Gig Reviews

Prince, Allphones Arena Sydney – 11/05/2012

Last night I saw Prince. LAST NIGHT I SAW PRINCE!!!!!!! It still hasn’t sunk in yet! Having grown up listening to His Royal Bat-ness, I almost felt like my entire musical journey had been leading up to Prince. In fact, four years ago whilst I was gallivanting through the streets of New York, I bought a vintage Purple Rain T-shirt and I distinctly remember saying to my best friend, “one day I will wear this to a Prince concert”. And wear it I did, with Purple Pride!

Stomach trembling with butterflies all tied up, by the time I got to the arena my excitement was palpable! The atmosphere was buzzing through a sea of purple outfits and raspberry berets. The merch stands were packed with punters trying to get their hands on T-shirts, posters, love symbol necklaces, and THE MOST BEAUTIFUL TAMBOURINE IN THE WORLD. It was black and embossed with a gold love symbol. I was sold, until I found out the price… $100!! I settled for a T-shirt instead. Merch in hand I was ready to take my seat – which was amazing!! I was staring smack bang at the middle of the stage from the first elevation! The only downside: capturing life-changing musical moments was banned. Raining on everyone’s Purple Parade, there were signs all over the arena as well as a big brother style voice-over warning that cameras and phones would be confiscated if a caught taking photos/videos. Committed to an exclusive Music Feeds Live Feed of the show, this news was very inconvenient! Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad Prince? Luckily by the time the show started up, even the security team were too mesmerised to give a fuck!

As darkness penetrated the arena, the crowd roared with rambunctious applause. The sound of thunder and effect of lightning striking on the big screen created a sense of suspense thicker than custard. Emerging through the stage trap door was a guitarist who delighted the crowd with an acoustic instrumental of Purple Rain. He was soon joined by a goddess-like creature, draped in a white flowy dress with the longest train I ever did see; the effect was stunning – the perfect build-up to our shining star. And then Prince took over his Love Symbol stage!! I’m pretty sure the crowd’s screams could be heard from Mars. A lot of shit was lost! He dazzled in a gold-sequined tuxedo for opening number, Gold! All that did glitter as the heavens opened with gold confetti basking the crowd. It was all quite fitting really, because let’s face it – Prince is a GOD!

Tone set, Prince jumped head first into a string of classics, including Jam of the Year, Delirious, 1999, Little Red Corvette and one of my all time favourites, LET’S GO CRAZY! Go crazy I did! He even did the amazing “dearly beloved” intro! I don’t think I’ve ever been so satisfied in my life! Joined on stage by a sassy black bald woman with a voice like honey, Prince had the crowd going nuts; look for the purple banana till they put us in the truck, LET’S GO!

Packing a whole lotta punch into his 3-hour set, Prince is well and truly the ULTIMATE performer. Engaging the crowd with his charismatic energy and love-filled banter for our hometown: “Sydney, we on a first name basis tonight”, he paid tribute to every hit imaginable through a series of medleys. He perfectly balanced his set with high-energy numbers such as Raspberry Beret, Cream, Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough and Cool, with classic slow jams including Sometimes it Snows in April and Love Thy Will Be Done, all interspersed by a dark stage and the sound of thunder, building up to the Purple Rain bound to downpour. I would give you a blow by blow account, but I’d be writing for years!

Worth particular mention was his lead-up to When Doves Cry, arguably his most renowned hit. He hyped the crowd by appealing to the old-school audience to educate the new-school crew on how many hits Prince got! At one point he said: “Slap the person next to you and count how many hits Prince got!” Who knew he was so funny!! By the time the actual song started up, the audience applause hit an all-time high! I’ve never seen so many people actually lose their minds! I will fondly remember crazy dancing away for the rest of my life.

During an instrumental sample medley, including Black Sweat and Paisley Park, Prince suddenly stopped mid set and said,”Y’all ain’t good enough for me, Goodnight”. Darkness filled the arena as confusion took over. Obviously he was building up to something special. And special it was: he returned with a bang and a glorious lineup of Sign O’ The times, The Most Beautiful Girl in The World mashed into Forever In My Life and I Would Die 4U. But that was just a warm up…

You know that feeling you get when you’re smitten with lust and you’re about to share your first KISS with your crush? Well folks, that feeling took over each and every person as Prince offered up a funked-up version of Kiss! He switched up the lyrics to include: “You don’t have to watch The Kardashians to have an attitude”, displaying his hilarity once more. The best moment came when he busted out some ridiculous dance moves to an instrumental medley, covering Thieves in The Temple. Time has had no effect on Prince; he is as agile as he was back in the day!

Darkness filled the arena once more as thunder took over, leading to the moment we had all been waiting for – Purple Rain. Prince really took his time with the build-up; the intensity was tangible! But it was very well played and worth it! By the time Prince started singing, the satisfaction was SO SO SO gratifying. Elongating Purple Rain for over 15 minutes, emotions were flying high as the crowd sung along and purple confetti fell from the ceiling. I had tears streaming down my face. The only word that really captures the moment is – MAGIC.

Drawing to an end, last song of the set was an uplifting mash-up of Controversy and Lovesexy. The lights were turned off as Prince urged the crowd to light the stadium with the glow of cell phones – the result of which was awe-inspiring. Exiting the stage, darkness emanated once more, suggesting an encore! Traditionally Prince does up to 4 encores based on the crowd reaction, so I was really hoping that everyone in the audience was just as excited as I was. Clearly that wasn’t the case. The people sitting next to me wasted their seats and left immediately. They weren’t the only ones: people were exiting left right and centre whilst the majority waited and cheered their hearts out. It’s true what they say: Prince really makes the audience work for his love because we waited a good 20 minutes before he returned to the stage with Peach, a song I didn’t initially recognise. As the lights went out again, all signs pointed to a second encore; however, this time the majority of the crowd left, causing the lights to turn back on shortly after. This was the only downfall of my evening. It angers me that there were people in the crowd who were happy to leave, yet genuine Prince fans missed out on tickets. Don’t go to a Prince concert because it’s the flavour of the month – go because you genuinely want to be there! Make an effort and learn the lyrics! Some of the crowd disappointed me last night, and clearly disappointed Prince, who was apparently already in foul mood. I have it on good authority from a friend in the Purple Circle that he threw a tantrum and chucked his guitar at one point. If you’re going to his show tonight, or any of his shows for that matter, make sure you stick around and cheer your fucking hearts out until he’s all encored out! Show him that we’re deserving of his love!

Despite this minor bump, I left the stadium feeling like a different person. I had witnessed one of the greatest performers of all time, the Goosebumps of which are still wearing off. I came home and blindly blew my budget on a ticket to his show on the 22nd of May. I can’t wait to relive the magic once more!

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