So this was Hit and Run II where the gig w...as announced the day before. With mouse poised on the stroke of Midday I was lucky to secure three tickets within the four minutes that they were available on line before both the early and late sets sold out.
The only details we had were the doors would open at 5.30. On arriving at the venue at 5.40 we were greeted by the world’s largest stationary conga. The queue did not so much go round the block but past the block onto the next block around Morrisons ending in a not so salubrious housing estate where we played a game of dodge the water bombs being thrown by the local kids. At least it was just water.
An hour later we enter the packed auditorium. The band come on at 7 and advise us punters to put our mobiles away as the phone gestapo will be out there.
The wee man arrives and breaks straight into a slowed down version of ‘Let’s go Crazy’. What follows is a two hour musical history lesson rattling through the hits and still leaving us all wanting more. Prince has one of the most comprehensive back catalogues of exceptional songs and tracks from most of the albums feature with a heavy slant to Purple Rain and 1999.
The all-female band complements the main man who alternates between hard funk rock guitar and spells behind a keyboard to bring the show some light and shade. He really is an exceptional musician and arguably in the top bracket of guitarists alive today with Morello and McCready.
The show reaches a climax with a ten minute version of Purple Rain. It’s a show stopping moment and I’m reduced to a little tear such is the emotion. There have been a few evangelical moments in all of my years of gig going, Peter Gabriel singing ‘Biko’ at Clapham, Prince signing ‘The Cross’ at Wembley, Steve Earle singing ‘little rock n roller’ at the Fiddler and this one joins the list. Truly amazing.
Three encores later we leave the venue in broad daylight wishing I could do it all over again for the late show. Even at 55 Prince is still the real deal and arguably the greatest performer on the planet. If you have never seen him, beg, steal or borrow to get a ticket or just join a long queue outside a small London venue sometime soon.
On reflection I think Gav you might be right, fucking awesome.