Wednesday, 29 August 2007

O2 many hits!

Prince @ The O2 Arena, London, Tuesday 29th August

U Got the Look, but Where the Fuck R U?

Walking into the massive 21,000 seater O2 Arena (inside the old Millenium Dome) last night, my first thought was: how on earth am I going to enjoy this? Prince isn't exactly pop's biggest star, literally, and the stage looked like The Borrowers were going to get up and do a turn. Anyhoo, the lights go down and onto the screen come Salma Hayek (!), Pharell Williams, Wendy & Lisa (obv.) and Joni Mitchell (!!!!) to extol the virtues of their pint-sized hero. And then. Up he came from under the stage to the centre of the 'symbol' right into Let's Go Crazy. Almost immediately the distance melted away and it became the biggest, most intimate gig I've ever been too.

It's to Prince's credit that he pulls off the seemingly impossible. He sells out 21 nights of 21,000 bums on seats - all at the democratic price of £31.21. And above all that, he wins over every crowd, every night with a potent mix of solid gold hits and a stage presence most of today's stars can only dream of. The Scissor Sisters, bless 'em, couldn't even make an 8,000 seater Wembley seem intimate, despite their desire to do so, which is why I eschewed a repeat performance here at the O2 in July. But Prince knows how to deliver a show to a massive crowd.

Alongside the fabulous dancing 'twins', he tore up every nook and cranny of the stage in his Cuban heels. The booty shaking, head-nodding and guitar-licking were immediately familiar as his trademark moves in a set littered with hits: U Got the Look, Take Me With U, 1999, Purple Rain, The Most Beautiful Girl in the World. And almost as a snoot to the critics, "I've got TOO MANY hits!", some of his biggest tracks became 2-minute pieces as part of a fabulous solo piano effort which included Raspberry Beret, When Doves Cry, Little Red Corvette, Sign o' the Times and Alphabet St. There were a couple of duff choices for the main set like Black Sweat and, controversially, Controversy - I overheard someone complain about him choosing it over When Doves Cry. But two hours' worth was a right royal buffet!

The Miniscule of Sound in action...

Needless to say, the man knows how to end a show. After appearing through the floor for the fourth time, and for the umpteenth time thanking London for having him he saved the best 'til last: Nothing Compares 2 U. The lovely pissed old gay hippies in front of me only had to hear the words "It's been seven hours..." whereupon, they fell into a heap of purple chiffon, red wine and tears. And then, he too was gone.

Chelsea Rodgers - Prince (mp3 Download): the only track from the new Planet Earth album he played last night that I recognised!


Yuяi said...

Wow..I bet that was a great show! $64 US is not bad at all for a show, especially for one of His Majesty's ilk. I spent more than that on Chris Isaak tickets!! But Chris and Prince are not even in the same musical universe!! :)

Marc said...

Nice to hear someone else has an appreciation for the His Royal Purpleness.

Am v jealous at some of the songs he played on your night. But I really enjoyed controversy. Black Sweat was funny and a bit funky, got in to it towards the end.