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A Case of an Electric Night as Prince & 3rdEyeGirl play the Roundhouse in London

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 will never forget.  I love to see other people having that moment.  And actually sometimes it isn't their first time - it's their 5th or 15th or 50th but it was unique and made their jaw drop.  The fact that Prince has been able to keep this song sounding so fresh, connecting it emotionally with new and old audiences night after night all these years is an incredible accomplishment.  And having said all that, it was a night of surprises as well.  It was an incredible night.

The Roundhouse is one of my favourite venues in London.  There's just something about it.  The architecture, the history, the legends that have played there.  In many ways it was the venue that drew me into these gigs.  I'd already decided that enough was enough on this particular tour, but having vaguely read / tried not to read about that amazing show at Botanique and not reading setlists from the Paris shows, something clicked when my friend that works at the Roundhouse gave me the news.  I new I HAD to be there.

If you've been following the setlists for these shows, you already know the first part.  Prince and the entire crew looked in high spirits, Donna was smiling as they rocked the crowd with Let's Go Crazy and. Take Me With U.  It was party time.  Everyone around me was loving it, it was party time and our Prince was back in London, where he belongs! (Sorry rest of the world!).  My favourite part of the "standard" setlist is COOL.  I don't think I could get tired of that song - it's just so fun and everyone seemed to love it and get into it even if it wasn't familiar to them.

I was talking to someone that hadn't got a chance to see him yet this year and was hoping to hear the hits and they were unfurled one after another like a pro boxer beating his opponent into submission.  In an age of musical acts that might have 1 or 2 really popular hits, Prince stands as a reminder of a different time.

There were some magical moments in this show.  There were glimpses in Little Red Corvette, with some fresh playful lyrics thrown in that I had not heard before ("everything's big about U, your eyes, your appetite, your....).  Then I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man.  I absolutely loved it when I heard 3rdEyeGirl's reinterpretation of this classic at the Electric Ballroom back in February.  Donna's guitar work takes this song somewhere else and it was another amazing performance last night.

Then Prince took to the keys for Diamonds and Pearls, The Beautiful Ones - standard stuff so far, them a taste of Do Me Baby which made everyone go mad.  Prince seemed to be enjoying the audience reaction to the various snippets he was playing.  But then he pulled out of his pocket an instrumental version of Under the Cherry Moon that was beautiful and reminded us all just what this man can do - just him at the piano.  And then, the highlight for me - A Case of U. Similar in style to when I saw him perform it back in the Gold Experience tours, rather than his studio version.  It was just incredible - looking around I saw several people looking exactly how I felt - this is what we came here for!

The Love we Make seems to go down really well but then we were into an incredible home straight. Purple Rain!  It started on the keys and Prince seemed to be completely connected to the whole audience, who went crazy as part way through the song he walked over to pick up his guitar and started some bluesy guitar riffs, that I'd never heard on Purple Rain.  the whole band seemed to be doing things differently to usual - Prince was somewhere else and was taking us with him - that guitar solo was something else and when he eventually came back to the vocal it felt like each and every person in that room was in the same headspace.  Mind. Blown. Again!
For an encore She's Always in my Hair then The Max was awesome and had the whole place going crazy.  Another moment that I loved - was Cassie throwing in a bit of The key parts for Lovesexy.  I think it might have been on 1999, but not sure.

Overall, a great gig, amazing venue and I was in a bit if a daze - but ready for show 2......

More to follow.....


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