Concert Review- Prince with Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings and Maceo Parker
Madison Square Garden 1/18/11
It almost “doesn’t pay” to review a Prince show.
You know going in you’re going to get great musicianship, classic tunes, colorful outfits, topnotch dance moves, a state of the art stage, and some smoking jams thrown in to boot.
On that end the musical genius most certainly delivered in a two plus hour show.
Prince opened by teasing the audience with mere snippets of tunes from his vast repertoire, and then proceeded in guitar Rock God fashion to rock out and throw a little funk in to boot. He did few covers, but The Time’s Cool and Sylvester’s Dance Disco Heat were most certainly worthy. Pacing his 52 year old self a bit more than in the past, he’d disappear throughout the show, giving his female vocalists space and milking applause for multiple encores. Although he didn’t do my favorite Prince jam, Sexy MF (hey, he’s religious now), he pretty much covered everything else you’d want to hear by him. He also wore a Prince T-shirt which was kind of tacky, but guess you gotta get paid somehow.
All in all it was a great night, although Sharon Jones’ five song, thirty minute set was ridiculous in that it was followed by forty-five minutes of, well, nothing. Why she couldn’t have performed longer was beyond me, as she prowled that stage like she owned it. She later came back with the Dap Kings’ horn section to just kill the joint with Prince on a smoking version of Love Bizarre. Maceo Parker’s participation was also a bit of a letdown as he was not given his own set, but rather showcased with Prince on a few numbers. Prince, while singing a ballad to a swooning, fine young woman, repeatedly looked towards the sax giant while asking her, “Do you know who THIS is?” Unfortunately, she clearly didn’t. It was just plain awkward. Maceo was also drowned out at times by the massive ensemble on stage.
Interestingly enough, during the way too long intermission, the giant screens played clips from Soul to Soul and Wilson Pickett’s set was just as great if not greater than anything live this evening.
All in all, this didn’t come close to touching the majestic show I saw Prince do with Larry Graham and Chaka Khan at MSG in the 90s. But hey, Prince, Sharon Jones and Maceo on the same bill is nothing to sneeze at. The Purple One has still got it.