U Got The Hooks

I’ll need to re-edit this with a scan of my ticket to prove I was there, but when an extra date at Birmingham’s LG Arena got added to Prince’s Hit and Run tour I took the plunge.

I should have written about it the next day when the electricity of his performance was still lighting up my world, but even from the distance of a couple of weeks it remains an astonishing show.

The LG Arena is a fairly soulless tin box, so imbuing it with soul, funk, pop and rock took some doing. But when you can start your set with Let’s Go Crazy, Take Me With U, Raspberry Beret and U Got the Look, the surroundings count for little.

Yes, I know they’re all `old’ songs, but this was a show stuffed with highlights from more than 30 years. What is still astonishing is the maestro’s range. He could turn up at just about any festival – pop, alt, metal, dance, whatever – and turn in an hour and half better than anybody else on the bill in the style demanded by the promoter.

Here we got two and a half hours crammed with highlights including the reclaiming of Nothing Compares 2 U, an epic Purple Rain and a transcendent 1999 that reduced me to tears, just because an hour in and he was cranking our classic after classic. Those opening synth bars took the whole thing off the scale.

Neither his voice nor his playing have diminished over time, and maybe the dancing is a little less dramatic, but at 55 that’s hardly a surprise. He still cuts a mean rug though.

I thought the scene was set for him to be announced as Glastonbury’s Saturday headliner this year and he would fit that bill perfectly if the deal can ever be struck.

When you look at some of the dullards who have `graced’ the Pyramid stage in recent years, there’s definitely scope for the colour Purple.


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