Sometime ago I wrote that if I ever got a time machine I would immediately head back to 1995 and the March 26th show a Paradiso. Mr Herman Hagen very kindly contacted me, and said that if this whole crazy time machine notion ever played out I should say hello to him on the 26th. He would be easy to find- having a black eye from one of Mayte’s boots from the show on the 25th. So here I am with a recording of the 25th in my hand, already to give it a listen. Obviously I will not to hear the moment when Mayte stage dives and catches Mr Hagen in the eye, but at least I can hear the show and be with Herman in spirit if not in body, after all I am still some way off from completing my time machine.
25th March, 1995, Paradiso Amsterdam
“Go Michael, Go Michael” is a great way to start the show, and Michael B does come to the party with solid pound to introduce the band and the music. The recording isn’t too bad, and you can pick up the party atmosphere of the show right away. Prince has the crowd on has side right from the get go, having them sing along with him throughout Funky. It’s hard not to like it, and I do feel as if I am there as the crowd cheers and chants their way through the song. It’s no surprise that there is something for everyone in this first song, Mr Hayes adds his depth to it, and Prince throws in some funky guitar mid-song before indulging is some fast solos near the end. We are off to a fine start, and the band is feeling hot right from the first note.
The last few months I have written of my growing appreciation of 18 And Over, and here is no different. Prince dwells on the chorus this time, and obviously is getting a lot of enjoyment from having the crowd sing it back to him. The house is empty so I happily sing along, safe in the knowledge that my partner is going to walk in and quiz me on the questionable lyrics. Tommy plays a light sounding piano solo, unfortunately the recording is quiet at this moment, so I don’t enjoy it as much as I should. The long guitar break from Prince has me closing my eyes in enjoyment, not a loud rock solo, but a more measured and beautiful sounding break that well suits the late night vibe of the song. The song ends on a crowd pleasing high and they happily sing the chorus under Princes guidance.
Now is much deeper sounding, and more chaotic to boot. It’s not as fast as it is on record, and for me it at times lacks a spark. The best moments for me are the chorus and the ever present Morris Hayes. For the longest time I don’t feel it, but eventually Prince and the band do get to me, and there is some hand clapping and a passionate howl from Prince that has me completely sold on it. The song becomes the inevitable jam with a chant of “go Michael, go Michael” leading us into new territory. There is some popping bass to enjoy as the song slows and spins. There is a jam to the end with that is OK to me, although I feel I’m not getting the full experience listening to the audience recording. It’s something that needs to be heard live rather than a recording of.
I Believe In You was a staple in the setlist at the time, and although I do like the squelchy bass I am not really feeling the rest of the song tonight. There is a guitar break by Prince, rather pedestrian by his standards and even as it shimmers and shakes I still don’t get that spark of energy. It’s the second shortest song of the evening however and as it finishes I look forward to returning to the jams.
But first we get hi-tempo Proud Mary, with plenty of guitar runs from Prince. Its kept to the point, and introduction verse and chorus, then a minute of Princes soloing before a return to the chorus as the song finishes with a final burst from Prince. It’s all very sharp and not a note is wasted. It wraps up this burst of shorter songs and now we do indeed return to the longer jam.
And when I say longer jams The Ride is one of the first ones I think of. The rendition here is exactly as you might expect, after a smoky start Prince and his guitar ramp up, and as he finishes his solo the crowd gives a very appreciative cheer. I can hear why too, Prince plays expressively and passionately, while all the time there is the feeling that he is steadily in control. Everything is in its place, and as it should be. A great late night burner, Prince once again delivers with The Ride.
Glam Slam Boogie comes up next, and for the first time I think of the word groove. It does have a groove to it, and I easily bob along to it, as well as sing along with the crowd and their “ow we oh”. The guitar takes a back seat for a while and we have a couple of cool sounding keyboard breaks, something a bit different to break it up. It’s so easy sounding, and is a delight to listen to, I find it very uplifting as it plays. It could have been another 10 minute jam, but Prince and the band wrap it up in half that time, a shame as I was quite happy chilling out to this one, Mayte’s tambourine solo being a definite highlight.
Days Of Wild has a different sound to it, it’s not as aggressive sounding, although it is more in tune with what we have heard already, and more laid back in sound. I still like Princes lyrics, even if he’s not spitting them hard. Even the singing of the crowd of “these are the days, these are the days” sounds somewhat muted. The bass starts rolling fast as we get a segue into Hair for a verse before the hook of Days Of Wild returns again with new enthusiasm. The crowd is much more into at this stage, and the singing returns with more vim and vigour. A final burst from Prince and the band finishes the song on a high after a slow start.
From one wild song to another as Prince next kicks off Get Wild. Its a great performance, and to be honest I forget to write for the first couple of minutes as I listen intently. The vocals are catchy and infectious, and Maytes input is equally fun. The party sounds full in effect now, and I could easily see myself bouncing along to this song. The crowd adds a fast soul clap to the proceedings as Prince introduces us to the “play the motherfuckin bass” chant. I want to chant along to as the band is on fire at this stage and there is plenty of intensity to the song and performance. The band do sound as if they are getting wild, and I love that the performance and music match the lyrics. Each band member takes their turn to get wild, all of them add something to the song- I can hear the wildness coming out of the speakers at me. The soul clap comes down like rain, the crowd staying involved to the end with their singing and chanting, especially as Prince begins to sing “The roof is on fire” It becomes a jam that sounds as if it might go for ever, guitar comes and goes, as does singing and chanting, the occasional chorus and some cool sounding keyboards. Things sharpens near the end of the song with a guitar break from Prince before the groove tightens right up for the end. It’s only fitting that the “ow we oh” chant carries us through to a final roll from Michael B and the finish of the show.
I have listened to a lot of shows from 1995 in the last six months, and I think I may have reached saturation point. This show was funky, and the band was exceptional and tight. For all that though, I never quite warmed to it, even though it ticked many boxes of what I look for. Like I said, I have listened to plenty of shows like this in the last six months, and I think I am ready for something new. Sorry Herman, if I do ever finish that time machine I will buy you a beer at the show on the 26th, but don’t expect to see me on the 25th.
Thanks for reading, I have been very run down and sick for the last couple of weeks, and I think you can see that in the way I write. I’ll be back next week, back at full power and full of the joy of life