Prince and 3rd Eye Girl's Pajama Dance Party at Paisley Park, 10/19/13
Paisley Park, Chanhassen
Saturday, October 19, 2013
There are a couple of adjectives starting with the letter G you could use to characterize Prince's Saturday morning show at Paisley Park, but the most apt one, unfortunately, is grueling.
When Prince finally took the stage in the early hours of Saturday morning, it was great. But by then, even if breakfast could wait, getting home and getting some sleep couldn't for much longer.
See Also: Prince at Paisley Park, 10/5/13
Doors were at 2 a.m., but since nobody wanted to be left out in the cold, my group endured a frigid half hour-long line outside Prince's gigantic office park-esque Chanhassen headquarters before we got in. Once inside, we were dismayed to learn the only refreshments for sale were water and juice -- and, of course, $1 pancakes. For folks like me who worked early Friday, pregamed in between clocking out and heading to Paisley Park, and were doing everything possible just to say awake by 2 a.m., booze would've been nice, but hell, coffee probably would've been even better.
But no matter -- we were at a Prince show, so we figured the music would provide sufficient energy. Nothing happened on stage, however, until after 4 a.m. So the first two hours of the Paisley Park experience consisted of standing around what looked to be a gigantic gym looking at an empty stage and eyeing folks' outfits while dance music played over the PA. By the time Danielle Curiel finally hit the stage to introduce her "Breakfast Can Wait" video, some of the more tired among us were strewn on the floor, passed out. You couldn't blame them -- it felt like Prince was trolling us.
That feeling only grew stronger after Curiel's video played on a gigantic screen behind the stage. As the Prince faithful tepidly cheered, Curiel introduced a "behind the scenes" clip from the "Breakfast Can Wait" video shoot. Groans could be heard emanating from the crowd. But then, with the stage again empty, roughly a half dozen remixes of "Breakfast Can Wait" played over the PA, one after the next, as people stood around staring at each other with bewildered looks on their faces. At this point, some were surely wondering whether the $50 "donation" they spent to get in was one of the more regrettable investments of their lives.
Finally, at about 4:30 a.m., Prince and 3rd Eye Girl took the stage as the Purple One wished us all a good morning. Their roughly hour-and-a-half set was very rocking and featured many Band of Gypsies-style tunes I hadn't heard before. Prince did his best Hendrix impersonation throughout, gesticulating and rock-star grimacing during soaring guitar solos. The six-string interplay between Prince and 3rd Eye Girl guitarist Donna Grantis was exceptional at times, but the songs began to sound formulaic after a while -- four-chord riff, awesome distorted guitar solo, riff, out. In sum, the show provided ample rock, but insufficient funk.
Frankly, it would've sounded better had many of us not been closing in on 24 hours of being awake and/or four hours since our last drink when the band finally took the stage. As it was, the hoots of encouragement were intermixed with yawns, and the show didn't get the deliriously enthusiastic response that seeing Prince rock out balls-to-the-wall should.
After about an hour and a half of music, the show ended, seemingly without an encore -- not that too many folks were clamoring for one by then. (It was later brought to my attention that Prince and 3rd Eye Girl did eventually return to the stage for an encore set featuring "Shockadelica" and "I Would Die 4 U," among other tunes. Regrettably, I wasn't there for it.) Around 6 a.m., we walked into the brisk Minnesota morning feeling like high school seniors who had just endured the world's strangest and most sober all-night party.
Critic's Bias: I saw Prince and the New Power Generation doing their jazz fusion jam thing at the Dakota in February and frankly, that was a better show. On that evening, Prince was more James Brown than Jimi Hendrix, and many in attendance wished he would've picked up his axe and played more. Prince has to work harder with 3rd Eye Girl, which, unlike NPG, doesn't feature a horn section or a keyboard player. (Though Prince hopped behind the keys for a few tunes Saturday morning, including "Purple Rain.")
The Crowd: White, youngish, and mostly clad in either PJs or Halloween costumes. By 4 a.m., tired, yawning, in some cases passed out. And, for the most part at least, sober.
Overheard: "Prince is like a right-handed mini-Jimi."
Setlist (I might've missed a tune or two, and again, I missed the encore set -- hat tip to drfunkenberry.com for helping me fill in some of the blanks):
Chaos and Disorder
She's Always in My Hair
I Like It There
The Sweeter She Is (cover)
Crimson and Clover (cover)
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