Prince with Graham Central Station

I stopped listening to Prince just after the Batman album (which I think is one of his best works). It wasn't because his music changed, but because my tastes did. I realised there was more to music than the Billboard Top 40 and the Grammy winners, and so I generally stopped listening to mainstream acts.

However, I've always thought of Prince as a great musician and I couldn't pass up an opportunity to see him live at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, CA. And it wasn't The Artist who I went to see, but Prince, and I wanted him to play all the old tunes I was familiar with. For the most part, I wasn't disappointed. Judging by the crowd's response, most of them came for the same reason.

There was a stand-up comedian who opened for Prince, who had his moments. He was followed by the band Graham Central Station, a funk band, who also had some moments, but they were few and far between.

Prince put on a great show, complete with an amazing light display, and energetic dancing. It was hard for me to believe that he was the same shy person I had seen during interviews, prancing about on the stage.

The songs played included Purple Rain, Red Corvette, Raspberry Beret, Darling Nikki, I would Die 4 U, Take Me with U, Scandalous, and Diamonds and Pearls. One slight disappointment was the fact that most of the old tunes were played as medleys and never in full, but the positive spin on that is the whole concert came off as one extended jam session. Notable exceptions to this set were Let's Go Crazy and When Doves Cry. A new tune called Mad Sex was also played. The highlight of the show was when Prince would sit down at a piano and play minimalistic versions of his popular songs.

This was a show designed to please both old and new fans. I highly recommend it if you belong in either category.

Music ramblings || Ram Samudrala || || January 22, 1998