A few thoughts on Prince’s event Saturday night at Paisley Park:

  • OK, Prince played guitar on only one song (“Play That Funky Music”) and keyboards for just a bit. But has he ever seemed sexier onstage at Paisley? The dancing, the flirty lyrics, that duet with Shelby J on “Nothing Compares 2 U.”
  • Prince has never sounded jazzier in the Twin Cities. Terrific arrangements for the 11 horns and excellent solos when called upon to improvise for several horn players. Sax man Marcus Anderson seems to be Prince’s new main man.
  • As for my story in the paper explained, this was a fairly efficient evening by Paisley Park stands. Except for the parking. Info about the shuttle bus at Lifetime Fitness was not clear. And, then at 9 p.m., guards let about 70 cars, at $20 each, park in Paisley’s front lot. Who knew?
  • When was the last time you heard the same song by two different singers in less than an hour’s time? Shelby J did “At Last” as a prelude to Prince and then Brianna Curiel, the 10-year-old sister of Prince’s new featured dancer Danielle, did it to introduce Prince.
  • Prince stopped at the mixing console to visit with his sound engineer, then walked through the crowd, put on sunglasses and started playing. Only at Paisley Park.
  • Have you ever been to a dance-club that had such an impeccable sound system as Paisley? Whether it was listening to Earth, Wind & Fire, Snoop Dog and OutKast between sets or a loop of Prince hits afterward, the sound was terrific. Lots of people stayed and danced after Prince’s set. With younger guys dancing by themselves, it was almost like there was a mosh pit with no moshing.
  • Hannah Ford, who has vastly improved since her live debut at the Dakota Jazz Club in January, played drums only for Prince’s set, not for the sets by his three backup singers. Was that local guitarist Cory Wong sitting in with the band for the sets by Shelby J, Elisa Fiorillo and Liv Warfield? Really loved Liv’s “Why Do U Lie” – like Annie Lennox with overwhelming soul.
  • Prince ad libbed a line about government shutdown before his “You say you want a leader” lyric in “Purple Rain.” His best line of the night: “I like playing practical jokes. Look at this outfit.”
  •  Prince’s set included two songs by the Family (he wrote them, of course) and one by the Time (ditto). Highlights included “Something in the Water” (just his voice and Cassandra O’Neal’s piano), the sexy “Dark” in which a saxophone would answer his vocal lines and aforementioned vocal fireworks between Prince and Shelby on “Nothing Compare 2 U.”

Set list

Shelby J:  Why Come/ Day in the Sun/ My Family/ North Carolina

Elisa Fiorillo: Share It with You/ On the Way Up

Liv Warfield: I Decided/ Catch Me If u Can/ Why Do U Lie

The three singers: The Sweeter He Is/ At Last/ Days of the Wild


Prince: At Last (by Brianna Curiel)/ 1999/ Diamonds & Pearls/ Old Friends 4 Sale/ People Pleaser/ Ain’t Gonna Miss U When Ur Gone/ F.U.N.K./ Dark/  Something in the Water/ Musicology/ Play That Funky Music/ Extraloveable Reloaded/ Purple Rain/ Breakfast Can Wait/ Mutiny ENCORE medley of Act of God>What Have You Done for Me Lately > Dancing Machine/ Nothing Compares 2 U/ Cool 

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