Oh yes indeed he did.
For three hours I stood not more than thirty feet from the stage at Paisley Park as Prince put on a truly stupendous display of guitar genius and breathtaking showmanship. He literally didn't set his guitar down all night--unless it was to change to a different one for another soaring, seemingly effortless solo.
Over the course of three hours, the crowd of several hundred was treated to countless gems from Prince's vast back catalog. Even the venerable 1999, ostensibly retired ten years ago, got the full treatment, right down to the "Mommy, why does everybody have a bomb?" line. I was delirious. (Pun intended.)
There were covers aplenty, too, including the rather touching inclusion of Dancin' Machine and Shake your Body Down to the Ground, by the Jacksons. Prince never explicitly addressed Michael Jackson's death, but in all the times I've seen the purple one in concert since the '80s, this was the first-ever Jackson cover I'd heard. It was a clear tip of the hat to a departed peer.
In the last hour of the show, Prince burned a swath through numerous tunes he'd written for his proteges over the years, including Sheila E's The Glamorous Life, as well as The Time's big hits, Cool, The Bird, and Jungle Love ("I've been waiting to bust this one out all night," he announced with glee. "I wrote 'em all, I might as well play 'em!"
It was hard to keep count, but Prince played close to forty songs. My feet were killing me by the end of the night. (Speaking of feet--Prince wasn't wearing his trademark high heels, opting instead for somewhat more restrained platform flats(!)--with blinking LED lights in the heels.)
Some highlights of the night:
- Controversy, played all the way through from start to finish, including the "People call me rude, I wish were all were nude" chant.
- Anotherloverholeinyohead, played 1.5 times (He stopped half way through the first time and declared "I love this song so much, I need another guitar to solo on. We're startin' over."
- Kiss, somehow--impossibly--reworked to make it even funkier than I've ever heard it before--"Yup, it's remixed. I'm so funky I can't even sleep with myself!"
- Forever in my Life (one of two times when I cried. Yes, I'm a big emotional girly-man, and some of these songs really pushed buttons.)
- Sometimes it Snows in April (the other time I cried)
- Mountains (with Prince singing the horn parts, since there was no horn section)
- Let's Work, tight and fierce as never before
- Uptown (very old school, and delightfully unexpected)
- The hot 20 year old guy in front of me who gyrated his pert bum into my crotch for a good 90 minutes of the show. (It was very close quarters.) But, hey, if he didn't mind a bit of frotage, neither did I. Besides, his girlfriend got to dance on stage with Prince--the poor lad had to have someone to keep him company, right...?
It was, in short, the best concert I have ever attended, and easily one of the most memorable nights of my life.
Now I'm forever spoiled--no stadium performance will ever measure up to those three incredible hours at Paisley Park.
Not bad for $31.21 a ticket...
PS. No, I did not take the picture above. No cell phones were allowed into the building. This shot was taken at a show in Paris last week. But you get the idea.