As I expected, the Prince concert on Saturday night was smokin' hot, and that was even before the house lights went down.
It was nearly 100 degrees outside when we got to Target Center and learned that, in typical Prince fashion, the show would be starting at least an hour late and the stadium doors were still closed. 15,000 people stood sweltering in their sweat-soaked concert finery as we waited to be herded inside.
Darren, my friends Connie and Dave, and I wandered a few blocks away from the throng and had a couple beers to kill some time. About an hour later we returned and made our way to our seats.
Alas, although my $145 had secured me main floor seating, we were near the back of the hall, and behind many tall people. I spent much of the night on my tiptoes, trying to see a man who's only five foot two. Lesson learned--cheaper tickets can be better tickets. (Thank god for the big overhead video screens and the two raised guitar solo/dancing platforms on either side of the stage.)
The concert finally kicked off at 10:00 (ninety minutes late), and Prince opened with Purple Rain. I've never seen him start a show with that song before. The crowd responded well, but I was happy to get that obligatory number out of the way. As always, he tore it up on the big guitar solo, but that particular hit has bored me since the '80s.
Many brighter gems followed, including Take Me With You, Musicology, Cream, Let's Go Crazy, Kiss, U Got the Look, Little Red Corvette, Black Sweat, I Wanna Be Your Lover, Do Me Baby, Seven, Nothing Compares 2 U, Raspberry Beret, How Come You Don't Call Me Anymore, and If I Was Your Girlfriend. There were several covers, too, including Come Together by the Beatles and Play that Funky Music White Boy, during which Prince invited a portly middle-aged fellow from the crowd up onto the stage to sing lead.
"He looks my high school gym teacher," Prince declared, "Let's see if he can sing!" Oddly enough, the guy did a fine job on vocals, and when Prince launched into a long guitar solo, the "gym teacher" kindly blotted Prince's forehead for him. It was a funny, loose moment that underscored Prince's relaxed, jovial mood throughout the night.
Two huge highlights of the show were the surprise (though rumored) appearances of Prince's longtime collaborators and friends Wendy Melvoin (guitarist in Prince's band The Revolution--"Wendy is the water warm enough?") and the always amazing Sheila E.. Wendy (whose delayed plane was the reason for the late start--Prince had called her in LA that morning and said "Be in Minneapolis tonight.") played with the band throughout much of the show. She and Prince performed an acoustic version of the lovely and melancholy Sometimes it Snows in April that left me in tears. (Hey, it's a sad song, and I'm a sensitive guy.)
Sheila E. didn't make her smashing appearance until the encore. She and Prince performed a sultry version of their big hit A Love Bizarre, and then Miss E. really let loose on The Glamorous Life, which included an extended solo on her timbales and congas that was so ripping, Prince teasingly called out "Hey, whose show is this?"
No matter how long a Prince performance lasts, I'm always crushed when the show ends. We had two and a half great hours of incredible dancing, playing, and singing, but I would have loved hours more.
Yeah, but when? Can't I just go with you?