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    Prince is a God among men.  A transient, omnipotent force of musical ingénue, the likes of which the world had never seen before and will never see again.  Some form of lower deity that got cast-off to Earth 35 years ago, and has been singing his way back to heaven with each passing album.

    Needless to say, I respect Prince.  Perhaps, I have a more inflated sense of Prince than what Prince has of himself.  Which is exactly why I had to take the opportunity to see Prince last night at The Palace Theater when the opportunity posed itself.

    My primary (and only) complaint was the brief 90 minute set.  But if I’m honest with myself, had he played for 4 hours, I would still complain that it was too short, so I’m not sure the complaint is valid.  But it does indicate that they probably should have stretched the stand out to one show a night for four nights, instead of cramming four shows into two nights.  It just felt a little rushed and a little cramped.

    But that’s all I’ve got in the negative column.

    Inside it was packed, the sold-out theater was dense with body heat and the musical chakra coming from everyone on-stage was virtually overwhelming.  Prince himself was decked out casually in black and gold, sporting the new-ish afro that has left its thumbprint all over his latest album cycle.  He danced and shook all over the stage with a level of boyish energy I never would have expected the often regal and reserved Prince to muster.  But the finer tipped moments were when he picked up a guitar or hit his signature, and oh so familiar, falsetto; which gave me nostalgic chills every time it happened.

    The set mostly played like a long strung out medley of hits, with no real down time of silence between songs; and for being the first show of the tour, the band was surprisingly tight and on-point.   The intricate, non-linear, transitions between songs fell mostly on the back of drummer, and Louisville native Hannah Ford, who proved herself in my mind as dethroning Prince’s own Sheila E. for the title of greatest female drummer of all time.  As the guy whose eyes roll at concerts when the band goes into a drum solo, I can say confidently that Ford’s was something to behold.  It was never trite, overwrought, or over-extended, it was just enough to explain (as though she needed to) why she is up there with Prince.  Ford, along with the other members of 3rdeyegirl, bassist Ida Kristine Nielson and guitarist Donna Grantis have immutable chemistry, as well.  And Grantis spent all night on-stage holding her own, note-for-note, next to Prince, who himself is under-appreciated as one of the great guitar players on the planet.

    “That’s all well and good, but what did he play?”  You may be asking yourself.

    Well, it is called “The Hit and Run Tour” for a reason, all killer no filler, a nothing but hits show.  He tore through nearly 20 songs in the 90 minutes we had; all of them classic, “1999,” “Little Red Corvette,” “When Doves Cry,” “Nothing Compares 2 U,” “Kiss,”  “Purple Rain” on and on it went, with just hit after hit after hit.  You couldn’t have gone to a Prince show and asked for more if you wanted to – although “Raspberry Beret” was curiously missing from this set of classics. 

    And again, as one that has been a Prince fan since I was 12 years old there was more I would like to have seen, but then I’m being greedy.  “Jam of the Year” from 1996’s Emancipation, would’ve been cool; or “7” from 1992’s (Love Symbol Album) would have been epic; and maybe the title track from 1991’s Diamonds and Pearls would’ve been a nice accent piece.  But who am I to tell Prince what I want?  He knows what’s good for me better than I do, so I’ll reserve my complaints.

    I guess in the end I can say I wanted more, I wanted longer, I didn’t want to leave.  I wanted to stay at the best party in town with the best house band in the world all night.  It was all over too soon, but then again, isn’t that the sign of a truly great show?

    Always leave them wanting more…

    Brent Owen's picture

    About Brent Owen

    Born and raised in Louisville, I have lived here most of my life (except during a short furlough, when I, lovelorn and naive, followed a girl to Baton Rouge). My roots are here, my family, my friends, and my life are all here. I work primarily as a free-lance writer for a few local and regional publications. I have also written two books (one a memoir, the other a novel) that barring some divine intervention, will probably never see the light of day. I find myself deeply ingrained in the local bar scene, or perhaps better said, I often indulge in the local drinking culture. I love music, movies, comedy, and really just about any other live performance art.

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