Boston Worcester Palladium

The man is clearly brilliant...

Do U want 2 see Prince’s latest party trick? Do U want 2 see how much talent a 42 year-old can pack into some tight purple trousers? How about how many hits he can fit into one show? The queue of people wrapped around the block to see Prince’s ‘Hit & Run’ tour kick off obviously want to.

But wait…rewind here a second. Prince?! Didn’t Prince go the way of the dodo? There’s the Artist and the Squiggle-Thingy, but we lost Prince right? Or did he lose us? No matter, the real question is, do we even care at this point?

Well, as an extra-funky-for-flavour version of ‘Controversy’ rolls into a hornier-than-thou romp through ‘Cream’, it’s clear that Prince is indeed here, he’s fallen back in love with his old record collection, and yes, we do care. We care a lot. The cocky bastard knows it too. And it’s the way he coos [I]”You want me just as much as I want you”[/I], smirks, spins, and struts away from the mic on ‘Do Me, Baby’ that make his last few years of musical masturbation an even more frustrating tease. He’s in a giving mood tonight though, humping the speakers, legs, and nostalgic hearts around him, and laying out all of our favourite hits like an ex wooing the jilted.

The man is clearly brilliant. Wincing, stacked on platform heels, the purple one sprays ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ with neon guitar graffiti. He pours syrupy soul all over ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ and gives ‘Diamonds And Pearls’ a glossy R&B shine. The ghost of the Artist hangs in the room though, and when saxophonist Najee adds his supposed, jazzy blue-note hue to ‘Purple Rain’, we hold on tightly to the New Power Generation and pray we aren’t pulled into some sort of Kenny G-ish new age.

The first-night kinks wouldn’t stand out so much if Prince didn’t bring attention to them. “Welcome to rehearsal” he quips angrily, after a flubbed guitar change. Maybe his only problem is that there is just too much good stuff. Maybe it’s a pressured well-meaning effort to satisfy every desire, that causes him to cut off would-be-climaxes like ‘Little Red Corvette’ and ‘When Doves Cry’ before they really get going. Oh well, watching him slither across the floor and dive head first into the knee-deep groove of ‘Kiss’ makes such complaints seem about as serious as candy floss.

Catch him while you can. For now, his name is Prince and he is funky. Who knows if he’ll remember that tomorrow?

Benjamin Wolford