Last Thursday night, at an intimate gathering of just 200 at The Sayer’s Club in Hollywood, Prince proved that he truly is king.
The anticipation was palpable pre-show, while celebrities like Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Minka Kelly mingled in the crowd amongst members of Prince’s band.
The late-night performance kicked off with Cameroonian artist and Prince protege Andy Allo taking center stage. She performed her new single “People Pleaser,” the single off her upcoming album Superconductor, executively produced by Prince. The track had everything you’d want and expect out of a Prince track: a super-funky, wah-laden guitar hook, killer horn lines, and an undeniable soul groove. Mid-song, Prince’s 11-piece horn section flooded center stage, really kicking it out with their stomping, swaying, and undeniable playing. Prince jammed on guitar at the side of the stage.
When the first song was over, Prince took center stage. Alhough he (and the rest of the band, in fact) wasn’t dressed in typical over-the-top fringe and metallic stagewear, he was still funky in black bells, a grey sweater and heels—commanding the attention of every person in the house and lending a more intimate vibe to the performance.
Throughout the night, Prince played some of his classic singles, such as “Pop Life” and “U Got The Look.” Fresh off his performance on Jimmy Kimmel Tuesday, he also performed the new single “Rock n Roll Love Affair.” The track was a personal favorite of mine, kicking off with a glam-flavored T-Rex classic rock ‘n’ roll boogie overlaid with massive, massive horn hooks.
With so many talented players literally spilling off the stage (11 horn players, two keyboardists, two back up singers, two drummers, two guitarists, a bassist, and even a Sports Illustrated model/back up dancer) the energy was through the roof. At one point Prince jokingly said, “The name of this band is the TMP—Too Many People group.”
Later, Prince and his band ripped through a rollicking rendition of Sly & The Family Stone’s “Everyday People,” sending everyone’s hands in the air into a state of ecstatic-funk-bliss.
At the end of his set, Prince’s former bassist Andre Cymone (pre-Revolution era) came on stage looking super-fly in shades and white creepers to perform ”The Dance Electric,” a song written by Prince but originally recorded by Cymone.
Prince showed an undeniable ability to lead his band, both holding everything together and graciously allowing all of his talented band members to shine, allowing pockets for improvisation jams and spontaneous, heat of the moment unbridled solos. The result was one of the most incredible performances I’ve witnessed to date: both iconic and organic, tight and wild, raw and masterful.
Prince barely talked during the 90 minute set, but at one point during an extremely raucous jam, he pointed to his band and said “real musicians” and then looked at the crowd and said, “real music, people.” And that’s exactly what it was.