The sound in the venue was fantastic and Prince's voice was incredible - you could hear every nuance in the way that Prince was improvising and harmonising the vocals.
U Got The Look was another crowd-pleaser, looking around there were so many smiling faces. It was great that the place was filled with so many fans. There was a great party atmosphere and then he killed it with Cool. I love it when Prince goes back and digs out these funky gems. I really hope that we will see remasters of all of the associated artists material as well eventually - but I digress. Cool was incredible. It was relentless - next up was Kiss and again, Prince in playful mood getting everyone to sing along and again his voice sounding incredible.
Next up was the broody The Love We Make. Being able to see every facial expression as Prince poured emotion on this song was like meditation and then Donna came in with that guitar solo and just lifted it even higher.
Then it was back into party mood again as started a funky jam by running up the stairs and joining Joshua and Cassie on the keys for the intro to Musicology. Once the groove was running, cool as you like Prince came half way down the stairs, leaning to the side singing "Heard about party over in London, Prince gonna be there and we gonna have fun". That was super cool. Then Prince called out for the old school in the house on the intro to the funkiest version of Controversy I've ever heard. Watching the interaction between Ida, Hannah, Donna and Prince was awesome. Controversy morphed into Lover Roller coaster, morphed into Play that Funky music which included THE most amazing improvisation of that guitar line from Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic over and over again. We were going crazy. Prince broke the band down and just did that line solo. WOW! Then back into Controversy. 1999 rocked the whole house before they left the stage and the crew rush on to setup Prince's keys for a sampler set.
Prince said 30 years ago, "this was the sound"...When Doves Cry - Damn near the whole thing - teased with a snippet of Nasty Girl and then Hot Thing, again in full. Sign 'O' The Times in full. Time seemed to be just whizzing past. The most joyous rendition of Housequake I've ever experienced - rocked that mutha to the ground. I Would Die For You was just ridiculous - how can it get any better?
Starting on the keys...the opening strains of Purple Rain. The band keeping it going and the crowd starting to sing the refrain as Prince left the stage and the crew made room for some more guitar awesomeness. When Prince came back he poured everything into that guitar. It constantly astounds me how this song can stay so fresh and sound so different. Throughout the guitar solo at the beginning of this performance of Purple Rain, I was just in awe. The whole place was swept up in an incredibly emotional performance. When it ended, I think we were all in shock. At every other gig we would be chanting and calling for more and there was a bit of that. There was also a lot of people looking at each other in disbelief. Were we really just part of that? How on earth does it get better than that.
But that's what Prince does so well and thats why we come back again and again.. Creating unique compelling experiences, each in some way better with different highlights. That's what he does! 3rdEyeGirl are just incredible. Donna's guitar is off the hook, Ida - just so funky! Hannah was killing it at the back there on the drums (there was a great moment of interaction when Prince and Hannah were battling it out when Prince was on the sampler). Josh and Cassie were creating awesome sounds on the keys in true MPLS style. Its a shame on the floor that you couldn't see so much what they were up to, but there impression was most definitely felt and funky.
All of this in aid of a great new charity as well. What a special night. Thank you Prince & 3rdEyeGirl. Thank you Autism Rocks. You can find out more about Autism rocks here.
For those of you going to Leeds and Glasgow - you are going to have an amazing time.