4:54pm Friday 16th May 2014
Some people are supposed to be late and allowed to be late, writes Steve Zacharanda.
Prince is one of them, he is one of the greatest artists alive so waiting half an hour for him was not even frustrating.
The anticipation was brilliant. Knowing I was getting to see the purple one for the first and maybe last time was incredible.
The LG Arena is a giant vacuous soulless shed of a venue whichever way you choose to get there is a ball ache.
I've seen so many talented artists lose the crowd as the atmosphere sapping venue beat them into submission.
However, Prince got the place so rocking that people were singing Kiss on Birmingham International train station platforms 20 minutes after the gig had ended. He finished, after rightly moaning about the NEC curfew, with a cover of Wild Cherry's Play That Funky Music, and in the previous two and a half hours he had.
We all knew we had seen something special, those £70 upwards tickets had been worth every penny.
Yes, he was self-indulgent, teasing songs that he did not play, but then again I would be self-indulgent if I was Prince. I'm self-indulgent and am just an idiot from Perry Barr so Prince can do what he likes. The androgynous afro-haired funkster is a living icon who combines sexiness with an other-worldliness which only adds to his enigma.
Of the Holy Trinity, Madonna, Michael Jackson and Prince, all born around the same time and who reinvigorated music in the late 70s and early 80s he is the one still standing, literally and artistically.
Wacko Jacko died trying to beat Prince's run of concerts at the 02 and Madonna is clinging on to her youth like a cat on a curtain. His latest collaborators 3rdEyeGirl have the swagger of Jay Z before he got in that lift.
3rdEyeGirl generate more power than an juiced up East European shot putter's thighs. Their new stuff is blinding and did not detract from the classics Prince had to play, Pretzelbodylogic with an epic bass solo was brilliant.
Seeing Prince play guitar at such close quarters was an honour. I love Jimi Hendrix and seeing Prince playing guitar is as close as I will ever get to seeing the greatest guitarist of them all.
The guitar looked an extension of his arms, he seemed note perfect and best of all he seemed to be really enjoying himself.
From the moment he let balloons float into the sky signalling 3rdEyeGirl's entrance the pint-sized genius had the crowd in rapture.
His third song Raspberry Beret got the crowd going and his set kept everyone's energy up. Kiss and Let's Go Crazy followed and got this old creaking body of mine dancing.
Something in the Water (Does Not Compute) was poignant and pulled at a few heartstrings, mine included. Then when the unmistakable riff of 1999 started it was bedlam around me, people shouted the lyrics to the sky and they jumped around. I kissed my two mates and told them I loved them and meant it.
Then came Red Corvette. A wander round the crowd was also fun, seeing so many smiling faces and a few familiar ones, it felt like an occasion not a procession. I was back with my mates (thanks to the bloke with the mohican who was the perfect reference point in a sea of heads) when Hot Thing started.
No-one around me knew the name of the song, the combination of a dirty bassline and futuristic synthesizer that got me dropping the A-bomb on the dancefloor reminding me of great nights in grubby house clubs in years gone by.
The closing half an hour included Nasty Girl, The Most Beautiful Girl in the World, Pop Life and finally I Would Die 4 U. His return on the stage for an epoch-altering version of Purple Rain blew my mind, I almost burst into tears I was that happy. It was like losing my virginity, scoring a goal and getting to the toilet after walking in need for miles all rolled in to one.
It rained when he sang Purple Rain during the Superbowl interval a few years back and I remember thinking it would be incredible to see the song performed live so when I heard those chords as the purple lighting shone through the glitter shot into air I felt complete. If I had gone with a woman, even a rubbish one I'd just met in Lidl, I'd have proposed on the spot.
But as it was I went home alone, but safe in the knowledge I saw Prince, and no-one can take that away from me.
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