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Prince Covers Pearl Jam, Rocks Hometown Show With 3rdEyeGirl

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Michael Kovac/Getty Images

Michael Kovac/Getty Images

“Am I from here?’ Prince asked as the Minnesota crowd roared to life as the curtain opened on the second of two shows at the Myth in Minnesota on Saturday (May 25). The audience, lovingly referred to as “Hometown” throughout the night, may have paid close to $300 for their tickets, but they experienced an unforgettable show by Prince in full-on rock and roll mode.

Starting the night off with a heavy blues rock remake of “Let’s Go Crazy,” Prince flaunted his new backing band, the all female 3rdEyeGirl. On drums, beautiful blonde Hannah Ford, belting out lyrics as she laid down solid rock drums and thunderous tom fills. On bass, Ida Nielson, with her pointed pigtails and heavily distorted blues basslines, brought the funk with bass pops and slaps that compelled the audience to dance. And on guitar, Donna Grantis, with her wild hair flowing over her half shaved head, ripped through fiery guitar solos and lead riffs that would bring a smile to any rock god’s face. And smile Prince did.

Wearing a purple jumpsuit with a tall rolled up turtleneck collar and bellbottoms, afro and a black fringed leather vest with chrome punk rock studs, Prince didn’t bother to hide how much fun he was having playing in front of his hometown. The Purple One was all smiles, getting serious for only a moment, asking the crowd ‘Can I lip sync the next one?’ as he went into the new song “FIXURLIFEUP.” Prince seemed to be sticking a finger in pop music’s eye, then saying “Isn’t that what they Expect us to do?’

After playing a couple full throttle new songs, the evening switched to older Prince material, giving the Minnesota crowd some of the ’80s classics they wanted, with Prince playing piano and organ. 3rdEyeGirl played the part of backing band well, letting Prince shine in his classics, hitting a groove that only night-after-night of rehearsals and playing shows can bring. It is clear that Prince still knows how to put a band together, and though this was the last show of his “Live Out Loud” tour, fans were surely hoping that they haven’t heard the last of 3rdEyeGirl. But that’s not to say there weren’t grumbles.

With tickets close to $300, many Minnesota fans were put off by the Purple One’s steep asking price. Although, just a few days before the show 2nd and 3rd tier tickets became available for $99 and $149 respectively, with the full price 1st tier tickets gaining unlimited drinks and preferred viewing. Also, absolutely no cell phones were allowed in the venue. Stern warnings were issued to the outside line by megaphone that full pat downs and searches of purses would take place before going into the venue, and anyone seen inside with a phone or recording device would be asked to leave. The crowd seemed content, a rare chance to disconnect from the outside world and just be together, enjoying the music and the Purple Party.

For the first encore, Prince swooped into an emotional “Purple Rain” with Bobby Z from his former band The Revolution on drums. After playing another song Prince thanked the crowd and wished them goodnight. But everyone seemed to know better and was rewarded when Prince and 3rdEyeGirl walked out on stage in front of the curtain, spotlights illuminating them in the pitch black club. Through a silly game of telephone, Prince whispered to the girl on his right, who whispered to the girl on her right, who said into the microphone that Prince no longer had a voice. A few boos went out and Prince whispered down the line again and the girl said with a big smile that he still had his fingers! And with a sarcastic look over his shoulder as the curtain opened and he strapped on his guitar, Prince and 3rdEyeGirl finished out the night with a funky all instrumental version of Pearl Jam’s “Even Flow.” Worlds collided, minds were blown, and with a raspy “Thank you,” Prince ended the show.

For a taste of what it’s like to see Prince Live, check out the new 3rdEyeGirl featuring Prince ‘FIXURLIFEUP’ video below, portions of which were filmed at a ‘Live Out Loud’ show in San Diego — and if you still want to catch the Purple One live, get your tickets to the 2013 Montreux Jazz Festival now.

- Adam Greenwald, 104.1 Jack FM Minneapolis

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