For the first time in four years, Prince is going to open up his Paisley Park studio complex in Chanhassen to fans on Saturday night for a publicized performance. The show will reportedly feature both his raw and rocky new all-female backing trio, 3rd Eye Girl, along with his full-blown, funky New Power Generation ensemble, with its army-like horn section and backup singers. A $50 “donation” will be required when doors open around 9 p.m. (no advance tickets).
The NPG crew has been rehearsing at Paisley Park this week (you can look for photos on the new @NPGOfficial Twitter account), and it played a month-long residency at New York’s City Winery in August with guests including Cee-Lo Green, Twin Cities' Rock Hall of Famer Larry Graham and, yep, Prince. NPG also just posted a snippet of a new song, "Big City" (posted below).
Ever since his three-night, six-gig stand at the Dakota Jazz Club in January, Prince has been working with different combinations of his two backing units. At the South by Southwest Music Conference in March, for instance, he combined both bands into one enormous, encore-loving ensemble. At his concerts in May at Maplewood’s Myth nightclub, he played with just 3rd Eye Girl. All told, Saturday's show will add up to his ninth public gig in his hometown this year.
Talking to City Pages last night, 3rd Eye Girl drummer Hannah Ford said Saturday’s gig will be more a regular concert than the after-party-style jam sessions of Paisley Park past. She said, “This one is moreso like a spur-of-the-moment event to spend time with our community and throw a big concert for everybody, and show off some of the stuff we're working on."
In his interview with Jon Bream after a Denver concert in May, Prince talked excitedly about working with the women of 3rd Eye Girl, who are half his age. “They are like my kids,” he said. “And I’m learning from them. Young people have the new ideas.”
His last Paisley concert in 2009 was a surprisingly organized affair, starting “early” just after 11 p.m. and featuring shuttle buses from an off-site parking location. Stay tuned for details on a shuttle service and other info regarding Saturday’s concert.