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Prince - Exquisitely Capricious and Musically Brilliant
BY David Stoyle FOR FR2DAY.COM Jul 26, 2010
Take a helping of Little Richard, add some James Brown and Jimi Hendrix, shake it up with huge portions of self-belief and charisma, and you are on your way to the recipe for Prince. Checking into the Hotel Negresco in Nice this weekend, he takes exception to the wall decorations and storms off into his limo demanding a new hotel, stays there sulking for ninety minutes until his team manage to get him into the Martinez. He's a spoilt baby, but he's a musical genius, and by midnight the Nikaia is filled with adoring fans that have witnessed a superb two-hour show and will forgive him anything.
Prince plans to set up an annual musical event in the South of France, and has made an official offer to take over the Nice Jazz Festival. If this weekend is anything to go by, it's going to be a difficult but ultimately rewarding relationship!
At Nikaia, the set starts with a piano playing the riff from "Purple Rain". Slowly the stage fills up with musicians and a dancer. The music builds up to a slow crescendo and on walks the elfin one, dressed in a spectacular white suit to sing the opening verses. This performance is so brilliant - the guitar playing so ecstatic and so intense, it's one heck of a way to start!
Straight into "Let's go crazy" and "1999", Prince is constantly calling on the audience to sing along with him. But this French audience is not picking up on the words and in "Musicology", finally he gives up and has us all singing "Oh...Français!" . The audience participation gets even more evident as he invites a dozen girls from the audience to come up on stage and dance with him for "Time to get Funky".
Prince loves false endings - so many of his songs seem to stop, only for another round of the chorus. But the concert itself also has false endings, as he goes off three times and comes back for more. After taking us through a sublime version of "Nothing Compares 2 U", he moves into "Take Me with You" and then "Guitar". This is a really strong moment as he pulls off a series of astonishing solos, assuring his beloved that he loves her like he loves his guitar - before throwing the guitar into the audience. All very reassuring for the girl in question.
And so for an encore performance of "Little Red Corvette" that sparkles with its fine dynamics, followed by "Kiss" - complete with the reference to "Dynasty" updated to "Sex in the City"! He leaves the stage once more, this time coming back to take us through a great rendition of "Mountains", and then getting the entire Espace Nikaia jumping up and down to "Housequake". This turns into an extended jam with a bit of "Shake Your Body" by arch rival Michael Jackson, and into Sly Stone's "Want to Take You Higher".
Back for the final three songs, Prince delivers a very intense version of "4ever in My Life", before running into "When Will We B Paid" - his rant about the way the music industry works. "Dreamer" was another great moment in so many tonight, as Prince morphs into Jimi Hendrix - this is so close to Hendrix's "Freedom". The show closed with "Dance (Disco Heat)".
The impresario comes on at this point to tell us that Prince has left, but will be doing an "After show" jam at "Le Palais" in Cannes. This show runs from 4 to 5 am, and is mostly covers and tributes - strictly for the most dedicated Prince fans.