First Ave 1982 Revisited

Recently Mace2theO commented that this bootleg from 1982 was the equivalent to his first girlfriend. We all have a similar first girlfriend experience – she may have had braces and carried some puppy fat, but she will always be special by the fact she was the first and painted in nostalgic hues forever more because of this. It was our first proper relationship, and doomed to a crushing teenage ending, but always conjures up warm memories that do not fade as time passes.

I’m sorry Mace2theO, but  in this case your first girlfriend got around a bit. Not only was she your first girlfriend, she was my first girlfriend too. Mace2theO acquired this concert on cassette (and all the nostalgic currency that that carries), while for me I found this bootleg on CD hidden away at the back of the record store. It was far from perfect in sound quality but I can assure you that when I took a listen it shook me to my core, and the fact that 35 years on I am blogging about Prince bootlegs demonstrates how much of an influence it had over the rest of my life. Like that first girlfriend, it was a formative experience. I didn’t quite know what I was doing and I have had better relationships since, but retains a special place in my heart.

A couple of weeks ago the soundboard recording of this show became widely available. It’s not always comfortable when we meet ex-girlfriends later in life, a messy divorce behind them, a couple of kids under their arm, and the first signs of a drinking problem hiding behind their forced smile, but in this case my first girlfriend has grown up into somebody I want to spend a lot of time with. The roughness of the audience recording is gone, replaced with a shiny soundboard, all slender legs, short skirts and long luxurious hair. Oh yes, my first girlfriend is now the hottest chick on the block. She is has grown up in every way, while retaining all the charms that I first fell in love with all those years ago. I may have talked about this first girlfriend before, but now she is in full bloom and stirring up those old feelings in me. It’s not very often that I spend time with ex-girlfriends, but in this case I am going to roll back the clock and wine and dine this girl one more time.

So with my first bootleg love rekindled, lets douse ourselves in cheap cologne, grease up the hair, and head straight to the heart of 1982.

(all photos by Mike Reiter)

8th March 1982, First Avenue, Minneapolis

There is a heat between the thighs from the opening minute, a few quick words by Prince and then a rage of guitar pulled down by Dez. With a punk rock assault Prince and the band hang it all out in these first minutes with both power and panache. In a frenzy of guitar scuzz “Bambi” storms into the room. It’s a wild eyed performance that bounces of the walls in a maelstrom of fuzzed up guitar and shrieked lyrics, capturing the listeners attention from the start. It is much cleaner than the previous audience recording, and the soundboard brings the musicianship to the the fore while retaining the fierce sound of the more familiar recording. That first girlfriend has cleaned up her defiant punk-rock hair style, but still has a fiery intent in her eyes that hints at an underlying violence that could bubble over at any second.

“All The Critics Love U In New York” is the most Princely sui genius song of the evening, and clearly maps out the territory that he will roam in the next few years. It wears its uniqueness proudly, face melting guitar work grafted to the undeniable beat that appeals to both my gut and my feet. I am never quite sure if I should be dancing or punching the air, the music insisting that I move my body in any way possible as Prince gives us perhaps the greatest performance of this song ever recorded. The keyboard solo gains on this pristine recording, Fink’s solo standing out among the more forceful blazing guitar and holding his own calm centre at the eye of the storm. For a minute we are in another world, before the hurricane of guitar solos return and swallow up the all the sound.

There is a glimpse of the first girlfriend I used to know in the opening of “When You Were Mine,” both the title and the sound taking me back to youthful summers that were equally long and lost. It is easy to project these feelings back on a song that has been with us so long, but even at this show it has a nostalgic feel – although it was only recorded just two years previous. This is the most comfortable song of the concert, and captures the exact feelings that I first had when I heard it all those years ago.

There is a world of difference between the audience recording and this soundboard recording when it comes to “Sexy Dancer.” A far more nuanced performance emerges on this recording, and whereas before it was strident and bold, here it becomes much more of a sassy walk rather than a march into battle. Both the bass and the keyboard via for attention, each adding to a show that I am already eminently familiar with. While the bass remains holding the song together, Dr Fink spins off into an intergalactic sound with his keyboards, making me draw a sharp breath in the thrill of it all. It is Dez who gets to put an end to these flights of fancy, his solo serving as an exclamation mark on all that has come before.

Things slow, sex and lust temporarily forgotten as Prince dips into a song of love and yearning with “Still Waiting.” Prince is on lead vocals, but it is Sue Ann Carwell who is the star attraction with her contribution. At almost ten minutes long there is plenty of time for the candles of love to flicker and flame, and musically one can hear the lights being turned down as the song slows to a velvety and warm breakdown. In this circumstance it is grating to hear Prince saying “I got cause to celebrate, because my girlfriend died” but as Brown Marks bass rises up from this crushed velvet sea all is forgiven, and I am again transported away on the winds of Sue Ann Carwell’s voice.

The recording slaps me in the face and snaps me out of this reverie with a furious “Head.” On the previous recording it was nasty and slutty, on this recording it is far more sexy and erotic. While the audience recording sounded like a blowjob in the Walmart carpark, this one speaks in the language of fellatio and sex on the hood of a Porsche at a Beverly Hills party. The outcome is still the same, but it doesn’t threaten to be as dangerous, and despite some superlative bass work I am comfortable that when it is all over I won’t be visiting the clinic in the morning.

If there is a moment that demonstrates how much better this new recording is, it is the final minute of the “Head” when we can hear Prince preparing the band for “Sexuality.” We have heard his yell into the microphone before, but this time we can hear him say it a couple of times earlier to the audience. It’s not a big thing, but it does show just how good the sound is. “Sexuality” is relatively short, most of the song is given over to the audience sing-a-long that dominates. It does lose some of it’s impact on this soundboard recording, the audience recording obviously doing a far better job of capturing this moment with the audience. This is crying out for someone to combine the two recordings in a matrix mix that would better give us that electrifying live sound that makes this recording so vital.

Prince’s brief speech introducing The Time has been often discussed, and for good reason. His easy banter with Morris is refreshing, and its hilarious to hear him and Morris go back and forth, trading lines and barbs that belie the darker waters that swirl just under the surface. “Dance To The Beat” maintains this veneer of lightheartedness, and provides a pop twist to a show that has been thus far guitar heavy and drenched in intensity. There is a lift in the atmosphere and the recording shines bright for these minutes.

Prince continues to fire broadsides at the band between songs, this time with the comment “I didn’t like that, play something you know how to play.” The response from The Time is a taunt version of “The Stick” that would satisfy the most demanding of audiences. As much as I like The Time and this song, it does feel as if they have gate-crashed the date, and there is an awkward third wheel experience to hearing them on the bootleg. The real draw card though isn’t the music itself though, rather their dynamic tension with Prince, a tension that fuels his music and will provide some of his most dramatic work in the following years.

“Partyup” fuses these two elements together in a climatic finish that delivers all it promises. The opening talk between Prince and Morris sets the scene, the back and forth continues between them continues as Morris takes his place at the drum kit for this final stomp. Prince and his guitar lead from the front, but most fans will be focused on Morris and his drumming. He lives up to expectations, and the foreplay of the opening talk is forgotten as the the song becomes further arousing. Morris’s drum solo almost brings us to orgasm, but Prince pulls him back just in time with some great bass work from Brown Mark. The final climax comes with an inflamed guitar solo from Prince,but as with the audience recording there is coitus interruptus as the tape fades out, the rest of solo never realized and leaving us to only wonder what might  have been.

I have loved this concert for as long I can remember. I have grown older, but it has remained forever young, even with the imperfections of the long circulating audience recording. With this soundboard recording we have a chance to revisit our youth, and a chance to reconnect with that elusive first girlfriend. I have mixed feelings as I know that the first girlfriend is forever gone and never again will I listen to the audience recording. This new recording has created new memories and sparked a new love. It is time to move on and file the audience recording in my box of faded photos, yellowed love letters and yesterdays glories. I am firmly looking forward as with this soundboard recording I feel reinvigorated, my love burning with a new intensity. I have made up my mind, this is the recording that I want to spend the rest of my life with.

-Hamish

Bonus material:

Mace2theO messaged me this quickfire review when I told him I was covering this bootleg. It’s not written with public consumption in mind, but he has agreed that I could share it with you. I am in full agreement with everything he has written here, and he is far more succinct than me!

Re 82 – reasons the show is important to me, rediscovered with the SBDs

The First Ave show came the night after the main show at the Met Centre so going back to a small club, it has the feel of an aftershow. It is the first Revolution in all its glory, with Dez as a proper Keith Richards lead as the Black Rolling Stones, all pre-Purple Rain. Starting with a raw punk version of Bambi, it then goes into a monster version of All the Critics. While “Let ’em out of his cage” is great, my favourite is before Doc’s solo when Prince and Dez start soloing and Prince yell’s “Wait a minute, Dez” before ripping off a monster solo.

Sometimes audiences make the boot and I had been living with crowd singing at the end of Sexuality for so many years, it took me a minute to adjust to the soundboard. Same with All The Critics – without that kickdrum in your face, the SBD didn’t feel the power of the earlier version…although it sounds much better.

Most important – this is really the closest we will ever get the inspiration for the Purple Rain battle. Before all the controlling issues that came along in 83-84, you can feel the real affection between Morris and Prince (“We used to be friends”) – as trivia, it has the only time in bootleg history where someone gives Prince shit “You wanna borrow my comb?” Also history, as only time live Prince with Morris on drums.

I have fallen in love with my first girlfriend all over again – not looking forward to telling the wife

Coachella

This week’s gig is interesting to me for a number of reasons. Playing a festival is different from a private show and the setlist reflects this. It is aimed at the masses, and the show begins with Morris Day, Jerome and Sheila E joining the band for a few songs of their own. This gives the concert the feel of a revue, and I do like that aspect of it. Prince also throws in a couple of covers, the most talked about of which is a cover of Radiohead’s Creep. The hits he plays are predictable enough, and the inclusion of Shhh and Anotherloverholenyohead more than satisfies me.

Coachella Festival, 26 April 2008

The Bird is a great choice to open the show with. With the pounding beat the crowd is soon clapping along. Before the song starts proper Prince takes his time to address the audience. Then with a horn blast The Bird begins with the singing of Morris. The recording is an audience recording, it’s not perfect, but it is perfectly listenable. Morris sounds a lot older and he seems to have a deeper more serious timbre to his voice. The song is energetic, but the youthful enthusiasm has gone from Morris’s voice. There isn’t too much singing through the song, the latter part of mostly horns and keys before Prince comes back to the microphone and the music moves into Jungle Love.

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Morris sounds much better on Jungle Love, and I enjoy it more than The Bird. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the Bird, but this one is better. The elastic bass has a good deep sound to it which the recording has picked up well. The guitar solo from Prince transports me right back, and I find myself heavy on nostalgia despite myself. There is some chat and interplay between Morris and Jerome, and I can only imagine what is happening on the stage. The “Oh we oh we oh” part isn’t as strong as it could have been, but this is quickly forgotten as Prince enters again on the guitar and I reach to turn up the volume. The crowd does whoop when he finishes but not as loudly as I do here at home.

“la la la la la la” sings Sheila E as the music of Glamorous Life begins. It’s not crisp sounding, but I can hear the percussion thrown into the mix. This one would have sounded great on the day, but for me some sound is lost in the recording. Shelia makes amends by giving a nice vocal performance and I listen carefully to her as the song progresses. The horn runs sound strong against the percussion and it gives the song a fantastic summer sound. Sheila delivers a drum solo, and I love it. It’s very percussive, maybe a percussion solo would have been a more accurate description. I enjoy it much more than her drum solos of the eighties and it’s only an indicator to what’s coming next.

Shelia E Coachella

And what is coming next is some crisp rhythm guitar, then an up-tempo percussion sound and Prince play some heavily Santana infused guitar. And I aren’t really too surprised when I read that it is a medley of Santana songs. Prince has said that he is influenced in his guitar playing by Santana and on this track he gets to indulge himself. It’s not all about Prince and his guitar through, there is plenty of drums from both Shelia and Cora, as well as Renato Neto contributing an up-tempo keyboard run that I find myself nodding along to and enjoying. This is what I love to hear, and this for me is easily the best track on the whole recording. The song never stops moving and changing, and everyone is playing so well, there is plenty to pick apart and listen to. But as always its Princes guitar that I come back to, and his playing is electrifying in both delivery and nature. These four songs have been a great way to kick off the show before we pull back into a more traditional greatest hits show.

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The slowed down “Don’t worry I won’t hurt you” signals the beginning of 1999 and the more conventional beginning of the show. This time the horns work on the track, and Prince gives the song more room to breathe and enjoy, rather than the rush to the “party” outro we sometimes get. For the first time on the recording we hear Shelby J and Liv Warfield. Neither contribute greatly to the track, but they both have their own voices and I recognize them in an instant. With the larger band and the horns, the song drifts from its 1999 electro funk sound a little, especially near the end, but I can hear Prince’s guitar nice and clear in the mix, and this ties it all back to where it began.

I Feel For You is sung by the girls, I like it but I feel it needs less, not more. The song sounded better in the nice clean 80’s sound. The horns are bright, but a shade too brassy for my tastes, and then the girls sing it together, giving it a much fuller sound. It’s kept short and Prince tells the crowd “we gotta go back” and the pulsing Controversy begins.

Again the girls sing with Prince and it’s far from the stripped back electro sound of the 80’s. Princes scratch guitar is there, but it backed by the horn sound and the extra voices. For all that though, I do enjoy it a lot, especially we Prince does his “people call me rude” section midsong. Of course it is with the “clap your, stomp your feet” chant, but today I give it a pass, I find my head is nodding throughout the entire song and the horns sound good before the guitar takes over for another electrifying solo. Prince is definitely hot at this time, and the playing sounds effortless. Naturally enough Prince asks “who knows about the Quake” which leads to more jumping up and down before the song winds down in a series of “oooohhhhss” It’s very good, but not quite great.

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Prince pulls at our heartstrings with the keyboard swell intro of Little Red Corvette. The synth swells for a few minutes, while a gentle piano plays. It’s my favourite part of the song, Prince doesn’t let it last too long, he starts singing soon enough, but it’s great while it lasts. The crowd immediately appreciate his singing, there is a large cheer as he begins. He does refrain too much from singing in the song, he lets the crowd sing a lot, and in places just stands back as the hand clapping continues. When he does play guitar it is very strong sounding indeed. It’s almost too much for such a layered song, but I forget this complaint as he begins to play. Let the guitar dominate I say, especially when it sounds as powerful as this. There are moments when it conjures up the sound of a mid-70’s Funkadelic song, the way he plays it here I could easily hear such a sound on the “Standing On The verge Of Getting It On” album. The guitar has the best sound on the song, everything else sounds weak in comparison and this is highlighted when Prince sings again after the solo. He sounds far away and pale next to the strength of the guitar sound.

When Musicology follows it is a complete change from what we have just heard. It’s all horns, and the calls of Shelby. The party feel returns to the show, and there is a lot of interaction between Prince and the audience. Some of it works on the recording, I like it when the band pull back and the song moves along to the clap of the crowd. And I always like it when Prince interjects Prince And The Band. This one isn’t amazing, never the less I am smiling throughout. I prefer it to the rest of Musicology and I am a tad disappointed as it winds down to an end.

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Cream benefits from the horns and the muscular guitar. The song has an extra push to it, and it sounds like an older brother of the original album cut. Prince too sounds more powerful here, he is giving more for the crowd and that is coming out in the recording. His guitar break is a little disjointed, and the tone is slightly weird, both compared to the original and in the context of the rest of the show. The horns come back and give it a little more up near the end, and the second guitar break from Prince is much more cleaner sounding and more enjoyable. The song finishes on a high as we segue into U Got The Look.

Prince’s guitar is sounding much better as he plays U Got The look, the strong clear tone has returned and it propels the song along well. And despite the guitar having a stronger sound, the solos aren’t too overwhelming as I feared they may be, all in all everything is very well balanced- something that doesn’t always happen with this song. I have heard this song a lot, but this one doesn’t out stay its welcome.

Shhh sounds awesome right from the start. The guitar and drum rolls that open it are very loud and full sounding, and it’s got a powerful feel about it that takes me right back to that era. Prince’s voice isn’t too focused, he sounds a little casual in his delivery. It does retain a smoky late night feel, and has just a touch of grime on it. After the first verse it does become a showcase for Princes guitar playing. As with every song on this recording it is great, and despite the quality of the recording the guitar playing is shining through on every song. CC Dunham on the drums does a fine job, she is no Michael B, but she is strong. Prince’s long howling notes on the guitar has me really feeling the song, and I feel the passion that first made me a fan all those years ago. The song ends, and I have the urge to immediately go back and play it again. And again. And again.

Prince Coachella

The rock sound is once again at the fore when Anotherloverholenyohead plays. There is plenty of guitar, and it’s loud and works well in tandem with the heavy bass and drum. This is a cracking version of the classic. I normally love the original sound of it, but in this setlist the heavy rock sound works very well. There is the Rock Lobster interlude, which is just an excuse for Prince to let loose on the guitar for a while. Whereas in Shhh he was playing within the song, and fleshing out the emotion, here he is playing for the hell of it, and sounding great along the way. I preferred the style of the previous song, but I still enjoyed this immensely.

Next is the surprise (at the time) in the recording- a cover of Radiohead’s Creep. Prince doesn’t do vulnerable, he is either ‘Cocky’ or ‘Victim of love’ and here he comes off a little disingenuous playing the part of the loser. His vocals don’t capture the emotion of the original, and although I admire him for doing a cover of this, I can’t quite buy into it. But all is forgiven when he reaches a more frantic tone in his voice, and we get some guitar noise from him. It’s hard to take him seriously as he sings “I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo” but he knows how to let the music speak for him, and the guitar says more than his vocals. The most enjoyable and emotional parts of the song are when there is just the music and his guitar playing. Normally I like a good balance of guitar tracks and funk tracks through a show, but this one is very guitar focussed, and I am surprised at just how much I am enjoying it. The latter part of the song is all guitar, and it’s far removed from the Radiohead original. It’s a cover version I could never have guessed at, and worth hearing just for novelty value if nothing else.

Angel is a cover of a Sarah McLachlan song, and Prince is conspicuous in his absence from the song. He may well be on stage, but on the recording all I can hear is Shelby J on the lead vocals, ably supported by the NPG. There is no doubting that Shelby can sing, and sing well, but this song is well within her range and it doesn’t do too much that excites me. Renato Neto provides a piano break, but it’s hardly pulse raising. The latter portion of the song is where the girls really showcase their singing, they are all of fine voice, but it’s Prince that I want to hear.

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I am relieved when Prince comes to the microphone to introduce the next song, 7. I don’t listen to 7 very often, but I always enjoy live performances of it. This one is par for the course, but the standout for me is when he talks to the audience about togetherness and ushering in a new golden age and then gets them chanting “war, no more’. Sure it’s simplistic, but it works.

The song moves very naturally into a cover of the Beatles Come Together. I shouldn’t be too surprised, I have heard it a few times like this before. The girls are the dominant force in the song, and Prince is a passenger, only talking to the crowd between verses, before once again giving us a very solid guitar solo. He draws it out for a bit, before indulging in a bit of ‘stage craft’. He gets the audience to clap their hands “there ain’t no wrong way” then has them singing along “come together, yeah”. It sounds simple, but it works for the crowd, and they are behind him all the way. The band pull out, leaving the crowd clapping and chanting “come together, yeah”. Easy as that, that is how you work a crowd. The song gets the full treatment, the band comes back in, and there is another guitar break and a finale to bring the show to a close.

It’s no surprise at all to hear Purple Rain as the encore. There is very little in the way of intro, after the first few chords have sounded Prince begins to sing immediately. This is a fairly standard rendition of the beloved song, Prince doesn’t inject too much emotional emphasis in it, and the only feature about it that I find interesting is the guitar break later in the song. The audience do jump on board early with a steady hand clap but it’s the guitar break where I finally sit up and engage with the song. The first half of the break is as I have heard often enough before, but after the “One, two, three” reprise it becomes more loose and enjoyable to my ears. He doesn’t over play it, and it is pulled in soon enough to bring the song to an end.

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Prince addresses the audience again “They tell me I gotta go, but we can’t leave” I wonder what could follow, but it’s soon revealed as I hear the keyboard swell of Let’s Go Crazy begin. It is of as you might expect from this band, there is a lot of horns in it, and plenty of swing. Prince’s guitar playing hits the groove early on, and he stays there. There is more singing and chanting from the crowd, interspersed with rowdy guitar breaks from Prince. I was expecting this to go on for some time, so I am very surprised when Prince brings it to a close with his trademark guitar howl, and I sit back, equally surprised at how much I enjoyed it all.

I must admit, although this one piqued my interest, I didn’t really have high hopes for what I perceived to be a greatest hits package. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this recording, I actually listened to it four or five times over a couple of days. The recording isn’t fantastic, and the show didn’t always hold my interest, but what I did like, I liked immensely. This isn’t a classic vocal performance, but that’s not important when the guitar playing is as good as it is here. The Santana medley was worth listening to alone. All in all, a lot of fun to listen to here on a cold winter night.

Take care
see you next week
Hamish

 

 

First Avenue 1982

It blows my mind that this gig was recorded just five weeks after the Passaic gig that I listened to the other week. It’s got a completely different feel to it, show cases new material, resurrects some old material, but as always features some outstanding musicianship. Such is life in the world of Prince, things change pretty fast. This gig was recorded at First Avenue, between Controversy and 1999 tours, and yet it doesn’t really sound like either one of those tours. Most of the material played here does not appear on either tour, and the band has a chance to play out and really jam on some songs. As I seem to say every week, this is one of my favorites, and I can’t wait to write about it.

-Please note, none of these photos are connected to the gig. They are just a few nice ones to give you something to look at between all the words.

8th March 1982, First Avenue, Minneapolis

I have listened to this gig so many times that I can recite the opening lines from the top of my head. After a brief prelude Prince opens the gig by telling the crowd that “This is not a concert, this is a dance, if you can dance to stuff, you’re a better man to me. The only reason we’re here is that there is no place else to go”. Bambi starts and it’s heavy right from the go. I know Bambi is always a heavy guitar driven song, but here it is even more so. The guitars’ don’t let up at all, even during the verses, and Princes vocals struggle to get out above the din. You can hear him fine, but the guitar noise and band are very rowdy and wild. There is a great heavy guitar chugging underneath and some wild guitars over the top. It definitely has a garage band feel to it, but a very talented garage band! Dez’s playing is excellent, as is Princes solos over the top. I have heard plenty of great versions of Bambi, but this one tops them all. It’s a fantastic way to start the gig, and already I feel breathless by the end of the first song. Prince does some guitar noodling after the bulk of the song, before the band enters for a final onslaught to finish.

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A steady beat, then the now familiar keyboard run of All The Critics love You In New York begins. Prince intones “This is a new song, probably won’t be out for another year or six” The steady beat goes on for a very long time before Prince begins to sing, and in that time there is some grinding guitar flashes. The sound is, obviously, much more heavier than on record, and it has a darker feel to it. The guitar is much dirtier sounding, and much louder. Prince is not as restrained as he sounds on record, especially as he sings “look out all you hippies, you aren’t as sharp as me” But mostly the song isn’t about the vocals, it’s very much a guitar song, with plenty of guitar played over the beat. It sounds great, and I can only wish that I could have been there. The guitars pull back for a moments, and Prince asks Dr Fink if he wants to solo. He duly obliges while Dez calls for a drink. The keyboard solo is fast, yet delicate. Sounds very good and clean. Prince then asks Dez, “Did you get your drink?” Dez responds yes and Prince asks does he want to play, then with a yell “Let him outta of his cage!” Dez plays a fantastic solo. Completely different from what Prince would come up with, it has a heavy rock sound about it. Its short, but very rock orientated. The guitars stay low for a bit, and the song sounds much more like what it does on album. The song only lasts another minute or two after this before it ends with a synth howl.

Keeping in tone with the evening so far, the next song is a guitar heavy When You Were Mine. There is more lead guitar on this then we normally hear, and it’s an interesting arrangement. The rhythm guitar sound that normally drives it is absent, and instead some long mournful notes on the lead guitar replace it. It’s still as upbeat as ever, but it does have a more rock sound to it. Dr Finks solo is more familiar territory, and after this the more familiar rhythm guitar we are used to returns. There is a break, with just Prince on his guitar and the crowd clapping, and he stretches it out for a couple of minutes like this. I like it here, when he sings a few lines, then knocks out the rhythm for a bit while the crowd clap along. The band all jump in back in for the final verse before it all races to the finish.

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After thanking the crowd “Give yourself a hand, that was some mean clapping” Prince and the band get funky with Sexy Dancer. It’s a welcome break from the guitar noise of the first few songs. I love guitar, but I also enjoy the variation that Prince gives us. Sexy dancer is full sounding, propelled along by the bass and drum, but there is plenty of playing over the top. Again Dr Fink plays a great solo, and it’s really stretched out, he plays for a couple of minutes on it. It’s very enjoyable, and as I so often do, I find myself in admiration of the skills of the good Doctor. Dez follows up with a restrained but loud solo. It’s in complete contrast to the solo that Dr Fink plays, and yet complements the song well. The song ends with a Dez solo, and there is a pause in the action.

Prince tells the crowd he wants to play a slow song if they want to go get a drink. He calls for Sue Ann, and then plays Still Waiting. The recording still has a garage band sound to it, which doesn’t really suit this song. However Princes vocals sound very good, especially harmonizing with Sue Ann on the chorus. It’s in the quieter more delicate moments of the gig that the limitations of recordings like this are exposed. The song itself is very good, as we have come to expect from Prince, but I would want to hear a better recording of it. There is some very nice vocal work from Prince here, and some great interplay between him and the backing singers, especially in the breakdown. There is one weird vocal ad-lib from Prince, when he tells the crowd ‘I got cause to celebrate, because my girlfriend died” I didn’t notice it for years, but I can’t help but to hear it this time. Sue Ann gets a moment to sing solo, and she is remarkable good. She’s not the most distinctive singer I have ever heard, but she is nice and strong. Prince responds with some of his shrieking and screaming before the song comes to an end.

Prince 4

There is a pause, and then the band plays a heavy and slightly quicker version of Head. It’s not as dirty or nasty as I have heard elsewhere, but the guitars are nice and strong, and I do enjoy the grittiness of this recording. Prince lets the crowd sing a lot of it, choosing to sing every other line himself. The recording doesn’t pick up the crowd singing very well, but if I had have been there you would definitely of heard me! After the first verse there isn’t much singing, mostly a lot of keyboard, solos and groove. It’s not a bad thing at all, and I like it very much in this way. Prince picks up the mic for some more singing, but again he only sings every other line, letting the crowd fill in the spaces. Dr Finks solo is excellent as always before the music pulls back for a breakdown. There is some very enthusiastic singing of head from the crowd, as always, and then some nice funk guitar from the band. It then descends into the usual guitar solo and keyboard sounds that we have heard so many times before.

A couple of beats and Prince calls “Read my lips, Sexuality”. Things really take off here, the beat jumps up, and after several screams from the man himself the bass and scratch guitar jump in. It’s played fast, and the drums and bass provided a great energy. This song is a favorite of mine, and it’s a shame there is not more live recordings of it out there. As with the other songs, the sound is very full, and all the instruments are battling to be heard. The six band members sure do make a big noise! The bulk of the song is over before I know it, it was fast and furious throughout. The band all pull out, except Bobby Z, and Prince sings Sexuality as the crowd claps along. The crowd then takes up the singing of sexuality, while Prince takes a break. This section goes for as long as the main song itself, and it sounds as if the crowd is having a great time. Prince finishes by singing “Never let it be said, white folk ain’t got no soul”.

Prince 1

Prince tells the crowd that they are going to take a break, and then the Time plays a couple of songs. The recording covers the bands changing over, and it takes some minutes, with plenty of banter while it happens. Especially funny to me is when Prince tell the crowd “We share the same management, and they say they gotta play too”

The first song they play is Dance to The Beat. It’s up tempo, and fun, but it comes and goes before I can properly register it. It does sound like it would have been good to be there, but on the recording it doesn’t do much for me.

Much better is The Stick. The bass and the keyboards have a deep groove and the over all sound is something I really enjoy. This is The Time that I like the most. Jimmy Jam and Jesse both solo, before Morris calls for a mirror. The classic Time that we all know and love is in full effect.

The song ends, and Prince asks Morris if he can still play the drums. Once again there is plenty of banter, as Morris moves to the drums and Prince is running things again. They then play an enthusiastic version of party up. The band sound nice and loose, as does Princes singing. Again, it’s a sense of fun that I get when I listen to this recording. Prince calls for a break down and the band find a nice groove while the crowd begins to clap along. Prince tells the crowd “Give the drummer some” and then Morris plays a drum break. It’s not overly cohesive, but it does fit with the fun of the gig. Brownmark brings things back with some nice bass playing, and then Lisa puts some nice rhythmic keyboard work over top. There is then some really fantastic sounding guitar solo played over the top but to my great disappointment the recording fades out here and ends.

Prince 3

This was one of the first recordings I ever brought, and I have listened to it many times over the years. In more recent years better releases of the same gig have appeared, and this has greatly added to my enjoyment of it. As I said earlier, I love the garage band sound of this, and the loose feel of the band. All The Critics Love You In New York is a standout for me, as is Sexuality. I was one very happy man at the end of listening to this.

Take care
Hamish