Thursday, January 20, 2011
I was lucky enough to score tickets for the third installment of Prince's "Welcome 2 America" tour at Madison Square Garden last night. Better than the second show, but still not quite as transcendent as the first, the legend played for nearly three hours and was joined onstage by the incredible Sharon Jones (plus some Dap Kings) and jazz musician Maceo Parker.
Though he did play deep-cut classics like "Controversy," "Nothing Compares 2 U," and "The Beautiful Ones" over the course of his run, it still boggles my mind as to why he played "1999" at all three dates, but never got into "When Doves Cry" nor "I Would Die 4 U."
Other observations about last night's show: at one point, Prince brought Leighton Meester up onstage—a cushioned chaise seat already waiting for her—then proceeded to serenade the Gossip Girl with the help of Maceo Parker. Also, the ballerina who appeared during the first two shows was seemingly replaced by some amateurish "twins" who looked like they choreographed their own dances at a sugar-buzzed sleepover party. I was genuinely concerned for them when they circled the stage in Heelys.
Despite this minor nitpicking, it was still a great honor to be in attendance. The show was inspirational, uplifting, awing. I've now seen Prince as many times as I've seen Judas Priest—and it feels just right.
For all you Paisley Park enthusiasts, here are the setlists for his December 18, December 29 and January 18 shows. And as a bonus, an extended live version of "I Would Die 4 U" from 1985.
Double Bonus: The Twilight Singers' take on "When Doves Cry," featuring Appolonia.