Prince played a secret ‘open soundcheck’ at Camden’s Electric Ballroom yesterday, and I was lucky enough to be there with a handful of guests, fans – and two Mumfords. We rushed in to the auditorium at 12am to find Prince and band already onstage, so close you could almost touch him. (You wouldn’t have got away with touching him).
Back at the front of a tight, four-piece band, the show really showcased Prince’s incredible guitar skills. After wringing a few wailing solos from this custom guitar, he passed it into the crowd to give them a go.
The point of this guerrilla assault on London’s small venues is to introduce Britain to Prince’s new, all-female band 3rd Eye Girl. Most of the material played was from the forthcoming album ‘Plectrum Electrum’.
Performing in front of a mic decked out with two versions of his insignia, Prince embraced the small crowd as an opportunity to interact with his audience, leading them in singalongs, playing funk bass over the crowd’s clapped beat and firing out mystic one liners. “Music is a painkiller,” he said at one point. “It’s all you need.”
The crowd were forbidden from taking pictures during the show, so many took the opportunity to snap the space where Prince had been after the 1am finish.