I was fortunate enough a couple of years ago to see Prince perform in an intimate venue at London’s Roundhouse. I hadn’t expected a 55 year old pop star in elaborate clothing to belt out songs like he used to, but instead Prince blew the roof of this former Victorian steam engine shed.
Not only did Prince play a two hour set that was so incredible it would turn a Christian to the devil’s music, but he also came back on 1.5 hours later and did it all again on the same stage! If he was jetlagged from having just flown in, it definitely didn’t show.
At the time I wouldn’t have called myself a dedicated Prince fan, mainly because I wouldn’t often get home and put on an album even though I owned 3. That’s the thing with some musicians, we don’t identify ourselves as fans but if someone held a gun to our head, we could sing every lyric. I was 8 years old when Purple Rain was released so just a bit too young to really appreciate it fully at the time, but then I heard Sign O’ The Times and Alphabet Street and they sealed my fate as a Prince fan.
So when the pint-sized-music-giant, played two secret gigs in the Camden’s Roundhouse, I jumped at the chance to see Prince and his beautiful backing band 3RDEYEGIRL play.
There are some musicians who make performing look effortless. Who hit the right notes, jump around the stage whilst manipulating the strings on a guitar and who never appear breathless during high-octane sets. Prince and his merry band of musicians played a two hour set which would leave most performers foaming at the mouth. It was perfection. A sound and performance that was honed over the course of forty years, without feeling like they were simply going through the motions or of being so pre-rehearsed that it lost the magic of the moment.
Seeing Prince Live
The atmosphere on the night and walking away from the gig afterwards, was electric. The sound was so large it filled every space and appeared to please every generation from young teens up to those in their 70’s. That to me is the true sign of a timeless musician!
Eric Clapton was once asked what it’s like to be the best guitar player in the world. He told the interviewer that he didn’t know and they should go ask Prince. So having seen Prince slide his fingers up and down the neck of a guitar and unleash an electrifying and familiar sound I definitely agree.
The music world has lost another giant and although many more will come and go, they will never be another quite like Prince.