not a member? click here to sign up
Prince at the O2 Arena, London
The audience witnesses Prince in his full-blown, mercurial, magisterial pomp. The Earth Tour is a misnomer – it’s out of this world.
Mark Keane, 29 Aug 2007
Does Prince ever do things by halves? When straight-jacketed in an uncomfortable record deal, he resigns his identity and goes into limbo. When wanting to provoke the ire of high street music retailers, he gives his latest album away with a newspaper. When eager to reconfirm his status as a live musician non-pareil, he books himself into a 20,000-seat enormodone for a 21-night residency. That’ll be a no then.
The Earth “Tour” – it doesn’t leave London – has caused such a flabbergasting amount of media hyperventilation, it’s easy to forget that Prince is not exactly the most relevant of recording artists. His lukewarm recent albums are tantamount to a tacit acknowledgement that he doesn’t have that Midas touch in the studio any more. What he does have in his arsenal, however, is a limitless amount of charisma, an amazing repertoire of hits, and probably one of the best live shows on the planet.
Witnessing Prince emerge from a trap door in the ‘Symbol’ shaped stage, shrouded in dry ice, to the strains of ‘Purple Rain’, can safely be taken to the vaults as some of my most prized rock-and-roll bullion. After the gloriously spine-tingling full whack of the eight-minute version, one immediately forgives Prince any of his later day foibles: the guy is simply a genius. Both ‘Cream’ and ‘U Got The Look’ reinforce this opinion, with a seriously funky directness.
Even in the flesh, Prince still possess that quasi-alien, androgynous, Little Richard/Jimi Hendrix hybrid quality that has always marked him out as not really of this earth. His lithe frame, endless energy and imperious, face-melting fretwork could easily suit a man half his age. He’s not exactly doing the splits anymore, but he’s the consummate showman, repeatedly toying with his audience like it was his own plaything. “You’re not ready for me, London”, is his chosen mantra tonight, frequently goading the crowd into hysterical screams, while he stalks the stage with his flamboyant dancers The Twinz.