Sunday, May 15, 2011

Prince Tears The Roof Off The Sucka at the Forum in Los Angeles

Photo by Fabhouse73
 His Royal Badness continues to spread the funk across the nation with his Welcome 2 America Tour and is now thrilling Los Angeles audiences on his "21 Nite Stand" residency at the Forum in Inglewood, an LA suburb. Prince brought the funk with both barrels on Saturday night, May 7, at the legendary venue. After more than 30 years in the music biz, Prince showed that he hasn't lost a step and can still electrify an audience like no one else.

 The show opened with a solid set by Grammy Award-winning jazz bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding. After Spalding completed her set, The Purple One and his band the New Power Generation hit the stage like a funky cyclone with a bumpin’ performance of "D.M.S.R." The raucous track was an inspired choice to kick off the show, getting everyone on their feet and in a party mood. Prince and his crew kept the groove factor high nearly the entire show, only occasionally slowing things down. And when Prince did slow things down, he killed. The band wowed the audience with a majestic performance of slow jam "Shhh," which climaxed with a blazing guitar solo by Prince.

Some of the other highlights included hot performances of hits "1999," "Let's Go Crazy," "Rasberry Beret," "When Doves Cry" and "Kiss." In addition, Prince and the NPG delivered a powerful, gospel-drenched reading of "Purple Rain" that took the audience to church. The set also featured a furiously funky cover of Sly & The Family Stone's classic "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)." The band also did covers of other great '70s funk tracks, such as Wild Cherry's "Play That Funky Music," "Love Rollercoaster" by The Ohio Players and Kool & the Gang's "Hollywood Swinging," where Prince had audience members chanting "Inglewood Swinging" in place of the original song title.

And Shelia E. received a big audience response for her roof-raising performance of her hit song "The Glamorous Life." And as he has done in previous shows, Prince had a well-known performer join him onstage for a song. This time he nabbed Nicole Scherzinger, former lead singer with the Pussycat Dolls, to perform "I'll Never Be Another Fool" with him. Scherzinger's gritty performance was a nice surprise, proving that she has some serious vocal chops that weren't fully utilized on the mostly lightweight dance/pop material she sang with PCD.

The show also featured a brilliant mashup of the Time's hit "Cool" and Michael Jackson's classic "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough."

It was an incredible show from start to finish, and audience members definitely got their money's worth and then some, with Prince returning for three encores. One of the things that struck me the most about the show was Prince's supreme confidence in everything he did. He took full command onstage, and there was no question of who was running the show. They don't call him His Royal Badness for nothing.

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