There’s no Celebration at Paisley Park this week, but the Prince estate and Sony Legacy Recordings aren’t letting the fourth anniversary of his passing pass us by without a little celebration of his music.
They surprised fans by dropping a “new” EP today, “Live at the Aladdin Las Vegas Sampler,” issued to streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music.
The four-song EP — part of what was on the out-of-print “Live at the Aladdin” DVD — was recorded with his full early-’00s-era New Power Generation lineup on Dec. 15, 2002, and includes versions of “Pop Life,” “Gotta Broken Heart Again,” “Strange Relationship” and (all too fitting for Minnesotans in the house) “Sometimes It Snows in April.”
Those playlists pull out live tracks and footage from throughout his career, going back to the 1982 set at Detroit’s Masonic Hall (featured in last year’s “1999” deluxe edition) on up to the 2000s. They even feature his jaw- and guitar-dropping performance of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” with Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne and Steve Winwood at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2004.
The “Live at the Aladdin” EP is part of a much bigger collection due out May 29, a five-disc box set titled “Up All Nite with Prince: The One Nite Alone Collection.” It will combine his playful 2002-era live albums “One Nite Alone…Live!” and “One Nite Alone: The Aftershow…It Ain’t Over! along with the “Live on Aladdin” DVD and early-’00s studio albums, “Rainbow Children” and “One Nite Alone,” which were never issued on vinyl before now. Pre-orders are now underway.
Even before the coronavirus hit, the fourth annual installment of Celebration at Paisley Park had been already pushed off from the April 21 anniversary of his death to instead coincide with his June 7 birthday. Organizers are now waiting to see if they can still host it in the fall.
On Tuesday night, CBS-TV will air the “Grammy Salute to Prince,” filmed back in January and featuring the likes of John Legend, Chris Martin, Gary Clark Jr., Earth, Wind & Fire, H.E.R. and, of course, the Revolution, Sheila E. and Morris Day with the Time.
In our own celebration of Prince fandom, his hometown newspaper music critics have compiled a wish list of future vault releases we would like the estate to consider (in print Sunday).