Prince: Atlanta Civic Center

The Artist Now Known As Prince Again performs new track 'The Work' as well as the hits...

If you’ve seen some artists once you’re seen them a hundred times. But not The Artist. When The Artist Formerly Known As The Artist Formerly Known As Prince comes to town you never know what type of show you’re going to get. Or what type of shows.

Currently circling the country on the “Hit N Run” tour (dates announced one week before with tickets going on sale one day before the date), the recently rechristened Prince and company have been selling out shows all over, including two in Atlanta this past weekend.

Easter Sunday marked the third Atlanta appearance by Prince in the last year. And while the seating may not have been as satisfying, $75 is a bargain for the type of show he puts on. He opens up the show not with a well known number, but with an entire hour of 15-minute funk workouts – including a slowed-down version of Sly And The Family Stone’s ‘Everyday People’ – featuring a pimped-out Larry Graham (of ’70s funk group Graham Central Station) on bass, and occasional female back-up singers, Milenia. Just making sure the instruments work, Prince says. Like George Clinton, Prince plays for hours, and this opening set is the kind of thing you expect at one of the Purple One’s legendary aftershows.

And after a 15-minute intermission Prince and the band return to give their Fams what they’ve come to expect on this tour: the hits. For two straight hours the group played a set much like November’s, songs like ‘Uptown’, ‘Controversy’, ‘I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man’, ‘Little Red Corvette’, ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’, ‘Diamonds and Pearls’ and new numbers ‘The Work’ and ‘U Make My Sunshine’, the latter a song with lots of falsetto and sex appeal. Occasionally Prince pulls people onstage to dance, but he’s like a stripper: you don’t touch without permission.

At the stroke of midnight, though, like Cinderella, the show ends with ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’, and the house lights go up, three hours after it started. But about half the Civic Center’s large audience stay and are treated to two more: ‘U Got The Look’ and ‘Kiss’. And some people thought they’d seen it all.

Tony Ware