Sunday, December 19, 2010

Prince @ the Izod Center - December 17th

This ridiculous story starts a month or more ago, when it was brought to my attention that Prince, THE MAN, was performing in the NYC area in December. I was talking to a friend of mine about it, and I said to him, "Yo how am I going to get into the Prince show for free? I really want to go, but there's no way I'm going to be able to afford tickets." At the time all I had was was the thought that I wanted to go, but couldn't pay for it, with no actual plan as to how I was going to do it. That same night, I went home and searched on my computer for free ticket giveaways for the show, and could find none. After a bit of searching I found ONE, so I decided to sign up for it. I figured, what's the big deal, I will just give them my name and number, and if it doesn't work I don't really lose anything by entering. So I sign up and stopped really thinking about it. The Wednesday before the show I get a phone call from the radio station who's website I signed up on, telling me I won a pair of tickets to go see Prince. OH MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! REALLY?! WAIT REALLY?! I was running around for a while, unbelievable!!!! I suppose, it was one of those "thinking it into existence" situations that everyone talks about, or maybe it was just a late birthday present from God, whatever it was, I got to go see Prince for free!!!!

Jazz artist Cassandra Wilson was the opening act, who I'm not very familiar with, but it is Jazz, so at least there's a very good chance that the music is good. Strangely enough, at one point, she sang one of her songs and Prince came out during the performance and they did a duet! Yes that's right, he came out during the opening act to sing a song with Cassandra, when people were still just arriving and the Izod Center was nowhere NEAR being full! It was the first time I've ever seen that happen, but then again, it was the first time I'd ever seen Prince perform. It was actually pretty cool, and then when the song was done, he just walked right off the stage and let her finish her performance!

Next up was Maceo Parker, legendary saxophonist and funk musician, and he defnitely brought the funk with him. He let us know that "This Funk is Off the Hook" while he jammed out with his backing band. Again, weirdly enough, Prince came out again! This time, with one of his guitars in hand, and he rocked out a song with Maceo and the band! It's one thing for him to come out once and jam, but twice?! It was funny to think about the people who showed up after both openers, because by the time they got to their seat Prince had already performed twice!

After the two great openers though, it was Prince time. "Dearly beloved," he said, while the lights were off, and the crowd went wild (me included). Of course, it was Prince time, but more specifically, time for 'Let's Go Crazy!' The stage lit up (it was in the shape of his symbol, and huge) and it was definitely time to go crazy. The thing with Prince is that he does a different show everytime you see him. This means that if you see him perform on a Wednesday, his show will be different from Friday, including the set list. For my show, on Friday, he did just about every song I wanted to hear (The Beautiful Ones, Kiss, Purple Rain, etc.) with the exception of 'I wanna be your Lover' and 'When Doves Cry', those are two of my favorite Prince songs, but, alas, they were not on my night. I didn't care though, because Prince destroyed it.

It was my first time seeing him perform, and luckily for me my seats were facing what would be used as the front of the stage, so he spent most of his time on my side of the arena. He played the piano, he SHREDDED the guitar, and even took some time off from his busy schedule of doing that to bless us with a little old school Prince dance moves. After 'Purple Rain' he made his (first) exit, clearly, daring us to beg him to come back. We obliged. He repaid us by coming back out and singing Kiss. After doing Kiss, he of course left again. We begged, and pleaded, but he didn't return. Instead, out of the mid-stage elevator came the great Sheila E! UNBELIEVABLE! She of course reminded us that she wants to live 'The Glamorous Life', maybe not necessarily Sheila, but someone does! Prince came back out with his guitar in hand, and they called some guys on stage to dance with Sheila (as they did earlier with the ladies, and Prince). Of course, like before, most people were just doing a 2-step, except for this one guy, who did like 4 or 5 jumping splits! I can't blame him, I would have done it too.

While Prince and Sheila performed together, all I was thinking about was how cool it would be if Morris Day and the Time came out and they did their big hit 'Jungle Love'. That didn't happen, but it was like I telepathically told Prince I wanted to hear that song, so he performed them instead! He even did 'The Bird', and the crowd all decided to do the dance along with Prince's back up singers. What an insane show! After that though, Prince made his exit again, and we all screamed and begged him to come back. However this time, the house lights came on, so people thought it was really over. At this point, some people left (as you would guess), and some of the stage crew actually came out to take stuff down. Even I thought it was over, but some of the fans that left were screaming, so I decided, why not? The worst thing that could happen is that he doesn't come back out. Luckily for us though, he did, for curtain call number 3!

He came out and we cheered louder than we did when the place was packed, to which he responded, "I guess they're going to have to kick us out of here!" He told them to leave the house lights on, and he went into a love songs medley (Do Me, Baby, and the like) before making his 3rd exit. The people still in the arena thought, well maybe he will come back out yet again, but this time, the stage crew came out again (for their first curtain call!) and actually started taking stuff down, as opposed to last time. Ah well, I think 3 curtain calls is a fair amount! I also think, this may have been the best show I've been to for the year, and maybe ever. It will take some evaluating, but I won't be surprised if it's number one when it's all said and done. If you are planning on seeing Prince on this tour, you should bring a fresh pair of undies and prepare to be speechless! Let's Go Crazy!!!

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