Rock Prince + Dap Kings = Royal Flush
Prince--one couldnâ€™t help but wonder if he would be the resulting product of a love child between Jimmy Hendricks, Michael Jackson, James Brown and Elvis.
The Iconic Prince Invades Madison Square Garden
8:42pm: Lights at Madison Square Garden fade to black. Deafening screams fill the darkness.
Anticipation builds as eyes strain to catch a glimpse of “The Purple One.” Moving shadows of band members and backup singers approach the stage. Screams grow louder.
Camera phones have epileptic seizures. The poignant aroma of marijuana invades unsuspecting nostrils as smoke engulfs the stage. More shrills. Still no sign of Royalty.
Suddenly, like a vapor, the image of a man appears atop a baby grand piano. The elusive figure does a complete 360 turn. Then the voice, poised to take command and hold captive the attention and hearts of a sold-out crowd, utters:
“Got enough pictures? Let’s get busy then!”
Lights up, hearts thumping, energy soaring…Alas, our Prince upon his throne! Welcome to America.
At this point, minds are completely lost. Those left intact, suddenly disintegrate when the first notes of Doves Cry ring through the air. The beloved hit is cut short as Prince declares, “I got too many hits.” How appropriately accurate and deservingly cocky of him. Such a tease.
To appease the hungry audience, Prince, dressed in a long-sleeved shirt, unabashedly bearing an image of himself, posterior accentuating pants and metallic gold sneakers, dishes a tantalizing medley of his all-time classics.
As if the audience needs a reminder, Prince assures his loyal subjects that they indeed “are in the best place on the planet right now,” while purple confetti fell from the heavens. Identical twins, appropriately named, The Twinz, donning matching faux-hawks, metallic gold leggings, ruffled tops and a cream and gold adorned jacket, added double the excitement (especially for male fans) as they paraded around Prince in choreographed sequences. Meanwhile, he effortlessly worked the stage with his electric guitar, hardly breaking a sweat while single-handedly strumming its strings and striking multiple chords of approval and ecstasy from his admirers.
The mood became erotic with one word: “Shh.” As Prince beckoned the audience not to interrupt the flow, undoubtedly, happy homes were rocked, as wives and girlfriends alike momentarily ditched their partners to fantasize over the smooth sounding, hair-caressing, body-rolling tempter. With the heat turned to the max, a cold shower was much needed. Relief came in the form of the fast-paced, beat-thumping Musicology, which broke into a full-on, hard-core electric slide by Prince and his back-up singers. The entire night, Prince bust out moves like a school boy at a 1989 high school dance: wild and untamed.
Inviting the capacity crowd to entertain him for a moment, to which they so graciously obliged, Prince & Co. belted out lyrics to Raspberry Beret. In attempts to decipher if hormone levels had been restored to normal, he asked, “New York are you hot?”
The roaring crowd responded, “No.” Again, he posed, “Do you know why?” and they shot back, “Cuz we’re cool!”
The Artist couldn’t help but laugh at himself when he sang, I’m so cool, ain’t nobody bad like me. Chuckling, he added, “I can’t stand it, I wrote this!” The Twinz reemerged in full-bodied, sequence leotards holding mirrors to check up on how cool they really were. No need ladies. The consensus is in…ice cold!
9:35pm: After a high-strung rendition of “You Got The Look,” The Amazingness that is Prince, made the first of several disappearing acts into the abyss below the custom designed stage, shaped like the Artist’s signature emblem. Moments later, his amazing trio of singers, dressed in black leather ensembles, as if ready to satisfy any dominatrix fantasy known to man, took center stage and offered up a sultry remix of Sarah McLachlan’s In The Arms of An Angel. The raspy urgency in their voice mixed with the chaotic drums and lingering bass, was enough to send you way back in the pews of a beautiful Baptist Church and lead you straight down the alter in search for repentance of sins you knew not of.
9:43pm: Roll out the purple carpet, for the Prince has once again arrived! This time clad in a purple silk, button-down top, with the same booty-hugging pants. He brought up to the stage, Gossip Girl’s, Leighton Meester, who got the role of her life as Prince, himself, serenaded her, along with funk saxophonist, Maceo Parker. Surprisingly, Prince --and Leighton-- kept the performance pretty PG. Leighton did, however, receive a towel infused with the Royal’s sweat as a keepsake.
As Leighton caught her breath, the rest of the Garden nearly needed medical attention once the words, “I never meant to cause you any sorrow” left Prince’s lips. The droplets of water falling outside the Garden may have been clear, but inside, it was a sea of Purple Rain. Drenched with emotion, sweat and even tears, fans poured their hearts out as they sang along.
10:03pm: Disappearing act #2.The thousands of screaming bodies refused to believe the show was over.
Shouting ensued. Then yelling. Followed by clapping. Momentum building. Waiting, hoping, wishing, praying even, for America’s beloved Prince to intoxicate the air with his falsettos and catapult them into a state of sheer bliss.
10:09pm: He Delivered.
With the Garden lights pitch black, only his voice was heard. “Where am I” he taunted. “Is this New York?” he continued
CHEERS. State pride beaming.
“Y’all gotta go to work in the morning? I know times are hard, but can we party just a little while longer?” No complaints there.
Prince, now onstage in a purple, sequence, satin turtleneck, shared the spotlight with an overly excited (with good reason, of course) Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, who served as a magnificent opening act. Ms. Jones, with the energy of Tina Turner and a voice so smooth, I can’t believe it’s not butter, shimmied around the stage, owning every second trading lyrics of Love Bizarre, with Prince. Throughout the night the Master Artist highlighted the talents of Ms. Jones and her Dap Kings along with Maceo Parker, stating that what the audience was experiencing, was “good music, by good musicians.”
With the stage clear of any guests, a lone Prince stood center stage. One arm folded across his abdomen, the other resting on top, with fingers tapping his temple, deep in thought.
“Let me see…” he said seductively. “What should we do?”
Although a rhetorical questions, fans still shouted out song requests. Instantaneously the beat for, If I Was Your Girlfriend,” drops, sending the crowd in a sing-a-long, body-winding, hand-raising, finger-snapping, butt-bumping frenzy.
All manner of sanity was wiped away when Insatiable started. Female, and some male fans alike, stopped short of holding on to their undergarments and throwing themselves onstage. The ever-so-cool Prince strutted across the stage with the confident swagger of Denzel Washington a la American Gangster in one instance, and in another, broke it all the way down, thrusting hips and winding shoulders like an Alvin Ailey dancer performing Revelations.
Make no mistake of it, we have arrived at the “Hunny, the kids are sleeping, let’s get it on” phase of the show. When Scandalous broke out, Prince climbed on top of the piano, laid his back down, and slid upwards like a caterpillar in heat, gyrating his pelvis. All the while, releasing shrills that would make James Brown sound like he was whispering.
Many-a-fan would have traded their first born to be that baby grand piano, if only for a second. We’re no longer in Kansas Dorothy. Slap on the R rating and let’s have ourselves a show.
“Oh No! We can’t hit that! Somebody will get pregnant tonight!” exclaimed The Prince when the tune for Adore came on. Too late. Expect a spike in the birth rate circa September 2011. Well, while no actual cases of conception have been reported --as of yet-- one happy couple did get engaged during the arousing number.
10:25pm: Disappearing act #3. Could it be? The end? Impossible.
A somber note is no way to end a concert, at least NOT a Prince concert.
The Twinz surfaced with matching, peach colored, Serena Williams-esque “boom boom” shorts, purple tops, leg warmers, and roller-derby sneakers. As they skated across the stage, audience members, which included celebrities: Jimmy Fallon, Mos Def, A.J. Calloway, Questlove, and BET’s Stephen Hill, were invited to rock it out with the Prince of Rock himself. While most remained in control, Jimmy Fallon let loose and took the title, Baby, I’m A Star, to heart, jamming out to the fiery guitar strings and thumping beat, first by himself, then with one of The Twinz, and finally proceeding to jump up and down on the stage as if Tom Cruise’s spirit on Oprah’s couch had suddenly possessed him.
Can you blame him? Prince tends to bring out the animal in us all. Other stars in attendance included Ed Lewis, Madonna, and Donald and Melania Trump.
10:39pm: Disappearing act #4.
Stage Clear. Lights Fade. Coats on. Baby, we ALL feel like stars.
What a Night! Now that’s how you end a party! Or is it?
10: 43pm: Prince’s fifth and final reemergence was introduced by only two words. “Dearly Beloved.” Mayhem ensues. He truly is the gift that keeps on giving.
Earlier, he confirmed that he knew he was expensive and would ensure that we received our money’s worth. Mission accomplished. Let’s Go Crazy, transformed the Garden into an asylum. Big Bang flare consumed eardrums.
As Prince worked every crevasse of the stage and his body like a fine-tuned instrument, one couldn’t help but wonder if he would be the resulting product of a love child between Jimmy Hendricks, Michael Jackson, James Brown and Elvis. And then it came, along with screams and content hearts. As if it truly were 1999 all over again, a party happened that night.
After dismissing his singers, he pointed to an unidentified audience member and said, “I want to do this last song for that girl right there, because she’s just a peach.” At this moment, every tree in Georgia willowed.
10:56pm: The Royal Roller Coaster of Rock, comes to a complete stop with the lingering last note of a piercing guitar string. The same guitar he would throw into the audience, almost causing a stampede. His Highness exists.
Still anticipating. Still hungry. Still yearning for more, fans glue their gazes to the stage in hopes of a sixth appearance from underground, maybe this time from the ceiling. Anything’s possible.
The house lights come up, crushing any dreams of the sort. Husbands and wives reconcile. Beer bottles toast. Camera phones explode. Tweets sent. Facebook status updated.
This was a night to remember. A moment in History. A true Purple Reign. In the presence of greatness, we bowed down, and together, all hailed the Prince.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Prince returns for one final performance of his, Welcome 2 America Tour at Madison Square Garden on Monday, February 7, 2011. Get your tickets today, Your sweetheart will thank you for it.
"Speaking Truth To Empower."
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It was sexy to be against the war back then. He was probably in it to get laid.
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