With his own place apparently already booked, Prince has lined up three nights of “soundcheck” rehearsals at the Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant this Wednesday through Friday night. The news broke this morning via the fan site Dr. Funkenberry and was confirmed on the Dakota's ticketing site, which lists prices ranging from $70 on Wednesday on up to $200-$250 for Friday’s show. The shows have been in discussion for about a month but were only just confirmed late last night, said Dakota owner Lowell Pickett, who said of Prince, "He just wants to play."
Per the Dakota's site, tickets are now listed to go on sale at noon today. Each of the nights will include two sets and be broken down differently this way:
WEDNESDAY (8 & 11 p.m., $70): "Jam" with drummer auditions, improvisational music and DJ Rashinda spinning unreleased tracks. Said Pickett, "Obviously, he's not planning to play as much that night."
THURSDAY (8 & 11 p.m., $100-$150): "Soundcheck" with an "after-party vibe."
FRIDAY (8 & 11 p.m. $200-$250): "Surprise," for which the tables and chairs will be removed from in front of the stage -- the first time the Dakota has ever done this. Pickett said it will make room for about 40 more people on top of the venue's usual 300 or so capacity.
Some other unique ways the Dakota is accomodating its special guest: Cell phones and cameras will be strictly disallowed during the performances; also, food service will be stopped each night.
Prince has frequently hung out at the Dakota for dinner and shows. He was even there as recently as last month's Tower of Power gig. However, he has never actually gotten on stage there despite numerous hints of it, including the Esperanza Spalding show in 2009 when an amp was even set up for him. More recently, there was also talk of him conducting a late-night jam there after Blind Boys of Alabama's performance last month.
Interestingly, Pickett said Prince also has the venue booked for rental on Sunday and Monday, but as of now there are no plans for any more shows. As Pickett has learned, though, the New Power Generation runs on hastily changed plans.
Word is that His Royalness is playing these shows at the intimate Minneapolis jazz joint instead of his palatial Paisley Park in Chanhassen because fun. -- the band behind the mega-hit “We Are Young” -- is already booked to rehearse there this week ahead of its tour kick-off next Wednesday at Roy Wilkins Auditorium. Dr. Funkenberry and other fan sites have been speculating for weeks what Prince has planned for 2013, and these rehearsals seem to confirm he is planning a more ambitious concert schedule than his rather quiet 2012.