Local Current Blog

Prince throws an unforgettable Paisley party, hints at more next weekend

Fans line up outside Paisley Park (Author's rendering)

Prince proved once again Saturday night that the best purple parties are the last-minute purple parties. He united his power trio 3rdEyeGirl and his sprawling NPG for a punchy, potent set that kept Paisley Park packed until 2:00 in the morning.

Word of the show got out just days beforehand, and fans started lining up outside Paisley’s gates early in the afternoon on Saturday. A line grew and snaked down the street across from Prince’s home and studio despite the cold temperatures and relentless rain, and by the time doors were scheduled to open at 9 p.m. there were a couple thousand fans, a news van, and police swarming the streets in quiet, tightly controlled anticipation.

Paisley Park’s soundstage is relatively large (12,500 square feet, with the space to hold over 1,000 fans) but feels intimate, and even before he took the stage Prince could be spotted in the wings, directing traffic and talking to his band. The show started promptly at 10:02 p.m., when many fans were still filing into the building, and kicked off with over an hour of music performed by NPG’s three back-up singers, Shelby J, Liv Warfield, and Elisa Dease.

Each vocalist took turns performing a short set of their own songs backed by the NPG, and as the band settled in and found their groove the energy started to build in step with fans’ giddiness. By the time Liv Warfield finished her fiery turn at the mic it seemed like Prince was about to come out, and the singers traded verses on a dramatic cover of “At Last” and stepped back into the shadows as the band tore into “Days of Wild.” But the song carried on without vocals and Prince was nowhere to be seen, so the group took a few quick solos and then filed off stage, handing things over to the DJ around 11:30 p.m.

With no phones allowed, nothing but water available to drink, and the room too crowded to do much dancing or mingling, the next 30 minutes were a jittery affair, with fans singing along to cuts like OutKast’s “Ms. Jackson,” Snoop Dogg’s “Drop it Like It’s Hot,” and Prince’s own “I Wanna Be Your Lover.” For a moment, it felt like we were all at a middle school dance, awkwardly shifting our feet and trying to figure out what to do next. But right at midnight the band re-appeared and launched into “At Last” again, signaling the start of the evening’s next chapter.

The three singers moved to the center of the stage again, but before they could begin the song a confident pre-teen girl in a black-and-white striped suit coat shoved them aside and proceeded to deliver an electrifying, hurried version of the song. As the NPG singers moved out of the spotlight they revealed that Prince had also taken the stage, and he stood next to the young singer (who he introduced as Brianna Curiel) and watched in awe as she kicked off his set.

From then on out it was a straight-up Prince show, with the 11-piece NPG and all three members of 3rdEyeGirl uniting to blast off funky, horn-laden riffs behind Prince as he sang. The set started out with a pair of hits, “1999” and “Diamonds and Pearls,” before winding into the longer, more complex medleys and jams that made up much of his residency at the Dakota last winter.

The band sounded incredibly tight, even more so than they did at those Dakota shows, and had clearly rehearsed not just the songs but intricate transitions between each number. This was especially clear on a medley that strung together Prince protege Andy Allo’s “People Pleaser” with new song “Ain’t Gonna Miss U When U’re Gone” and “F.U.N.K.,” with each song bleeding into the next and building an incredible momentum.

“Ain’t you tired of trying to please people all the time?” Prince asked at the top of the medley, following up his question with a little impromptu bit about a man and a woman arguing about who was going to do the grocery shopping and cook dinner. As with the shows at the Dakota, Prince proved to be an engaging and entertaining banterer throughout the night, cracking jokes and telling stories in funny little voices and generally doing everything he could to rile up the crowd.

When he was about 45 minutes into the set he stopped and teased the audience, saying that he might be done for the night but that we could stay and dance to the DJ. But the crowd loudly protested and he turned to shoot us all a sly grin, then tore open a wrenching version of “Purple Rain” that showcased just how strong and soulful his voice still is after all this time.

After several years of shying away from the spotlight and playing shows everywhere else but here, it truly seems that 2013 is the year Prince is trying to reconnect with his hometown crowd. It was evidenced in the hit-heavy set list he chose for Saturday night’s party, in his demeanor throughout the night, and in the way he dropped the word “Minneapolis” into nearly every song, at one point stopping during “Purple Rain” to say “This is your song, Minneapolis! Own it, Minneapolis!”

Prince had a keyboard set up at the edge of the stage and seemed like he was going to sit down and play it at one point, but the only time he picked up an instrument was for a fiery solo at the end of “Musicology” and leading into a punchy medley of “Love Rollercoaster” and “Play That Funky Music.” Honestly, his vocals were so strong throughout the night and 3rdEyeGirl’s Donna Grantis proved so capable on the guitar that it didn’t really seem like much was missing, but the crowd certainly ate up that brief moment when he strapped on his own axe.

The band came back for an encore at about 1 a.m., and Prince re-emerged in a new outfit (he traded a slinky, silky, and bejeweled vest and turtleneck for a Sgt. Pepper’s-evoking maroon tunic) and paid tribute to Larry Graham with a joyous cover of “It’s Alright.”

“You know I like to play practical jokes; look at my outfit” he joked after that song, returning to his little character sketch of a woman and man arguing about dinner and talking about a woman who left him. “Take me back,” he pleaded, then turned to the audience and said, “Minneapolis, take me back! Please, Minneapolis!”

And with that he brought Shelby J back to the front of the stage for a powerful duet on “Nothing Compares 2 U,” another of the night’s show-stopping moments. He followed it up with the Time’s “Cool” and a sprawling, scintillating cover of Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough,” which he dedicated sarcastically to entertainment giant AEG.

Of all the things Prince said throughout the night, though, one question stood out above all the others. Before playing “Purple Rain” he stopped, looked out at the crowd, and calmly asked, “So, should we do this again next weekend?” And I think you can guess what the audience had to say about that one; everyone in attendance did our best to tell him a resounding “YES.”

Prince at Paisley Park 10/5/13 set list:

1999
Diamonds and Pearls
Old Friends For Sale
People Pleaser / Ain’t Gonna Miss U When U’re Gone / F.U.N.K
Dark
Something In The Water (Does Not Compute)
Musicology
Love Rollercoaster / Play That Funky Music
Extraloveable
Purple Rain
Breakfast Can Wait
Mutiny

Encore:
Act of God / What Have You Done for Me Lately?  (NPG singers)
It’s Alright
Nothing Compares 2 U
Cool
Don’t Stop til You Get Enough / Partyman

Previously:

 

  • Jennie Cauwels

    The BS part was that all the people who showed up at the shuttle site for the 7:30 shuttle and only waited 5 minutes got let in before the people who were waiting outside Paisley Park at noon. Still, it was a great show from anywhere in the room, and I’m glad I clocked all those hours outside in the rain.

    • Martin J. Runge

      That’s not how Prince rolls ! Get a clue !! No preferential treatment to fanatic fan nut jobs …ever !!! Follow the rules next time , calm down and maybe you’ll get in !!

      • Jeff

        we would have followed the “rules” if any of them were actually stated ahead of time. i guarantee that if they said to not line up and just go to Lifetime Fitness for the shuttles, everyone would have done that. blame poor organization not the fans. the word from Prince’s management ahead of time was that Lifetime was simply OVERFLOW parking, not the way to go.

        • Jennie Cauwels

          Right. There was nobody there to organize in any official capacity to direct anyone to overflow parking, and the staff that was interacting with the fans never told or asked anyone to go elsewhere. There were no signs. Nothin’.

      • Jennie Cauwels

        I wouldn’t call myself a “fanatic fan nut job”. This is the first Prince show that I’ve been able to attend because it’s the first one I could afford since moving to the area. You are, apparently, a bigger fan than I am, since you seem so well versed re: how Prince rolls. Sorry, dude, I’m new here. As far as your accusations of rule breaking go, I am a pretty conscientious human being. If there had been any signs posted anywhere, or any detailed information available, I certainly would have followed it. I followed all of the information available to me.

  • Danny Book

    Never did tell us where the damn shuttle was.

    • Andrea Swensson

      The shuttle picked up from the Lifetime Fitness nearby. Which wasn’t communicated very effectively, it seems.

      • Kayleigh B

        Not to mention that the shuttles were dropped off inside the gates of Paisley Park, while security guards held the line of people who had been waiting outside for hours. In the end, those of us who had been outside since noon or one at the front of the line were admitted after the shuttles of individuals who had come at 8:00 or even later.

  • Kim Emery

    Spot on review! I was at 2 Dakota shows and the Myth and they sounded so polished last night. Prince’s voice was so clear and rested. I love the new NPG and 3rdeyegirl. I’m loving this year of Prince. I was also at his last Paisley show a few years back. Thanks for letting us in again! It was a great night.

  • frankles

    Two things: A. Who is Brianna Curian? B. I really like your doodles. I thought about doing the same thing for my review.

    • Andrea Swensson

      I did some searching and found out a little more about her today. She is a 9-year-old singer from L.A., and she and her sister Danielle Curiel were flown to Paisley to be part of the show. As far as I can tell, either one or both of them are going to be featured in Prince’s new video for the song “Breakfast Can Wait.” Here’s a photo Danielle posted to Instagram of the two of them taking a private jet to Minnesota: http://instagram.com/p/fDhJ-EQrvf/

      • Vladimir Curiel

        Hello, I’m Brianna and Danielle’s dad. I hope everyone enjoyed Brianna’s performance when she sang “At Last” opening up for Prince. And yes, Danielle or “Dani” is my 18 year old who was contacted by Prince and asked to write a treatment for his upcoming song “Breakfast Can Wait”. She created and produced the video and the man himself fell in love with it. I hope when it launches that it meets and/or surpasses their expectations.

        • Kevin

          How cool :)

        • Richele

          I saw the video at the after party. Very well done! Talented, beautiful girls you have!

          • Vladimir Curiel

            Thank you Richele. My three girls have been working very hard these last few years.

      • frankles

        Looks like her big sister Dani is a pretty big part of the video: http://instagram.com/p/d5yl6ZQrjn/

        • Vladimir Curiel

          Dani is the main dancer for the video. Brianna was just there to open up for Prince.

          • frankles

            Thanks for the info! Always nice to get it from such a direct source.

    • Vibeke

      Brianna Curiel is the little sister of Danielle Curiel who made the music video for Breakfast can wait.

  • George Trudeau

    how many people did not get in to see the show?

    • Jennie Cauwels

      Not sure. Security was saying 3k was the max allowed in, I was about #300 at 4:30pm, and after all the shuttle people were let in, I ended up being about 1280 on the clicker. And I was definitely in the first quarter of the line.

    • Jen

      I’m pretty sure everyone got in. I was somewhat near the end of the line (arrived at appx 8pm, got in the doors around 11). There were two girls who tried to cut in line near us a couple of times just before we got onto the property and the security guy at the gate was all over them, making sure they went to the back of the line and stayed there. And I did see those two girls inside.

      • Jeff

        I know people who got in line at 9:15 and got in. the place holds a lot more than you’d think.

      • circus flips

        Those were probably the 2 girls that tried to ram their way past my friends and I and then lied to us about “being pushed” into me, when clearly, they were the only people in the place rude enough to push people. At any rate, we held our ground and when Prince sang “Why do you lie?”, they seemed to stop smashing their bodies into mine. That was a relief, since asking them to “Back off” did NOT work.

  • Dan Woods

    They jammed “It’s Alright” ? Now I’m hurt that I missed that one. Hope to catch them doin’ that in the future. Hot song.

  • Martin J. Runge

    I was there this review is spot on !! The rolling blown review is a joke ! Kudos !!

  • LucianaCamino

    Prince singing a Michael Jackson song, that is something to think…

  • Richele

    Perfect review! I was in line at 4pm and it was well worth it. Met some great people in line. Show was phenomenal! After party and private performance by Prince and 3rdeyegirl for about 25 of us was a dream come true!!! Still on cloud 9.

  • Karyn Denise

    omfg im so jealous i love this muthafucka ,best performer ever ,,,i love u prince

  • Tarrah Garcia

    The decision whether to take on of the last cul-de sac parking spots, or to try and track down a shuttle and risk not getting in was not an easy one. We arrived at 3 and ultimately decided it was better to keep the gates in our sight line was safer. For the record, last time I attended a Paisley show the shuttle picked up at a park n ride a few miles up HWY 5, how did everybody find out about the Lifetime fitness shuttle? It was a long….painful wait, when I saw those busses go in, I’ll admit, I was annoyed but going these shows……in his turf, is more than worth it, he seems to be happy and comfortable there. Watching him walk through the dark 2 feet from me in the crowd making eye contact is unexplainable……indescribable. He can’t do that at Myth or The Dakota or some club in L.A. and I don’t think the intentions to make us wait for “not following the rules” was malicious. I think the guards were doing their jobs. So after 7 hours of being cold, wet, thirsty, having to pee, having pre applied mascara run down my face from the 2 mile walk to Target for provisions, consequently getting bumped back 150 people in line, not being able to feel my feet, listening to some 20 year old talk about how “Prince owns first ave”, it was worth it, We all know it was damn worth it.

    • Tarrah Garcia

      P.S. if the daycare was smart the would sell hot dogs and coffee :)

  • thechimes

    I love how you drew pix for this. Nice work.

  • Morris Mills

    what are The rules? I never been ;-)