Prince : Detroit Joe Louis Arena

Prince goes crazy on the opening night of his Celebration World Tour, cranking out the old hits and amid guitar heroics and grand piano tinkling.


Detroit Joe Louis Arena

“Detroit, I’m back,” Prince declares as he breaks into a Woodstock-in-the-morning Hendrix lick that flames into ‘Let’s Go Crazy’, kicking off his Celebration World Tour. Tonight’s Prince is a mature Prince, dressed in a green tunic and bell-bottoms, happy to be back in his second home. He exhibits the same energy that he did in this very arena some 20 years before, but now with a bit more musical skill and a clearer artistic vision.

With time comes a certain amount of comfort and freedom, and this regal son takes full advantage of his rock royalty status. He struts, he wiggles, and he gyrates on top of his grand piano during a drawn-out on stage drama that precedes ‘Little Red Corvette’. During ‘Sexy Dancer’, he has a stage full of people, mostly audience members, doing their best to keep up with him as he zigzags throughout them while wailing on his guitar.

His medley-like hit parade, which includes ‘Raspberry Beret’, ‘When Doves Cry’ and ‘When You Were Mine’, is broken up with short instrumental interludes and contortionist floor routines performed by an agile and beautiful dancer. The hits dont stop there, though. After a brief escape, he reemerges as the Purple Prince and sets himself down in front of a sparkling grand piano. Teasing the crowd once again, he tinkles a few recognizable notes and stops to wait for begging applause before launching into an intimate set of favourites that culminates in a blues-inflected, Little Richard-like ‘Delirious’.

After an epic ‘Purple Rain’ ,Prince bids Detroit adieu and runs offstage only to come back one last time to crank out ‘U Got the Look’, ‘Kiss’, and ‘Get Off’ to thousands of ecstatic fans. “So many hits, so little time,” he says. Damn straight.

Ken Taylor