Prince at the Ogden Theatre, 5/13/13, reviews and setlists of both the early and late shows
Kevin Mazur. See also: Slide show: Prince fans at the Ogden last night.
PRINCE @ OGDEN THEATRE | 5/13/12 | EARLY SHOW
In a bold move during his first show at the Ogden Theatre last night, Prince played "Purple Rain" three songs in. But instead of the version we all know and love, he played piano, and the band subtly backed him up. Even without the signature guitar solo, it had all the grace and passion that made the original version so iconic. And that was just one interesting and bold gesture of this show, which seemed to be made entirely of such moments.
The show began with the curtain drawn and the voice of one of the members of 3rd Eye Girl reminding the crowd not to take any pictures, urging them instead to just enjoy the show or risk being escorted out for the transgression. What might have come off as an admonishment from someone else came off in a friendly way. After a short pause, the band came on stage and went right into a syncopated, hard-funk reinterpretation of "Let's Go Crazy," and, naturally, most everybody knew the words and sang along, which seemed to please Prince immensely.
Prince himself looked like he had stepped through a time portal from early 1970 after taking some style tips from Jimi Hendrix, particularly his hair, which was closely coiffed in a kind of mini Afro, and he carried himself like the kind of rock star he is, only it's clear that he hasn't forgotten that music is supposed to be fun and imbued with passion and energy. Both Prince and the band maintained this vibe from the first song to the last.
There was a lot of playful interaction on stage, and near the end of "Screwdriver," Prince said, "Donna, play your guitar, sister." That ignited Grantis, who fired off guitar licks that wove in perfectly with Prince's own. At the beginning of the song, Prince joked as he has on much of the tour, asking if we minded if he and the band lip-synched. He chuckled a moment, then said, "You mean you like real music?"
For this set, Prince didn't dip back into his first five albums at all, but that was understandable, as much of his best material came with Purple Rain and after. For the later material, Prince offered heavier, hard-rock renditions of the songs.
The version of "I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man" performed at this show, in fact, felt like what it must have been like to see Led Zeppelin circa 1972. The guitar work was flashy, fiery and vibrant and not excessive so much as exuberant, as Grantis and Prince strode the stage back to back and made their guitars cry out in a way you rarely see. It wasn't guitar wankery but rather an improvisational tour-de-force.
Continue on for more on the early show and a full review of the late show.