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It sure was generous of Prince to put out two albums in one day, but the Minneapolis groove guru sure was chintzy with his dabblings in 21st century internet promotion yesterday.
Last night, Prince hosted a webcast on Yahoo’s Live Nation channel at his Paisley Park studio complex in Chanhassen to promote his pair of new records, “Art Official Age” and “Plectrum Electrum.” The live stream lasted two hours – with lots of time-filler glimpses of various, non-private corners of Prince’s headquarters (yep, same '80s movie-theater-lobby décor as always) -- but in the end, the host only performed three songs.
To be fair, it was never officially advertised that he would perform. Fans got their hopes up when the @3RDEYEGIRL account on Twitter sent out a simple note an hour before start time: “Come,” a signal that Paisley would be open to the public (camera shots of the crowd made the place still look more than half-empty).
Prince’s other big online to-do around the albums’ release was a Q&A with fans via his new Facebook page. More than 24 hours after the 4,000-plus questions started pouring in, however, he has only answered one of them -- and it wasn’t really an answer, either, just a link to an article about 432Hz sound frequencies.
At least the three songs he played with his band 3rdEyeGirl at the Yahoo party were interesting ones. First and foremost, they brought out red-hot Los Angeles hip-hop star Kendrick Lamar to rap several fierce verses in the “Crystal Ball” deep cut “What’s My Name.” Many viewers of the stream were probably asking what Lamar’s name is, though, as Prince did not introduce him and the gabby Yahoo host (vlogger Shamless Maya) never seemed to recognize him. Here’s hoping the dude had other business in Minneapolis this week, or he came a long way for a whole lotta nada.
Yahoo did give good introductory screen time to new Prince protégé Liv Warfield, who helped him deliver the Sly & the Family Stone’s “Thankful n’ Thoughtful” to end the webcast. The performance started with a deep-grind version of the “Plectrum Electrum” track “PretzelBodyLogic,” the only song off the new albums to be performed. You can hear all three tunes near the end of the archived webcast.
Here's some of the reaction to the Yahoo party on Twitter under the #PRINCEGLOBALPARTY hash tag:
Yahoo act like they got a curfew. #PRINCEGLOBALPARTY— myra myra ☯ (@dualmyra) October 1, 2014
Really, Prince? You give us an hour and a half of insignificant sidepieces & nobodies & only allowed us like 30 min? #PRINCEGLOBALPARTY— 1976_Mellie G. (@EbonyStarr5) October 1, 2014
Maybe Reddit is more Prince’s style?
Lindsey Buckingham wasn’t as manic as usual. Stevie Nicks sang better than usual (clearer, less croaky and able to reach more high notes). The rhythmic section was as terrific as usual. And Christine McVie was back to her old steady, radiant self on keyboards and vocals. All of that was explained in my review of Fleetwood Mac’s tour-opening concert Tuesday at Target Center.
Nicks didn’t do her dervish dancing much, just as couple of spins on “Rhiannon” and on seven or eight spins in sloooo-moooootion during “Gypsy.” Even if she wasn’t very witchy, she seemed in good spirits. Buckingham was wired but less physically all over the stage, though at the end of his vocal numbers he either blurted out a satisfying “arrrrrggggh” or stomped animatedly in place.
Yes, as Mick Fleetwood said: “Fer sure, the Mac is back.”
Here is Fleetwood Mac’s set list from Tuesday:
Chain/You Make Lovin Fun/ Dreams/ Second Hand News/ Rhiannon/ Everywhere/ I Know I’m Not Wrong/ Tusk/ Sisters of the Moon/ Say You Love Me/ Seven Wonders/ acoustic set: Big Love/ Landslide/ Never Going Back/ full band: Over My Head/ Gypsy/ Little Lies/ Gold Dust/ I’m So Afraid/ Go Your Own Way ENCORE: World Turning/ Don’t Stop/ Silver Springs/ Songbird
Joan Rothfuss, author of "Topless Cellist: the Improbable Life of Chralotte Moorman."
Forget Pablo Casals and Yo-Yo Ma. Sure they were, and are, brilliant cellists, but those guys kept their clothes on. For sheer spectacle, madcap antics,exhibitionism and a generous dollop of cello skills, you want Julliard-trained Charlotte Moorman, a gal from Little Rock, AK who grabbed the avant garde by the scruff of its self-absorbed neck and -- in the 1960s and '70 -- dragged it onto the public glare of television variety and talk shows (Mike Douglas, Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin), shopping malls and prisons, and to New York City's Central Park, Shea Stadium and Grand Central Terminal.
In former Walker Art Center curator Joan Rothfuss, Moorman has found her perfect biographer. Rothfuss's "Topless Cellist: The Improbable Life of Charlotte Moorman," (MIT Press, $34.95) is fast paced, thoroughly researched, amusing, witty, compassionate, deeply informed and filled with jaw-dropping stories. Rothfuss will talk about Moorman and sign copies of the book at 2 p.m. October 5 in the Walker Cinema, 1750 Hennepin Av., Minneapolis. Free. 612-375-7600 or www.walkerart.org
Moorman played the cello while suspended from balloons floating over Australia's Sydney Opera House, performed on a cello made of ice, and often did her shows topless, in the buff, wrapped in cellophane, or wearing the "TV Bra," a contraption that sported two mini-televisions, one for each breast, in plexiglass boxes attached to transparent straps.
In February 1967 she was arrested (during a topless performance), tried and, in a sensationalized trial that generated huge publicity, convicted for violating "community standards of decency." Though humiliated by the incident, she embraced the "Topless Cellist" nickname that it spawned.
"TV Bra," was designed and built by Moorman's longtime companion and fellow avant-gardist Nam June Paik and is sometimes blamed for the breast cancer from which she died in 1991, age 57. To test that assumption, Rothfuss had the bra checked by a physicist who measured the radiation it emitted and concluded that it was highly unlikely that Moorman would have gotten cancer as a result of her performances while wearing it. "TV Bra" is now in the collection of Walker Art Center along with Paik's "TV Cello" and other Moorman/Paik memorabilia.
As a friend, colleague, pal and sometimes irritant to many contemporary artists, Moorman is remembered in Rothfuss' book by Yoko Ono, Jasper Johns, Allan Kaprow, and others too numerous to mention.
"Topless Cellist" is a brilliant portrait of a true original and the chaotic, confrontational, destructive, absurd era in which she lived. It's also a must read for anyone who was flirting with Artland back then, or wishes they'd been on the scene. A portrait of the times as much as the woman, "Topless Cellist," gives a full measure of a life lived with "extreme passion, extreme sex, extreme beauty."
RIP Charlotte Moorman, 1933-1991
UPDATE: The full rundown of the Blowout X shows and an interview with members about calling it the last year is now posted here.
It’ll be 10 and done for Doomtree’s annual Blowout concerts.
The Twin Cities hip-hop collective just announced that this year’s early-December music marathon will be their last -- but they’re going to make it count, with 10 events scheduled over eight days, Dec. 6-13. And have no fear: The end of the Blowouts in no way means Doomtree itself is winding down, as is pointed out right away in the announcement on the group’s site.
The crew is rolling out the specifics of the Blowout X lineup day-by-day on an hourly basis today, with two of the days already announced. The first show is taking place Dec. 6 at the Turf Club (a 21 & up show). The Dec. 7 installment will feature some kind of special collaboration between Doomtree and the Surly Brewing Co., details of which will be unveiled at a later date.
The morning after he went back to his old high school in Brooklyn for a surprise concert, Neil Diamond announced he’ll be doing another old-school arena tour next spring, including an April 12 date at Xcel Energy Center. Never one for whimsical or esoteric titles, the 73-year-old recording legend has officially named his 29-city trek the Neil Diamond Tour 2015.
Tickets for the St. Paul show go on sale Oct. 13 at 10 a.m. through Ticketmaster and the arena box office at prices yet to be announced. Prices for the Chicago date two nights later are listed at $65-$150.
Diamond has a new album coming Oct. 21, this one titled “Melody Road.” His last record, 2008’s “Home Before Dark,” debuted at No. 1 in Billboard. He’s one of Xcel Center’s most frequent headliners, having performed five previous shows there, including two-night stands in 2001 and 2008 as well as a one-off in July 2012.
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