London Retroperspektive

I’ve seen the Future and it will b – das alles hab ich vor langer Zeit, wie eben jüngst erlebt – auf den Spuren des Purpuren 😉

Gestern Abend hab ich nochmals einen weiteren Spinner Ausflug nach London in Betracht gezogen – mit meinem Kumpel *R* – nachdem wir von den letzten Aftergigs und deren Brillanz erfahren haben (> 2,5 Std.) es wäre also noch möglich gewesen ein Ticket für die kommende Sonntag Aftershow zu ergattern, ebenfalls hätten wir einen Flug via Swiss direkt ins Center von London gefunden – das Hotel hätten wir uns gespart, trotzdem wäre der Trip je nach Spieldauer pro Minute wohl um die 5 Fr. gekommen – in Anbetracht des ausgeabefreudigen Jahres 2007 – und der Tatsache, dass man Top Erlebnisse i.d.R. nicht mehr übertreffen kann, oder zumindest herausfordern sollte (was, wenn er dann nicht spielt?!) und in Anbetracht purer Vernuft haben wir uns von diesem erneuten „funky Trip“ verabschiedet – und behalten bisher Erlebtes in bester Erinnerung – wenn gleich gilt: it ain’t over and keep the funk alive!

auf den Spuren seiner Geburtsstätte in Minneapolis/Minnesota USA:

jüngster Groove in Montreux, am Jazzfestival diesen Sommer, die Menge in voller Erwartung hoffend auf die Aftershow in der Jazzcuisine:

02 Arena in Greenwich, London, Arrival @ the Hall:

ein Blick in die Hallen des o2:

aus der Mainhalle der 02 Arena (Millenium Dome) den Ausgang suchend:

und ein kurzes Mini Snippet einer Aftershow aus dem legendären Indigo, in bester Latino, bzw. Santana Manier:

4 any other NEWS , check the Morning Papers… (offical Video from 1992!)

and 2 finish this: a very nice review of an American Journalist, and it goes like this:

It’s easy to get yourself so worked up about a gig that you can’t possibly enjoy it, and on its face, flying 3,800 miles to see one sounds like a surefire way to achieve that. Another is having legions of casual fans — not even devotees — claim that Prince gives one of the best live shows on earth. After Prince announced that he’d be doing 21 gigs in London before hanging up his symbol-shaped guitar to go “study the bible” (sadly that’s not a euphemism for anything), I booked my flight, with the lingering fear that it would all add up: best show of a lifetime and, if his word is to be believed, never to be repeated; trans-Atlantic travel; thwarted ambitions finally realized. My Prince odyssey threatened to be crushed under the 500-pound-gorilla-like expectations I might have put on it.

Um, no. You know what else is a greatly anticipated event? Christmas morning, and you don’t see a lot of kids sitting around saying “yeah it was alright but even though I begged for it for six months, I don’t think the G.I. Joe Command Centre really could have lived up to what I had been imagining.” Only a nutcase who believes that Prince leaves certain songs out of his setlists just to torture them could have been disappointed in the close to two hours of hits that he dished out to a packed and deeply appreciative arena just outside London.

The synth refrain from “1999″ hit us at brain-melting volume, which is the only plausible explanation I’ve come up with for the ensuing pandemonium from all 20 or so thousand party people — from across Europe — who packed the arena. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought a London holiday with a Prince show as the cherry on top was a fine reason to leave our respective countries, though luckily singing the end bits in “Purple Rain” transcend language. Somehow he ran down my mental checklist of songs to hear — we danced, we clapped, we screamed like a planeload of people watching Hostel 2.

He took the stage in a white jumpsuit that was slightly fat-Elvis-esque, not that he was in any way rounding at the middle — as always, the Purple one remains visibly ageless. James Brown remains an inspiration, whether he was spinning around and dropping into a crouch just like the master, or giving ex-JBs sax vet Maceo Parker ample space to stretch out on songs such as “Musicology” (complete with cameo appearance by Will.I.Am, though I was having so much fun I couldn’t be bothered to boo him — a lapse regular readers may never forgive) and the downright reverent slow blues of “Satisfied.” You got the sense that Prince’s funk homage isn’t necessarily born out of his becoming more conservative; sure, covering Wild Cherry’s “Play That Funky Music” isn’t exactly radical from the man who expanded the limits of black pop in the ’80s, but “Controversy” and even “Black Sweat” got loose-limbed full band reworkings that just showed how although the studio versions’ drum-machine-driven stiffness broke with what revisionists consider pure funk, they were just as steeped in it.

No, he didn’t do too many new songs — in fact, the only number from his latest disc that I recall was “Guitar,” which fit nicely with the likes of “Take Me With U” and “Cream.” It could have been written in 1987. (Maybe it was.). And no, he didn’t play his filthiest material, though he did tease the crowd with the intros of “Erotic City” and even “Head” during one of two solo keyboard medleys. The first saw him demonstrating his prodigious piano skills on ballads such as “Diamonds and Pearls” and “Strange Relationship”; the second, which came in the encore, seemed like a tacit acknowledgement that some songs are better as studio creations, with Prince singing over triggered samples of the backing tracks for Made-In-The-’80s classics “When Doves Cry” and “Sign O’ The Times.” For someone who’s so often accused of capricious attitudes towards how his fans ought to receive his music, it was surprisingly self-aware. He knows how to give the people what they want, ending the set proper with a blissful (is there any other kind?) rendition of “Purple Rain” and later, finishing the encore with “Let’s Go Crazy” in all its euphoria.

I wasn’t a Prince fan and in fact couldn’t see what the fuss was all about up until about five years ago, but I’m glad I clued in. If I hadn’t, I would have missed a performer who enscapulates most of what I love about 20th century popular music: virtuosity, recognizing the importance of a great song and having an endless reservoir of style. Hip-hop culture is a radical break that needed to happen, and it is swelling to encompass all the creativity that the pre-hip-hop culture still tries to exclusively claim. But Prince might be the last giant link to what came before, and even if he’s not, he’s still the best performer I’ve ever seen. Yada yada yada genius genius genius. Sorry, excuse the hyperbole — I’m a believer now.



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