April 19, 2016

My Review - Atlanta 7pm Piano & A Microphone

"Atlanta! Please forgive me for cancelling.  We're here now!" Those nine words were enough to drive the crowd at The Fox Theatre in Atlanta into a purple frenzy.  Then as Prince's delicate fingers glided across the keys of his piano and we were greeted with the familiar, "I guess I should've known by the way U parked U're car sideways.." the crowd absolutely lost their minds and would not find them anytime soon.  And that is how Prince took over Atlanta.  Exactly one week after having cancelled his shows due to the flu, here was Prince taking us to a place many had never been, to musical nirvana.  Seemingly fully recovered from the illness that caused him to cancel the previous week's shows (although we later found out different), the Kid was in rare form tonight if I may be so bold to borrow a line from a little known film called Purple Rain. As has been customary on the Piano & A Microphone Tour, Little Red Corvettewas mashed up with Dirty Mind and I have really gotten used to both songs this way.  As he has done the last several performances, Prince added in the Linus and Lucy Theme during the instrumental break of the song and this really brought a reaction from the crowd.  At first many were like, "What is that song?" or "Where do I know that from?" Then when they realized what it was they were like "Oh my God, Prince is playing the Peanuts!!!" Plus the coy looks he was giving the crowd during this segment added to the whole appeal of the song.  The song ended as usual with the "can't nobody do it like I do" bit we have become accustomed to on this tour.

From there, Prince launched into a heartfelt Nothing Compares 2 U. After apologizing again for having to cancel the previous week, Prince goes on to tell us how his dad taught him how to play piano.  He then starts playing Chopsticks saying, "He didn't teach me that, I taught myself." He then tells how funk is space and how his father couldn't sing but shows how he would do this funky little scat with the music.  That leads us to Joy in Repetition which has long been a favorite of mine but has earned new found respect hearing it in this context. The way he uses the piano to accentuate the song is amazing.  Bringing to life the rain, the thunder and the emotions felt in the song with 88 black and white keys and that amazing voice of his.

After Prince whispered the words "Love me" to close Joy in Repetition, I was not at all prepared for what was about happen next.  I couldn't believe my ears.  I looked around at the crowd near me and all I saw was confusion as many of them had no idea what song he was playing. But yes, he was actually playing Muse 2 the Pharaoh from The Rainbow Children.  I hadn't heard this live since the ONA tour. After this, all I could do was wonder where we were headed next?

"Here we are folks. The dream we all dreamed of." Yes, he was playing U Got the Look and even slowed down on the piano, Prince made it funky as hell.  After all, as he said, "funk is space." Next up was Pop Life which got the crowd singing along. Then came another unexpected song, at least for me.  Elephants & Flowers talks about being stripped down and it doesn't get more stripped down than this.  Listening to Prince sing this song, I feel that even he has found new meaning in some of his songs and it shows in his performances. 

Next was I Could Never Take The Place of Your Man.  He changed the Saturday night line to a Thursday night to fit the show and the crowd ate it up.  There was a slight run of Under the Cherry Moon at the end of the song but that led to Joni Mitchell's A Case of U which is one of my all time favorite covers.  Let me tell you, when Prince sang the line, "In my blood like holy wine," the notes he hit were not of this world.  He sang that same line three times.  Each time he sang it higher.  The last time, every dog in Atlanta sat up and took notice it was so high. When he finished the song, he got up and walked off stage.Was he done? Where did he go?

Returning he said, "Sometimes I forget how emotional these songs can be. Okay, stay with it, Prince!" He then took us a on a musical journey starting with I Feel For You which gets the crowd clapping along.  From there, Prince pounded out a funky Controversy complete with the Lord's Prayer.  I was amazed at the people around me (and commenting later) that were like "I can't believe he added the Lord's Prayer to the song?" Pardon me while I climb up on my purple soap box.  So, all you so called hardcore die-hard fans that were shocked about the Lord's Prayer being included need to check the original album version.  Because it's on the album.  It was there from the beginning so why shouldn't he include it. And if you were half the fan you thought you were, you would have known that.  Okay, rant over and I'll climb down off the soap box now. 

The Most Beautiful Girl In The World was next on the menu and it was exquisite.  At the end of it he has this little dialogue where he says, "You think you know my name. You don't know my name.  I don't think you know anything about me." He then starts singing, "I'm not a woman, I'm not a man.." and leads the crowd in I Would Die 4 U.  Surprisingly enough, he followed up with Baby, I'm a Star.  In the original version where Dr. Fink would have had his solo, Prince just kept jamming on the piano and chanting "I don't need no doctor!" In my personal opinion, this was one of the best versions of the song I've heard in a long time.  As he finished the song, he said, "Thank you, Atlanta" and he was gone but not for long.
Prince performing David Bowie's Heroes
Returning to the stage, he absolutely made my entire night.  He played a cover of David Bowie's Heroes.  I grew up listening to Bowie long before I ever knew who Prince was so this was one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments for me.  I was mesmerized by Prince's performance.  Although it was not completely true to Bowie's original, it was still an amazing performance.  "Heroes, like you and me.  Thank you so much, Atlanta.  We've got some new family that's gonna come in, in a little while.  Thank you, goodnight."

But we weren't through and neither was Prince.  He returned to the stage for yet another encore.  "Ya'll don't wanna let our family come back in outside?" Prince asked.  When the crowd screamed a resounding "NO!" he replied, "All right" and started playing Diamonds and Pearls before stopping to tell everyone, "All right, ya'll take it easy now.  Just breathe." After leading the crowd on the first chorus, Prince really drove everyone crazy when he started singing Adore. Of course Adore was mashed up with The Beautiful Ones which then led into an aborted How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore? Instead Prince decided to stir things up with Do Me, Baby which turned into a 4000 member sing-along. Continuing the sing-along, Prince led the crowd through I Wanna Be Lover which he intended as his final song.

As he went to walk off stage, the crowd's roar was deafening.  Prince turned and played to the crowd by pointing at his piano as if asking if we wanted more. He walked back over to the piano saying, "I ran out of hits!" before he launched into Kiss.  The song ended with one final scream of "Atlanta!" Prince snatched up his jacket and cane and with that pimp-like attitude of "I just kicked your ass" he walked around the stage triumphant and then he was gone, this time for good. 

It was 80 minutes of pure purple music unlike any I have ever witnessed.  I have seen many Prince concerts and enjoyed most of them (there was one that I would really like to forget) but there was something special about this one.Maybe it was the uniqueness of the concept with just the piano and a microphone.  Maybe it was the stripped down, new arrangements.  Maybe it was me just getting older and learning to savor each and every moment.  I don't know but this was special and if you get a chance to attend one of these shows, by all means, attend.  I know I will go again if I get the chance. 
My new symbol necklace I wore to the Piano & A Microphone show
Well, there you have it.  I promised my review of the concert and here it is.  Now, if I could just finish up my reviews of Phase One and Two.  Maybe soon. 

1 comment:

  1. almost forgotten blog - almost - have ,,the good life'' Spooky274