CONCERT REVIEW: Prince proves once again it’s always about the music

167011895pb00023-2013-billbFrom My review of the Prince concert at Mohegan Sun on Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013.

UNCASVILLE — The best thing about Prince is the fact it’s always about the music.

The riffs. The melodies. The lyrics. Put together, that’s what matters the most.

Prince Rogers Nelson — the Minneapolis-born musical savant — reminded the 9,270 or so fans who jammed themselves into the Mohegan Sun Arena on Saturday night of just that.

It’s about the music. Intense music. Dance music. Beautiful music. Everything else appears to be nothing but white noise that gets lost in the hour-to-hour, day-to-day act of living one’s life.

Twenty four hours after a putting together an opening-night show of two hours and 25 minutes, Prince was back at it with an entirely different set list that went two hours and 20 minutes and included a trio of unique and vastly different encores.

Over the decades that have made up his career, the 55-year-old has remade himself time and time again.

He’s been a top-40 phenom (30 singles have made it on the list, 10 albums that have gone platinum), and he’s been a movie star (1984’s “Purple Rain” was my own introduction to the man and his music).

He’s also been a down-right odd ball whose name was once changed to a symbol.

But given a stage and a musical instrument and the muse to make something incredible happen, Prince has never failed.

Backed by a 22-person ensemble that include back-up singers, an entire conglomerate of various horns and his latest back-up band — the staggeringly talented New Power Generation and his latest all-girl trio of 3rd Eye Girl — Prince exploded into this, his first Connecticut performance since 2004, and never let up.

“Act of God” was his opening number — and it only seemed right considering that such an act would explain how much talent could be put into a diminutive 5-foot-2 bundle of musical genius.

For more than 25 minutes, Prince got the crowd off of its feet and partying. Without stopping, he transformed the band through one song to another, including cover hits like “What Have You Done For Me Lately” and “Dancing Machine.”

Then, he took his fans back to what many feel were his glory days, tearing back-to-back through “Take Me With U” and “Raspberry Beret.”

It was a night that included many of hits — some of which he hadn’t played the night before — and he even included a different yet still stirring powerful version of “Let’s Go Crazy.”

Entertainment Weekly aptly described it as a “slowed-down Zeppelin-ized version” of the hit song.

It also showcased his ability as a guitar player.

Adding more proof to the concept of the music being all that mattered was the fact Prince constantly urged his fans to put down their cell phones and enjoy the music.

At times, in fact, Prince asked for the stage to go totally dark so the fans wouldn’t waste time being distracted by their devices and could focus slowly on the music.

His first “encore” — it was more like a second act — featured Prince alone on the stage, sitting at a piano, offering up snippets of songs to his fans.

From “How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore” to “The Beautiful Ones”, from “Diamonds and Pearls” to “Strange Relationship” Prince sat there, back lit by a single spotlight, and just played, letting his music do the talking.

The band joined him once again for “Sign Of The Times” — kicking off a nine-song sampler of more hits, including his bringing the house down (and some lucky individuals on stage with him) for “I Would Die For U.”

Prince’s second encore was perhaps his greatest moment as two words brought the crowd into being one: “Purple Rain.”

Without a doubt, Prince’s greatest song ever, he and the band gave everything they had as the crowd sang along with him.

The only bad part of the night occurred next.

Following “Rain” the house lights stayed down for an extended period of time, leaving many to think one more encore was forthcoming.

Finally, though, the house lights came up and much of the Arena departed and left the building — only to find out somebody hit a switch prematurely.

Prince returned a third time with “Days of Wild” — Friday’s show opener — an included seven interpolations of other songs as he rocked well into Sunday morning.

Sadly because of somebody’s mistake many of the people who shelled out some major dollars didn’t to see the ending.

Toss in some very amateur video-making skills by cameraman that were sent up to the big screens on each side of the stage and there were some minor things fan could have complained about.

But, as Prince has always said, it’s all about the music.

And because of that this legend did not disappoint.

• • •

Prince returns to the Mohegan Sun Arena stage for one more night, Sunday, at 8 p.m. The Cabaret Theater” will be hosting an “After Party With Prince” following the show. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster or the Mohegan Sun box office.


One comment on “CONCERT REVIEW: Prince proves once again it’s always about the music

  1. Mike says:

    I have to strongly disagree. Prince did disappoint. After shelling out nearly five hundred dollars for two tickets my wife and I expected more from our seats. Much more. To begin, the opening act filled the arena with unwanted jazz music that serenaded the crowd into boredom and anxiousness for some rock n roll from Prince. This was not Bourbon street and the crowd were not jazz enthusiasts. When Prince finally did come on stage, nearly two hours after the 8 pm start time, the crowd was restless. Prince started in the spotlight with a bang and was powerful with hit songs and dance …but plunged quickly into lights out darkness accompanied by no name songs and over stretched guitar solos. And with respect to the supposed “second encore and greatest moment” of singing Purple Rain…well we must’ve been at different concerts. My memory of the song is Prince maybe sang one or two words and left the rest of the lyrics to the crowd. Hardly a singalong as you describe it. Most artists will at least sing the song and then do a second rendition to include the fans. Prince missed the first part and skipped right to having the crowd sing it all for him. This brought many complaints from my section of Prince enthusiasts. We didn’t pay to hear the crowd sing…we paid to hear Prince sing. All this coupled with the poor big screen camera work, the mistakes with turning lights on and off….and much of the show being in the dark at Prince’s request led to quite a disappointment. You obviously must have ducked out of a back alley exit or you would have heard many fans echo the same. Disappointment.

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