I’m not going to say that I didn’t enjoy Prince’s opening night at Mohegan Sun Casino Friday, December 27th…because I did…but it wasn’t what we had expected or hoped for.
I KNOW – Prince is Prince….Prince does whatever the fuck he wants…and it’s true. And that aspect definitely showed throughout a set mostly comprised of classic funk covers, newer tracks, and his band and backup singers’ moments in the spotlight. Lets just Pro and Con this bitch:
-Prince’s retro afro and yellow jumpsuit. “We’re gonna just jam tonight – it’s just an old-school party,” the man in yellow said. This should’ve been our first clue as to what the set would look like. But dude’s got style.
-The band, a combo of the New Power Generation and 3rdEyeGirl, was siiiick. There were 11 people in the horn section, three backup singers (upcoming divas, they were that good), and two percussionists. The band brought the funk, the jams, and the funky jams. Prince sure knows how to pick ‘em.
-We heard “PURPLE RAIN” live (Encore #2). A glorious, sprawling, more-than-full-length version. Holy shit. It was magical.
-The setlist was comprised of funk classic covers and super-ultra-mega deepcuts from Prince’s own catalogue. (Setlist.fm has sets posted from all three nights). Cool if you’re a superfan, but…
-So yeah, about that setlist…I love a good cover song, I love a good medley, I enjoy some old school funk…but really what Prince presented at the Friday show was a funk concert and not a Prince concert. Songs sometimes went a little bit too long, showcasing the band way more so than The Artist Now Known as Prince Again. Despite the band’s fantastic sound, it was a buzzkill at times. For a die-hard fanatic who’s seen Prince 20 times, this set must’ve been mindblowing. For a first-time outing, it was a let down.
I’m not the type of fan who needs to hear every big song come out to play. I liked the variety and I like to be left wanting more; however, by the time Prince got to some of his biggest songs (Encore #1), he was DJing in the dark. Literally scratching records and singing over pre-recs. That killer guitar riff in the beginning of “When Doves Cry”? We heard it. Via record. I could’ve heard that on Spotify. It was a joke of an encore.
-Prince didn’t pick up the guitar enough, nor did he pick up any other instrument. Why would he when he had 1,000 people on stage to do it for him?
-The backup singers were so amazing, but Prince allowed them to step up a little too much. There were times when I would’ve rather heard Prince’s sweet falsetto than a 10+ minute spotlight from one of his divalicious ladies.
It was a good funk show…but we were left feeling a little disappointed. It didn’t feel nearly as iconic or legendary as it should have, and I was hoping I would’ve left the arena with my face melted off or something.
From what I’ve read online and heard from friends, Saturday and Sunday’s shows sounded crazy, with a much more accessible setlist, covers from better known artists (Janet and Michael Jackson!), more tracks with the full band, a Prince/Janelle Monae duet, and special appearance by Doug E. Fresh.
Prince does whatever the fuck he wants, I guess. Oh, well.