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Prince kicks off 'Welcome 2 America' tour in New Jersey

Purple one plays greatest hits at Izod Arena

Prince launched his new website by playing a private gig at his Los Angeles home at the weekend (January 31). The show, witnessed by a handful of competition winners, journalists - including NME.COM and invited guests including soul singer Anita Baker and Prince's protégée Bria Valente - saw the "purple one" perform a mammoth set with a full band in the basement of his Beverley Park mansion until around 3am. Pic: PA Photos
Prince opened up his 'Welcome 2 America' tour last night (December 15) with a show at the Izod Arena in New Jersey.

Performing in the centre of the venue on a giant stage shaped like his trademark 'Love' logo, the frontman galloped through two hours of his greatest hits.

Following some unusual pre-show entertainment in the form of some of his own songs played over the PA while part of Disney film Finding Nemo was shown on the giant screens, Prince arrived on stage in typically dramatic fashion via a hydraulic platform.

The centrepiece of the first half of the show was a spectacular 30-minute set of some of his biggest hits, blended together without pause. In amongst the sequence were 'Uptown', 'Raspberry Beret', 'U Got The Look' and 'Cream', the latter of which he dedicated to himself with typical modesty.

Other highlights included 'Nothing Compares 2 U' and a cover of Sarah McLachlan's 'Angel', sung entirely by Prince's backing vocalists.

The set also featured guest contributions from his two hand-picked support acts: jazz musician and vocalist Esperanza Spalding, who took Sheena E's parts in 'If I Was Your Girlfriend', and soul singer Lalah Hathaway, who duetted with Prince on 'Diamonds And Pearls' and 'Sometimes It Snows In April'.

The singer invited members of the crowd on stage to dance as the band rounded off the night with an extended version of 'Controversy'. He is due to play the venue again on Friday (17), before taking the show to New York's Madison Square Garden the following night.

Prince played:

'Laydown'
'Black Muse'
'The Beautiful Ones'
'Uptown'
'Raspberry Beret'
'Cream'
'Cool'
'Let's Work'
'U Got The Look'
'Shhh'
'Angel'
'Nothing Compares 2 U'
'She's Always In My Hair'
'If I Was Your Girlfriend'
'Insatiable'
'Scandalous'
'Adore'
'Purple Rain'
'Kiss'
'Sometimes It Snows In April'
'Diamonds And Pearls'
'All The Critics Love You In New York'
'Controversy'

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