What man can make three-inch gold heels and a glittering top work?
Only Prince, of course.
On Friday, the Purple One performed at New Jersey’s Izod Center for
his Welcome 2 America Tour before a packed crowd, seated well into the nose-bleeds. Drawing from
his early catalogue, the icon began the show with a medley of “Let’s
Go Crazy” and “Delirious.”
Working a stage shaped like the symbol he was “formerly known as,”
Prince strutted in a black
suit detailed with gold trim while sporting his signature short
haircut. His band included three background singers — dressed in
everything from feathers to polka dots — a female bassist, two
keyboardists and a drummer.
Maintaining the energy, the Minneapolis native kicked off “1999” with
a question, “What’d y’all come to do . party?” Then, with a spotlight
focused on him alone, Prince squealed a slow rendition of “Little Red
Corvette” that sped up during each chorus only to smooth out again
when it returned to the verses. Taking his jacket off, he threw the
garment on the ground to reveal a bejeweled scarf slung around his
neck as the fans screamed and the Grammy award winner disappeared
below the stage.
In the following act, Prince, now wearing a mustard-colored silk
pantsuit with a ruffled top, returned to the stage alongside ballerina
Copeland. Copeland is the first African American female soloist in
the American Ballet Theatre. As she twirled around the stage, the two
created a sensual high-art version of “The Beautiful Ones,” where each
danced atop the stage’s purple piano.
During “Controversy,” famed funk saxophonist Maceo
Parker took the stage for a worthy solo as Prince directed the
“I don’t care what they told, wave your phones side to side!” he said,
just before asking the crowd, “What shall we do? Can I do some for
Breaking into “Take Me With You,” as confetti began to pour from the
ceiling and onto the stage, the singer and his band moved seamlessly
into “Guitar,” from Prince’s 2007 LP, Planet Earth. The lights
then dimmed and became purple as the band strummed the introduction to
perhaps the biggest song of the artist’s career, “Purple Rain.”
Walking around the stage, the petite performer encouraged his New York
and New Jersey fans to sing the cut’s bridge before he belted out the
lyrics himself. As the song came to an end, Prince disappeared below
the stage once again.
Talented drummer Sheila E then arose, flanked by a drum kit, as the
Izod Center shook with applause. The “Krush Groove” star, sporting a
sequin tank top, pants and over-the-knee boots, banged out her 1984
hit, “The Glamorous Life,” before Prince joined in for their duet
“Love Bizarre.” To the delight of Sheila’s enthusiasts, who were
standing in their seats with excitement, she performed an impromptu
drum solo and then Prince invited audience members to the stage for
the Morris Day & the Time cuts “Jungle Love” and “The Bird.” Waving
goodbye, Prince, Sheila and the band disappeared backstage.
But the crowd would not accept their departure.
Wooed by applause and cheers, Prince returned for an encore and ran
through “If I Was Your Girlfriend,” “Insatiable” and “Scandalous”
before finally wishing everyone a good night.
Have you caught or are you planning to attend any of Prince’s
Welcome 2 America shows? Tell us in the comments.