Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Prince – The Abu Dhabi Experience Part 2

So, we make it to the concert. Like most popular concerts here, there is no seating. Standing room only. I have no idea how big the field is where everyone is standing, but as far as the eye can see it is packed - hundreds upon hundreds of people.

Even the VIP area for which I am forever grateful to have received tickets for is packed with people. No one is really on top of each other, but we are close.

So within about 5 to 10 minutes after we arrived to the pit, the lights went down. That famous, unmistakable chord is struck and you see only that symbol. THE symbol. A silhouette appears. “Dearly beloved. We are gathered here today to this thing called life.” Prince fan or not, I don’t think anyone can deny that they got chills at that moment. It was a grand entrance and the show began.

As Prince noted much later, there were way too many songs for him to sing. It started with Let’s Go Crazy followed by many other popular songs. We Partied Like it was 1999, enjoyed Raspberry Beret, Kiss; he went old school with Uptown and Delirious. Much to my surprise he sang Cream after he introduced it as “your song”. I was hoping the explicit lyrics rating would digress from there because those are some of the best songs. I’m not in it for the lyrics, but the groove to some of his more explicit songs is the best. There were other songs like You’ve Got the Look and he and his back up singers did a beautiful rendition of Love…Thy Will be Done.

He had a few wardrobe changes throughout the show, which allowed his band and back up singers to showcase their amazing talents. They were all powerhouses in their own right.

One thing I noticed about Prince’s wardrobe was he is timeless. He still dresses as he did in the 1980s and throughout his career. If anyone else tried to wear what he does, they would fail miserably. Who else can pull off a purple silk shirt with ruffles and pants to match and look as good as he does?

After another costume change to a black and white outfit – one half black, the other half white – Prince got his groove on. The crowd was more than thrilled.

After many songs that time came when he started to say Goodnight and Thank you. I think the crowd felt the same as I did -It was way too early for departure. A few people actually left, but very few. I feel for them because the show was nowhere near over.

At the end of one set he sent one of his back up singers into the crowd to find eight women to come up and dance with him. Once people realized this was happening, there was a small rush to the stage.

With everyone on stage, Prince then proceeded to set up Love Bazaar. He called Nicole Scherzinger from the Pussycat Dolls to the stage to accompany him. It was good and we enjoyed it even though Prince was bombarded with Gen X’ers who rushed the stage and were all over him with cell phones trying to take a picture. After only a short time into the song Prince was lost in the crowd on stage somewhere.

Prince and crew came back again and sang Baby I’m a Star, which was so much fun. After that incredible energetic number he came back out and closed the show alone and said his goodbyes for real this time. After what seemed to be a very sincere thank you and declaration of his happiness, he threw the microphone into the crowd. Everyone was sorry to see him go, but he did more than what anyone could expect.

It was truly one of, if not the best concert I have ever seen. I always liked Prince and have some favorite songs. However, I would often change the radio on many songs that I always felt were overplayed.

About mid-way through the concert, when Prince played Purple Rain, the German philosopher Walter Benjamin came to mind. In short, one of his theories states that the technical production of something, or a copy of something is not the original. It cannot capture the essence of the original, or the aura of a work of art. This is so true of Prince’s talent. He is an aura in and of himself when performing.

I will never change the radio again when I hear a Prince song as I used to do. Obviously a studio recording is not the same as being there, but now having been in the aura of someone so talented has given me new perspective.

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