There is one thing that you always know when walking into a Prince concert — that there is no such thing as a routine Prince concert. Well, that theme clearly rang true at this past Monday’s Prince Concert in Oakland.
In typical prince style, his show was over-the-top and extravagant, with his signature “TAFKAP” symbol as the centerpiece. Even with the extravagant production quality of his Oracle Arena show, the centerpiece was actually excellent music. Prince is a performer and this was obvious during his almost 2 hour set for this his, Coming to America tour.
I have never really considered myself a “Prince Fan” (shocking, I know), but after seeing him get 45,000 people up and dancing at the 2008 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, I quickly became a fan. So, when he announced that tickets would go on sale for a show in my area, I jumped at the chance to buy tickets (and waited in a virtual “ticketmaster.com” line…but, that’s another story).
The show opened with Graham Central Station’s Larry Graham (from “Sly and the Family Stone” fame), but of course, Prince came on stage during the opening act to do a cameo guitar performance for a rendition of Everyday People. That was the first clue that this would be a special night.
Prince didn’t really play all of his hits and even commented by saying “I have a lot of hits, we could be here all night.” However, I think many of the people in the crowd would have been willing to take him up on that offer, myself included.
Playing along side the incredibly talented drummer and vocalist Shelia E (Glamorous Life), as well as his usual cast of characters Prince really did make a mundane Monday night in the East Bay something to remember.
I have to say that one of the most memorable parts of the night was when Prince’s special guest, the Bay Area’s own Carlos Santana came on stage to perform a guitar duet. For some technical reason, Santana’s guitar did not work, so Prince gave him his rhinestone-embellished guitar and ran over to the piano for some quick improvisation. Truly incredible.
Of course, his fans didn’t want the night to end and after an incredible performance of purple rain, Prince came back on stage to give us all one more song. After he was done, the entire arena was on their feet clapping and yelling for him to come back out. But, the house lights came back on signaling the end of the evening. Needless to say, that wasn’t enough Prince for one night – as he came back on stage to perform another song with all the houselights on for almost 1/2 of the song. He truly is a performer and is clearly beloved by his fans (myself included).
With the success of that show, he quickly announced another date later in the week, which most certainly sold out as quickly as his announcement. If you ever get a chance to see this man in action, I highly recommend it. OH…and, he played a good sample from my favorite Prince song of all time – Raspberry Beret.
Preview and buy some music by prince: