Setlist (deviated from the printed version)
In typical Prince fashion, the show was announced a mere couple days prior and lines started forming early that morning for a show than would no doubt, run into the wee hours of the night. The big room at Paisley is impressive—an open 12,500 sq. ft. soundstage that held some 1,200 fans with a fine-tuned sound system and full lighting rigs.
All corners filled as the pre-show festivities started just after 10pm, with an hour-plus of music featuring singers Shelby J, Liv Warfield, and Elisa (Fiorello) Dease doing a short set each, backed by all-female band 3rd Eye Girl and the well-dressed 11pc. New Power Generation horns.
The crowd was teased with ‘Days of Wild’, but no Prince appearance, until after 10-year old Brianna Curiel sang her heart out of the appropriately-named cover of Etta James’ ‘At Last’. Prince emerged from the shadows to congratulate her just before midnight then promptly ripped into the set opener, ‘1999’ and followed with the combination punch of ‘Diamond and Pearls’ that immediately whipped the crowd up.
The well-rehearsed band(s) then took to a medley with seamless segues starting with Andy Allo’s ‘People Pleaser’, morphing into the new ‘Ain’t Gonna Miss U When U’re Gone’, and ending with a thumping ‘F.U.N.K.’ Slowing the tempo down for a simmering ‘Dark’, the trademark falsetto had females swooning and lead sax man Marcus Anderson wailing on cue.
A stark ‘Something in the Water (Does Not Compute)' featuring only keyboardist Cassandra O’Neal was stellar then the tempo was brought back up by his ode to “real music played by real musicians” ‘Musicology’ which segued into ‘Love Rollercoaster/Play That Funky Music’. Sadly, that was the only time Prince briefly played guitar during the set, though 3rd Eye guitarist Donna Grantis more than held her own all evening.
After half-teasing the show might be over and flashing his trademark grin, the audience was treated to an emotive ‘Purple Rain’- “This is your song, Minneapolis”, he remarked before Anderson blew his solo with little abandon.
Photo of Setlist
Not as overall impactful as his October 2009 three-hour performance at Paisley, the show seemed more of a vehicle to highlight the introduction of the new horn section and underutilized 3rd Eye Girl’s impressive talents as a result. Of course, we all missed his unparalleled guitar work and from my vantage point, wished his vocals were further up in the mix, but those are minor quibbles. The performance itself was mesmerizing and the rare chance to see the master at work at his own place.
Prince seemed very at-ease to play at home- walking through the crowd banging a tambourine, fist-bumping fans, and telling stories and jokes from the stage. “Should we do this again next weekend?” he asked the crowd – the answer was incredibly obvious.
Prince at Paisley Park, Chanhassen (10/05/13)
NOTE: Image above is a screengrab from the live stream