Prince “Welcome to America” Live, NYC 2/7/11

People call me rude, I wish that we were nude
I wish there was no black or white, I wish there was no rules
~ Prince

Let me preface this by saying you have not been to a real concert until you’ve seen an artist like Prince live onstage.

When I first heard that Prince’s “Welcome to America” tour was coming to NY in December I was disappointed when I couldn’t get tickets. Prince is one of those artists whose music, like his peers Michael Jackson & Madonna, I grew up listening to. I never got the opportunity to see MJ in concert, which is something I’ll regret for the rest of my life. So while riding a cab one thursday morning I heard on the radio they added another show date. I was so determined to get tickets, I made sure my alarm was set the following saturday so I could log onto ticketmaster at exactly 10:00AM to buy tickets.

I wondered what song lineup Prince was gonna have since I had heard a while ago he became a Jehovah’s Witness and had stopped performing some of his more raunchy tunes. But I had only heard good things about his shows so I expected to be fully entertained when I arrived at Madison Square Garden on Feb 7th. There’s not many artists I would pay top dollar for a concert ticket, but it had been a while since I’ve been to a concert & because it was Prince, I splurged & bought a pair of $99 tickets & brought my sister with me.

I read on twitter a few weeks back that Cee-Lo Green was the opening act for this show. It was a good pick ’cause, like Prince, he also is known for his unique approach to music. Backed by an all female band, Cee-Lo performed most of his songs from his latest CD, including the infamous viral hit, “Fuck You”.

After a brief interrmission, Prince finally took the stage around 8:30 about an hour after showtime. One would think for an artist who is now in his 50s, Prince would be a little more laid back. His voice is still the same, he was so full of energy and passionate about the music. In an era where so much of today’s music is done with synthesized beats, it’s great to see artists like Prince who still carry the torch for real musicianship; live music with real musicians.

Being it was his last show, there were a number or celebrities spotted in the house that night, including, Samuel Jackson, Chris Rock, Brandy, Al Sharpton, Questlove, and notably Kim Kardashian who embarassingly got kicked off stage by Prince when she wouldn’t shake her thing.

I can’t remember all the songs he performed, there were way too many hits, everything from “controversy” to “purple rain” to “if I was your girlfriend”, but name a song and he probably did sing it. Even songs he wrote for other artists like Sheila E & Vanity 6. Near the end of the concert Cee-Lo came back onstage to do a duet of “Crazy” with Prince backing him on guitar, which was awesome.

The only complaint I have is that the acoustics at Madison Square Garden sucks. They compensated for bad sound by making it louder, my ears were ringing for 2 days afterwards. But to see Prince, it was all worth it. He said he would be back soon, I’ll be first online again to buy tickets.

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