Sunday, April 24, 2011

PRINCE: WELCOME 2 AMERICA CONCERT


As he did at Madison Square Garden in New York last December, Prince is now in Los Angeles performing a multi-night run at The Forum with his "Welcome 2 America" tour which I saw April 22nd..

On a large, lighted stage that was in the shape of the symbol when he was known as "The Artist Formerly Known As Prince", The Purple One made his entrance rising from the middle of the structure, wearing one of his over-the-top, trademark suits, where he performed the first song with all of the lights up.

I was not familiar with this song, (it might have been "Welcome 2 America", the song that he opened the New York shows with) in fact, I didn't recognize the next three songs he performed as they were probably newer material but it could have also been because The Forum's sound system is so awful that it made the music sound muddy and unrecognizable. If this venue wants to continue booking music events, they really need to invest in an updated sound system.


Photo: Dean Decent
The song that I finally knew was, "She's Always In My Hair [12" Version]", an unusual choice since this was the b-side of the single to his hit song, "Raspberry Beret" (which he played later) but since he had no new record to promote, it was clear that Prince was going to be adventurous and play whatever interested him. He continued on with some interesting and inspired musical choices that included his version of  Kool & The Gang's "Hollywood Swinging" and The Time's "Cool" where Prince brought on stage actor, Cuba Gooding, Jr and I think, Nicole Schertzinger of  The Pussycat Dolls to dance with the band during the number.

Prince soon arrived with a collection of his own hit songs; "When Doves Cry", "Cream", "Controversy (LP Version)" and "U Got The Look". He began playing on the piano, singing "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore (LP Version)" when he is joined on stage by Alicia Keys where they perform a sizzling duet.

Since Prince has become a Jehovah's Witness, he has stated that he will no longer perform any of sexually-oriented material but that didn't stop him from teasing the audience by playing musical snippets of  "Darling Nikki" and Vanity 6's "Nasty Girl" but he just shook his head.

After his third encore of a soaring version of "Purple Rain", the lights of the theater came up, so we chose to leave after having a hot, sweaty funky good time. It is entirely possible that Prince may have returned to the stage to play some more as people were staying put, screaming for more.

Here are some of the nastier stuff I wish he had played:

Dirty Mind - Prince (1980)

Lady Cab Driver - Prince (1983)

Erotic City - Prince (1983)

Gett Off - Prince (1991)

ABSENT FACES IN POP MUSIC

I had read a interesting article recently in the Los Angeles Times about the difficulties of a new generation of Black female singers being...