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Video: Sir Paul McCartney goes crazy with a royal Prince tribute at Target Center

Paul McCartney kicked off a two-night stand Wednesday at Target Center. / Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

Paul McCartney kicked off a two-night stand Wednesday at Target Center. / Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

He only played a small part of the song, but it felt like a big moment. Paul McCartney added about a minute of Prince “Let’s Go Crazy” to his encore on Wednesday night at Target Center, the second time he paid tribute to Minneapolis’s newly deceased rock legend in the nearly three-hour concert.

McCartney had already paid his respects to Prince on Twitter on the day of his death, April 21. Sir Paul once again brought up the royal rocker near the start of Wednesday’s show, after he and his workhorse band played a snippet of “Foxy Lady” in memory of Jimi Hendrix (as they’ve been doing every night on tour). He told the 17,000 audience members, “Tonight is a tribute to Prince.”

“I’ve been a fan for a really long time, [and] seen his shows in London,” he said, and then revealed that he saw the little big guy perform on St. Barts just this past New Year’s Eve. “It was a beautiful night. God bless you, Prince.” And with that, he launched into an especially soulful version of the Beatles’ “I’ve Got a Feeling” -- with the line, “Everybody had a hard year,” ringing out powerfully.

That would have been a meaningful enough tribute for Prince’s hometown crowd, but it wasn’t enough for McCartney. At the end of an already riling version of Wings’ “Hi Hi Hi” two songs into the encore, he and his band segued into the hard-rocking outro section of “Let’s Go Crazy.” Prince’s unmistakable androgyny symbol appeared on the video screens as they kicked into gear.

“He’s your guy!” he yelled to the crowd as the jam ended. “Thank you, Prince, for writing so many beautiful songs, so much music.”

Here’s a video of the Prince jam below. Read Jon Bream’s full review of the concert here. Tickets are still available for Thursday night's concert via AXS.com or the arena box office.

Prince's Family band members debut new version of 'Nothing Compares 2 U'

The artists formerly known as the Family, now fDeluxe, in a 2011 photo (from left): Susannah Melvoin, Eric Leeds, Jellybean Johnson and Paul Peterson.

The artists formerly known as the Family, now fDeluxe, in a 2011 photo (from left): Susannah Melvoin, Eric Leeds, Jellybean Johnson and Paul Peterson.

At the exact same time radio stations across the country committed to play “Nothing Compares 2 U” in honor of Prince on Wednesday afternoon, the band of his peers that originally recorded the song debuted a new orchestral version of it to the world.

The members of fDeluxe -- the Prince-affiliated group formerly known as the Family -- reworked the heart-wrenching classic with the Minneapolis chamber ensemble STRINGenious and unveiled it on their YouTube channel at exactly 5:07 p.m. That time is a nod to the song’s opening line, “It’s been seven hours and 13 days,” which lined up to the time when emergency workers pronounced Prince dead (10:07 a.m. on April 21).

All longtime Prince associates, fDeluxe features singer/bandleader Paul Peterson, one-time girlfriend Susannah Melvoin also on vocals (sister of the Revolution’s Wendy Melvoin), saxophonist Eric Leeds and the Time’s drummer Jellybean Johnson. Prince wrote “Nothing Compares 2 U” for their eponymous 1985 album. Sinead O’Connor plucked it off the record five years later and made it into a hit single. The orchestrations on the new version follow the arrangements originall written for the song by the late Clare Fischer.

“This was a labor of love,” Peterson explained of the re-recording. “Everyone donated their time as a ‘thank you’ to Prince for his musical contributions to the world.”

“It’s with a musically heavy heart that tonight we honor our dear friend,” Susannah Melvoin says at the start of the video.

The rest of it pretty much speaks for itself.