Boston Worcester Palladium

Do U want 2 see Prince's latest party trick?

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’N’Run tour kick off obviously want to.

But wait… rewind 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, should we

even care?

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 records, and yes, we should care. A lot. The cocky bastard knows it too. And it’s the way he coos, “You want me just as much as I want you”, 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, humping the speakers, legs, and nostalgic hearts around him, 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 jazzy Blue Note hue to ‘Purple Rain’, we hold on tightly to the New Power Generation and pray we aren’t pulled into some Kenny G-ish new age.

Such 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 fluffed guitar change. Maybe his problem is that there is just too much good stuff. And maybe it’s a 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 headfirst into the knee-deep groove of ‘Kiss’ makes such complaints 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