The Greatest Show on Earth from Stu, 24/05/14
I last saw Prince perform live over 20 years ago, and have been an fan of his for some 30 years now. While he still has his moments in the studio, its true to say I havent gotten really excited about a new Prince project for a very long time; so as it has seemed to me for over a decade that Prince was past his best as a recording artist, I probably didnt have quite the same expectations of his live show as I did back in the day when I used to go see him live.
However, to say he was even better live this time than he was the last time I saw him would be the under statement of the year. He sang, played and commanded his audience so much better than he did back in the late 80s/early 90s. His guitar work was simply stunning, with solos that actually had melody and structure to them, while still seeming spontaneous and in the moment.
His vocal work was a revelation. Ive never heard Prince sing so well... even on record. There was pitch, power and a mind blowing variety of vocal styles, all carried off with a playful smile and an ease that reminded me just how good this guy REALLY is when hes in the mood.
3rd Eye Girl were an excellent band too. Tight, lean and funky, those girls played it just right and complimented Prince perfectly.
One of the great joys for me, apart from seeing how much Prince actually seemed to be enjoying himself (not always the case when Ive seen him live), was the set list. There was just the right balance of material to please everyone, from the 30+ year veteran fans, to those who know Prince only by a smattering of his 80s hits, and everyone in between.
Because Prince hasnt set the charts alight in the 21st century, its easy to forget just how incredible his back catalogue is. For all the hits he played (Yall know how many hits he has, right), and there were many; I worked out the morning after that he failed to play at least SEVEN of his U.K Top 10 singles, including his only number one.... and as far as I can work out, he didnt play in full, one single song from ANY of his 5 U.K Number One albums!!!! Thats amazing, given that casual Prince fans like my wife came out of the concert feeling like theyd just witnessed Prince play all the hits. I think hed need to play for five or six hours straight to accomplish that.
Ive seen a lot of the greats of music history play live, and this show ranked up there with the very best of them. As a showman, to me he has no equal.
As ridiculous as this might sound when talking about an artist who has sold countless tens of millions of records spanning an almost four decade career; and who has won Oscars, Grammys and Golden Globes... Ive always felt that Prince was under rated and less popular/ successful than his talent deserves. There is a generation of people growing up who would barely know who Prince is, and thats a shame; because to me, they are missing out on the greatest showman on earth.
Expensive...yeah. Worth every penny.... absolutely.