Atlanta April 14th 2016, early show

Last week I finally overcame my mental and emotional block and took a listen to Prince’s final full live concert. I feel as if a great weight has been lifted, I now feel revitalized and ready to fully embrace the rest of this nights performance. Whereas the 10pm was emotionally heavy, the earlier show from that night promises to be a lighter experience, and something I can listen to without any emotional strings attached.

April 14th 2016 (show 1) Fox Theatre, Atlanta

The introduction music (“Confluence”) is a calm, serene way to begin the concert. What I notice is the sound of the ushers telling people to put their cell phones away – something I can appreciate as I recall the same experience when I saw the piano and microphone concerts in New Zealand. This introduction music is swept to one side as Prince takes the stage to the expected roar of the crowd. “Little Red Corvette” is a suitable opening number and the scene is set for what will unfold over the next 90 minutes. With “Dirty Mind” played mid song it lays the template for the evening, heartfelt ballads and stomping rhythmic piano songs alternating and demonstrating both sides of Prince’s piano talent. The one aspect of this performance that I find  uplifting is the easy way Prince has with the crowd, the stage is his home and natural environment and that is apparent through the song as he is completely at ease as he teases and talks to the audience.

The following song, “Nothing Compares 2 U”, is coloured by some wonderful piano flourishes. The lyrics may be what everyone remembers, but in this case the piano carries the day. It’s easy to sing along, but a close listen to the piano is far more rewarding.

Prince is in fine form, he speaks of his Father before giving a one time only performance of “Chopsticks”. Its worth hearing for novelty value alone, but Prince adds a musicality to it which elevates it to something much more. Trust me, you have never heard a version of “Chopsticks” as funky as this.

Without the guitar solo, “Joy In Repetition” becomes something else altogether. The  smokey opening of the song lingers throughout, without the payoff of the guitar break it stays in this sad melancholy mood, never breaking out of its foggy late night sound. I like it, I like it a lot. As much as I like the original, I find this arrangement grabs me tight round the heart and I am completely drawn into the web of music.

I am completely transported back to the ONA tour as “Muse 2 The Pharaoh” plays in my headphones. Nothing has changed in 15 years, and it is now just as it was then. The lyrics may not be to everyone’s taste (or anyones), but the music itself is fine and I am attracted to it. The fact that my head is nodding is a very good sign and once again Prince injects funk into it throw his playing. It comes as a pleasant surprise on the recording, but things about to get even better.

“U Got The Look” has Prince’s spoken “Here we are folks, the dream we all dream off” introduction, immediately it draws attention.  Without the drive of the guitar it isn’t as forceful, Prince instead using to the spaces in the music to make it a slow and rhythmic hip swinger. It isn’t as 2-dimensional as the original sometimes is, and I applaud Prince for adding new dimensions to a familiar classic.

It is “Pop Life” that follows and it moves in the other direction. The pop is missing out of it and this performance sounds labored and heavy. The audience do their part singing along, but it lacks color and to my ears it is a weak moment in the concert. The redeeming feature is the piano that rolls across the soundscape like an early morning mist across the fields.

Prince continues to craft atmosphere in the arena, his piano sculpturing and shaping the music into a mood. “Elephants & Flowers” has a rugged charm, the vocals following the piano into an ethereal pop dream. Criminally short, Prince again channels an all enveloping warmth through his instrument.

The show becomes a more traditional as Prince takes on “I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man”. As the piano rises and falls Prince delivers an urgent vocal delivery, each line coming as a jab out of the darkness. The lyrical content is highlight by Prince an his piano flourishes, the keys weeping as the female protagonist tells her story, before becoming  melancholy with Prince’s response of “I could never take the place of your man” It is a vivid demonstration of the power of music, and the ability to evoke emotion through both words and music.

“Under The Cherry Moon” is a delicate introduction to what is the heart of the concert. “A Case Of U” is played with a stark intimacy, Prince naked and vulnerable in this performance of one of his most endearing covers. The lyrics may be Joni Mitchell’s but the performance is pure Prince, the song climaxing with several raw shrieks that turn a love song into a jagged wound.

There is a familiar warmth to “I Feel For U”. Like oak paneling it is both warm and homely, without ever raising a level of excitement.  As always it is more than welcome in the setlist, but as far as challenging the audience, it is about as threatening as wet spaghetti.

The following “Controversy” is equally familiar, but its energized in the skeletal form. The expected funk is generated purely by Prince and his piano, a more natural funk than what is heard in the full band performances later in his career. There is an extra buzz as he threatens to go off script and deliver the whole Lords prayer,  the tension is palpable as he sings the first line, but he reins it in and ends the song. A shame as that would have sent the whole thing over the top.

There are limitations to “The Most Beautiful Girl In The World”. Prince’s vocals are stressed and one feels its not coming to him as easy as it once did. His lower register is much more rewarding, for both him and the listener, and it is at this point the song becomes a vivid tribute to all those beautiful women in his life.

I dare you to listen to “I Would Die 4 U” without a huge smile on your face. A glorious pop song, after 30 years its time in the sun surely should have passed – yet it hasn’t and on this recording it sounds just as evangelical and uplifting as it ever has.

“Baby I’m A Star” draws energy from the same place and the crowd are soon whipped up into the frenzy that Prince’s concerts are renowned for. Without a full band it falls on Prince to provide the impetus and drive for the song, there is no doubt that he more than rises to the occasion. With a jolt of energy he plays a spirited and intoxicating rendition that sounds just as good on the bootleg as it does at the live show.

One vinyl David Bowie’s “Heroes” is a sonic storm that makes the ordinary extraordinary, small moments becoming heroic gestures as Bowie buildings everyday life into triumph of man. Prince’s cover, although well intention, is none of these things. Whereas Bowie had the metallic whine that spoke to the grimness of everyday life before reaching the life affirming chorus, Prince has piano flourishes and runs that come from a musicality rather than emotional space. David Bowie ends “Heroes” in near hysteria as he sings his vocals from the end of the world. Not once does Prince dig deep into this same emotion instead he gives the song a light touch, electing to highlight the joy of the piano as he replaces the intensity with a soulful performance that sounds as if its being played in a church. It is a beautiful moment, but it can’t come close to the raw-nerved performance of David Bowie.

After the briefest of breaks it is the line of “this will be the day” that draws the biggest cheer of the night. This opening is merely the entree, Prince pausing to let the crowd appreciate what is coming before he  resumes. Each line shines brightly as they quickly fade, the song itself barely a minute as it ends with the crowd singing choir-like the final line, a fitting end as the concert is about to become a revival meeting as Prince brings out some of his finest material.

Prince knows he doesn’t have to try too hard with these final songs, the crowd isn’t here for the full architecturally sculptured renditions, they just want to know the song was plays and have a few lines to sing along with. The opening line of “Adore” is enough to send the crowd into raptures before they provide back up to Prince as he sings the first verse. With pause the song becomes “The Beautiful Ones”, the crowd still very much involved as Prince lingers on the lyrics. Listening at home is a frustrating experience as Prince swings back to Adore after a few lines, each song uniquely beautiful yet neither is satisfying as Prince cuts and pastes them into the show.

Much more nourishing is “Do Me, Baby”. The song is only a couple of minutes, but Prince plays a traditional arrangement with verses and chorus appearing as they should. It is short, but it there is much more to sink our teeth into compared to the previous songs and at this point the concert resumes a familiar format.

“I Wanna Be Your Lover” gets the same respectful treatment as “Do Me, Baby”. Although it too is short, Prince plays as one might expect with a spring in his step and a the crowd matching him word for word. The audience are a little too much in places on the recording, but it is a live concert and I can fully appreciate they are in the moment.

The final song of the evening is “Kiss”. For the audience it is one final flourish, although Prince’s piano playing is rather rather workman like, the audience provide the spark and enthusiasm that is missing from the piano. It is a surprising end to the performance, the show never reaches the expected climax and instead stops suddenly instead of going out with a bang.

I wanted to like this show a lot more than I actually did. The pieces seem to be in place for a great show, the songs are certainly there, and Prince sounded great early on. I found myself waiting for a big moment, a big moment that never came. By the time the end of the show arrived I realized that the best pieces of the concert had passed and I didn’t even notice them. It’s hard to be too critical of the Piano and Microphone concerts, I applaud Prince for doing something different, but in this case I found the abridged versions too light for my taste and left me hungry for more. No doubt this will get played plenty more as a companion piece to Prince’s final performance later that night, but as a concert I would choose to listen to, I’d probably pass.

Thanks for reading
-Hamish

Atlanta, April 14 2016 – Final show

Prince’s final concert. I had intended to write about this a couple of weeks ago and post it before the first anniversary of his death. I prepared myself to listen to it several times, but in the end I just couldn’t. Even though I have these recordings in my hands for sometime now I have never managed to bring myself around to listening to them. I knew that hearing them I would have to acknowledge that these are his final performances and that he is no longer with us. Twelve months on and I can’t bring myself to do it. Deep inside of me I want to believe that there is more, that somehow this is all a dream, an alternative reality. I have experienced plenty of pain and loss in my life before, yet the passing of Prince has shook me to the core and I haven’t properly dealt with it as yet. I keep pushing the feelings away, turning the music up louder, thinking that I will process it at a later date. Part of that process starts now, as I sit with my headphones on, prepared to listen to his final show. The music of Prince has always been comforting to me and I hope the music will carry me through these days and weeks as the finality of his passing hits me. The next hour and a half I will both mourn and celebrate his music and life as I lose myself in the music.

April 14th 2016 (show 2) Fox Theatre, Atlanta

A heavyweight performance of “When Will We B Paid?” begins the concert. It has a sombre air to it, Prince making the lyrics real to him and the audience with an emotional performance that balances between melancholia and a deep anger. This song was played plenty of times over the years, but none punch as hard as this solo performance that distills 300 years of slavery and mistreatment into a gut wrenching four minute piano performance.

Lyrically “The Max” is completely different. The piano playing stays with the dark tone, a touch more funk in the keys, but it is the colorful lyrics that lift the concert. With plenty of encouragement to be heard from the audience, I am reminded that this is an audience recording. Its not a bad recording, but there is plenty of audience to be heard and I feel that as Prince’s journey is coming to an end so too is mine – the recording dragging me back to the first bootlegs I bought as I reflect on my own history through Prince’s music.

The change to “Black Sweat” is barely perceivable, the funk grows stronger with the piano gaining some intensity. Prince is in full flow at this point, the music and lyrics streaming from the stage to an appreciative audience who lap it all up and respond the best way they know how. Although the music is as sharp as ever, there is a looseness to the performance itself, the music serving as a bridge between the audience and Prince as they celebrate each other.

 

One of the first B-sides that I gravitated to as a teenager was “Girl”. I don’t know how many times I spun it on my turntable before I eventually dubbed it onto a cassette tape with some other B-sides so I could listen to it on the go. To hear it performed at this concert is a treat to the teenage me who still resides deep inside of me. It may not have the bump and pop of the recorded version, but here Prince lets it percolate in his off kilter piano playing, infusing it with a hint of jazz that appeals to the more mature 40 year old me. It is not the best song of the recording, but it does serve as reminder of all the genres and influences that Prince brought to his music.

I never realized how uplifting “I Would Die 4 U” was until I heard these piano and microphone performances. With the single piano building up with layers of music, it’s hard not to be swept up by Prince’s spiritual message and optimism. After the sober opening, it comes as a blinding light, sweeping away the shadows of the first songs.

“Baby I’m A Star” comes in the same vein, all energy and celebration of life and music. The lyrics may sound egocentric and boastful, but the music is pure joy and energy for all to enjoy. Coupled with “I Would Die 4 U” , these minutes see me sitting back with a huge smile on my face, wrestling with the urge to get up and dance by myself. There is plenty of humour as he indulges in an imaginary dialogue with Dr Fink, all the while puling more and more funk from his piano. This section alone is enough for me to strongly recommend listening to this part of the show.

Although only a few minutes long, “The Ballard of Dorothy Parker” has plenty of time for Prince to bury himself in the piano playing, especially as the song segues in “Four”. There are intricate flourishes as his hands flash across the keys, the notes spinning out quickly across the recording. It is easy enough to sing along with “The Ballard Of Dorothy Parker”, but the best moments of the song are when the piano dominates – like the poster says, it is piano and microphone .

As much as I enjoy “Dark”, at this show it is neither here nor there. There is no single part of the song that stands out, it flows easily enough without grabbing my attention. It is one of the longer songs of the concert and for that it has to be commended as many other songs are truncated. However, it drifts without direction and leaves no memorable impression on me.

 

“Indifference” is the first song of the concert that has me emotional. Maybe it’s the music, or Princes spoken lyrics. As the song plays out my eyes glaze over and I feel a lump forming in my throat. This feeling is only heightened as the song ends with several audience members calling out “We love you” as Prince begins to play one of my favourite songs “I Love U, But I Don’t Trust U Anymore”. The lyrics are what I appreciate most in the song, but in this case I concentrate on the beautiful piano playing that sweeps and washes across the recording. As emotionally poignant as the lyrics are, the music is the main focus and draws just as many tears as Prince’s vocals.

I do enjoy the beginning of “Little Red Corvette”, but it is the song it is paired with, “Dirty Mind”, that I really get a kick out of hearing. With its youthful exuberance I am transported back in time, when everything felt so free and easy. Prince’s lyrics maybe pleading for more from his girl, but the music tells a different a story, a story of hope and the possibility that anything might happen. The song comes full circle as Prince returns to “Little Red Corvette” but nothing can beat the previous few minutes.

There next comes another emotional heavyweight with “Nothing Compares 2 U”. This weight of emotion is undone by the quality of the recording, for which my tear stained handkerchief is thankful. It is another classy performance, yet as I listen to Prince play and sing I can’t help but think how much stronger it sounded (and how much more emotional) with Shelby J. Without the strong female vocals to bounce off, a lot of Princes vocals seem to disappear into the darkness of the arena without finding an emotional base to land upon.

Although I am no great fan of “Cream”, it certainly brings a smile to my face. Prince toys with it, playing a stop start version that has the audience singing heartily along (after some encouragement from Prince himself). Prince tells the audience to sing it to themselves in the mirror when they get home, yet this version is all about togetherness and being in the moment as Prince and the crowd come together for a  fun filled performance that sounds just as good here at home as it was no doubt on the night.

The easy swing of “Black Muse” follows. Dedicated to the ladies, it has me nodding my head with the beat from the start. This performance highlights the ‘pop’ aspect of the song, and provides a pleasant diversion from some of the other heavy weights surrounding it.

There is very little surprise with “How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore?” in the setlist, and in this case the familiarity of the song works against it. Most of these songs are new to the piano setting and gain from the stripped back arrangement. “How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore?” has always been a solo piano number and as such there is nothing new here at all. Prince is in a playful mood, the audience responding with plenty of laughter and singing along to the very end, making this an enjoyable listen without being essential.

The encores get off to a strong start with a gentle “Waiting In Vain” / “If I Was Your Girlfriend”.  “Waiting In Vain” is the more dominant of the two, and the music begins and ends with this song. It is a gentle performance, the music moves easily without drawing emotion. It is the longest song of the night, yet it moves at its own pace and never out stays its welcome. I was expecting a lot more from “If I Was Your Girlfriend” but I more than happy with what I hear.

Again emotion creeps into the recording as Prince plays “Sometimes It Snows In April”. It’s not over wrought, most of the emotion I hear is what I bring to the moment rather than the performance itself. Listening carefully, it is surprisingly light, and Prince keeps it upbeat. The music may draw from melancholia, but Prince’s sad words are delivered in an bright manner that undoes some of the emotion. It is easy to listen to, the song that I thought would be hardest to hear tonight is instead a beautiful moment that brightens the room.

“Purple Rain” has a majestic opening and for the first few minutes I listen intently, completely forgetting that I am supposed to write about it. The piano introduction has a grandeur to it which is unmatched elsewhere in the song. The arrangement from here on in is an interesting one, Prince reaches the  chorus, where he gains a strong audience singalong, before moving on “The Beautiful Ones”. “The Beautiful Ones” aches as Prince teases out the first verse and chorus. It never reaches the climax it promises, just as it seems he will take it to the epic finale it deserves he returns to “Purple Rain”, picking it up easily where he left off. It’s short-lived, another verse and chorus before “Diamonds and Pearls” makes an appearance. It’s not particularly noteworthy, barely half a minute, but it does elicit an cheer from the crowd. Prince again picks up the strands of “Purple Rain” as he returns for the climax of the song and the performance. The final minutes of the music are lost to my conscious self the thought plays over and over in my mind  “this is the last time, this is the last time”. “Purple Rain” can run on and on,there are concerts where it flows like a unending river, but here it doesn’t and its over before I am aware of it. The cold reality hits me.This is the last time.

Reflecting back over this recording my thoughts are many. I can’t untie this bootleg from the rest of Prince’s life and career. There are fleeting moments when I consider the bootleg dispassionately, its good and I want to hear it again. But mostly it tugs at my heart, my emotion. It draws tears to my eyes, and brings a lump to my throat. This recording will always come with the caveat – this is the final one. My collection of Prince concerts ends at April 14th 2016. This is the last time.

Piano And A Microphone, Auckland – New Zealand

I thought I was just another jaded fan. I thought Prince had done everything. I thought I knew what this night would bring. It would seem I know nothing. Prince didn’t just exceed expectations, he smashed them to pieces. It was a night where I was reborn several times, and every note and song lifted me higher and higher until I was in heaven itself. I am not one who normally talks this way, but the last few hours have been a revelation. The show finished a scant 20 minutes ago, and I am in my hotel across the road, still with the warmth of the show, and the sound of the music still dripping off me. What will follow will be from a fanboys perspective, expect no objectivity, I am still in the midst of an almost spiritual experience.

princeAuckland

24 February, 2016,  Auckland, New Zealand

Five hours ago Prince stepped out to his piano in a blinding white light, with the cheer of 2500 fans who did their best to sound like 25,000. I have seen Prince perform before, I listen to his music almost daily, I am 42 years old, and yet I screamed like a Beatlemanic school girl as he pimp walked on stage, glittery cane in hand.

Five hours ago Prince sat at his piano, and with no safety-net of a band, or indeed a stage show, he showed us the power of not just musicianship but songwriting. No glitz or glamour to paper over the cracks, it was the songs themselves that were to be the making of the show. I Would Die 4 U and Baby I’m A Star are certainly crowd pleasing favorites, but in this new arena they became more. I Would Die 4 U shone as an uplifting moment, the chords pulling us up, each one piling on top of each other and creating a platform that sounded glorious and joyful.

Four and a half hours ago Prince played one of the first songs I remember hearing on the radio, I Feel For You. Slowed down, the lyrics toyed and  pulled with, the piano had a swing to it that clearly showed us it’s roots,and indeed Princes. This is music with a history, it came from somewhere, and this is ably demonstrated as the piano lends a warm timbre to a previous cool synth driving song. Yes, the warmth of the piano filled the hall and our souls.

Four hours ago Prince played Condition Of The Heart, a delicate love song that I once copied the lyrics to and gave to a teenage love. I can’t tell you how many hundreds of times I have listened to it on record, to see Prince sitting right in front of me playing it on the piano was ‘a moment’. I felt a life time of girlfriends flash by my eyes as Prince’s voice dripped over the lyrics, before he floored my for the first time in the evening with a rendition of Noon Rendezvous. Can I describe it? Not a chance, it was personal moment that was shared with 2500 strangers, and something that will stay with me for a long time.

Forever In My Life is another touch stone song in my life, one readily associated with girlfriends and loves won and lost. A slight song on record, in this setting it’s a slow-burning song that smolders and glows. There is a seriousness to it, and even the “da da da” at the end sound heavy and important. The song is the thing, and Princes piano playing is very gentle, his voice carrying the weight and reminding us that there are two instruments on stage.

Three and half hours ago Prince darkened the room and played a smoking version of Thieves In The Temple. Like most Prince songs I carry associations with it from my teenage years, in this case I recall staying up late to hear it first being played on the radio back in the day. I was ecstatic to hear it played, and once again Prince upped the stakes when he started to sing the song It. I am sure I must have screamed or shouted as Prince howled into the microphone, much like the Sign O The Times film. I can’t tell you, did I scream, was my mouth wide open, did I faint? Maybe all three. All I know is I had my moneys worth right there.

Three hours ago Prince played Paisley Park, a song that swung and rocked back and forth on the motion of his left hand as he banged out the chords. Like so many of these songs the rhythm was inherent in the playing, and Prince was able to be incredibly expressive in his playing, conveying all sorts of rhythms and emotions. Paisley Park is one of Princes songs that speaks of an utopia, much like Uptown, and I think he had us all transported away with him as he played.

Just over two hours ago Prince started his second show, and despite myself I am still screaming and cheering like a fool. A slower song to start, Love Thy Will Be Done, but every bit as good opening, the crowd moved swaying as the notes fly off the piano and over our heads. No snare drum beat, just Princes delicate vocals moving up and down as the piano plays endless variations. A master class of everything in a single song.

An hour and a half ago Prince played U Got The Look, a song that normally wouldn’t warrant a mention, in this case its that honky-tonk left hand of Prince that drives the rhythm and gives the song a great Ray Charles sound, and I think he acknowledges that influence later with a considered cover of Unchain My Heart. Prince knows the piano is the thing, and often resorts to just piano along in the show, the crowd enraptured. I didn’t want to miss a single note, and I am amply rewarded later when he sings a few lines of Erotic City. I’ll say that again, a few lines of Erotic City. It’s not much, but I’ll take it. That left hand is still banging on the keys, I just can’t forget the sound of it.

Condition Of The Heart came out again, this time the crowd in silence watching reverently as if at a classical performance. The piano was the hero for a long time, no longer being hammered, instead eyes shut moving from side to side Prince filled the hall with some playing that would be at home in any concert hall in the world. I would have shut my eyes and been transported away but I didn’t want to miss a thing.

An hour ago Prince hit me with one of the greatest 1,2,3 punches ever. The Ballad Of Dorthy Parker,  Something In The Water, Strange Relationship. Each one pulling different emotions and Prince loading his piano and singing with as much heart as he could muster. The first two were stunning in their beauty, and Strange Relationship coming as the redemption, the funk so strong. And a revelation as we watch Prince play, he wrote these songs like this, sitting alone at the piano. It’s a rare thing to see their roots laid out bare like this.

He teased us and toyed with us as he played a long How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore. The crowd, me included, impatiently singing the first line while Prince was still repeating the intro, only for him to stop with a “Oh no you don’t” before starting over and reclaiming the line for himself.

Fifty minutes ago Prince played A Case Of U, a song I swore I would die if I ever heard live. I’m still here, but those minutes as Prince played and sung will stay with me for the rest of my life, and hopefully beyond.

Forty minutes ago Prince played a four songs off Purple Rain, culminating in the song itself, in what I thought would be the show closer. But then came one of those moments, planned or accidental I don’t know, that stick with you forever. Prince played the opening of Purple Rain, before something changed. The stars aligned, lightning struck and the evening became better than I could have every imagined. First he played The Love We Make, before segueing into The Ladder. Prince started to speak and sing and suddenly the concert seemed to melt away. No longer were we spectators watching Prince play his songs, now he was music personified and we were drawn into the very music itself. The music seemingly flowed out of him, all of it glorious, all of it uplifting and spiritual. People speak of the healing power of music, but here it was in action. The Ladder ebbed and flowed into Adore, the crowd singing along, but not too loudly lest we can’t hear Prince. A song that means so much to so many, here I am standing alone listening to it, and yet not alone – 2500 people sharing the same emotion and experience with me. The crowd lending their claps to the beat, and now all of us involved in making the music. The music continues to flow out of Prince, he isn’t even performing now, he is just a conduit for the songs themselves which seem to be coming from a higher place. Nothing Compares 2 U keeps the crowd quiet, yet involved, firstly clapping, and then Prince coaching us through the lyrics. Purple Rain comes quickly after, and then we get our final upswing to the finish.

The last fifteen minutes will stay with me forever. First Kiss, I will always cherish this performance more than the song itself. Prince banging the keys, the top of the piano, the floor, anything to get that beat, that sound out. Like a man possessed by the muse herself, he would do anything to convey that sound, that feeling. And best of all, he swept me, all of us, up with him. All clapping stomping, singing, Prince was giving us his gift, the gift of music, to us all. Half Ray Charles, half Jerry Lee Lewis, he was feeling it and it was impossible not to go with him. Standing and stomping behind the piano, shaking his hips, he reclaimed rock n roll from Elvis and all that came after him. He took us back to the beginning, a man who was music itself driving out the songs, the beat.  Then to emphases this point further he picked up his stool and started banging it on the floor to create a new beat. Quickly picked up by the crowd I find I am a puddle of water as he plays the unreleased Purple Music.  The music pours down upon us,and I am having an out of body experience, I am literally beside myself at this point. I am not alone, all around my people are singing,clapping, dance, expressions of pure joy, no one the least bit self conscious. The hall takes on the feeling of one, and this spiritual moment is highlighted as Prince plays Free Urself, the crowd clapping and chanting to Princes call of “wheres the choir?” No longer a concert, it is now a rally, a congregation singing in unison. 2500 people have now become one, and Prince is no longer performing, he is guiding us and channeling the music through us. The song goes for ten minutes, but it might have well an hour, I was so lost in the moment. Prince skips from the stage, and we sing and clap Free Urself for a good few minutes afterwards, not wanting this show, this feeling, to ever end.

Twenty minutes ago I came back to my room, opened up my laptop and tried to record every moment of the show, trying not to forget a single thing about a show that is simply unforgettable.

-Hamish