Three hours into our five hour vigil queuing for Prince tickets outside the O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire we pondered the question: ‘which other musician would we queue in the freezing cold to get tickets for?’
Err, Um...After much contemplation we basically failed to think of anyone else who we'd want to give up a Sunday for. David Bowie perhaps? Fleetwood Mac maybe? Neither seemed likely to embark on something as brazenly improvised as what he's done in his appropriately titled Hit And Run tour. And why did we do it? Because in a world of predictability and robotic showmanship at a Prince gig you can expect the unexpected. Here are our top 5 highlights...
1) She’s Always In My Hair
This b-side from 1985 has recently been resurrected for Prince’s live shows and we were reminded of how much we loved it in the first place. 3rdeyegirl slowed the song right down, adding an edge of hard rock sheen but keeping the wonderful riff in place. Blissful.
2) How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore?/Purple Rain/ Diamonds And Pearls/Adore/ The Beautiful Ones/Do Me, Baby
Prince’s second encore compromised a wonderful piano medley which featured some of his biggest slowies, starting with 1982’s 1999 b-side 'How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore' (memorably covered by Alicia Keys) through to 'Purple Rain' classic 'The Beautiful Ones' and 'Controversy' smoothie 'Do Me, Baby'. This mini set was and evening's emotional highlight.
3) The Talkie Bits
The rumour spread that tickets were going for £70 but the Chinese Whispers in the queue revealed that it would actually be… only one crisp tenner. Prince commented “that’s how much we used to pay for concerts when I was a kid.” Hurrah for recession proof rock legends! Meanwhile before the gig had even began 3rdeyegirl drummer Hannah Welton asked to audience: “we want to ask you one simple favour no phones or cameras.” Cue a blissfully technology free gig experience. A double win for those of us who were living in 1972 then.
4) Something In The Water Does Not Compute
One of our favourite songs from 1999 is this dark ode to a difficult girlfriend so we were happy when Prince reached deep into his purple vault to resurrect this number. Like 'She’s Always In My Hair', it had been shorn of its electronic framework and slowed down to create a troubled, bluesy jam. Amazing.
5) Forever In My Life
At the height of prolific 80s period, Prince dumped a triple album ‘Crystal Ball’ in favour of a lowly double album, the career-peaking ‘Sign O The Times’. Last night we heard snatches of 'When Doves Cry', 'Sign O The Times', his duet with Sheila E ‘A Love Bizarre’ and Vanity 6’s ‘Nasty Girl’ but it was this cut from SOTT that was extra, extra special.