My Ultimate Prince Xperience began near the front of the media line at Macy’s. The crowd was surprisingly mellow. I imagined more Prince chatter from this bunch. But then it dawned on me—these folks have all been in line with each other for hours. And they also shared a line about a month ago when they gathered to get the Prince package in the first place. As usual, the true Prince fans—especially the females—always dress for the occasion. I guess I fall into the same camp. I wouldn’t think of wearing jeans to see his highness. C’mon, this is a dapper guy. A man of musical style and high style. He’s graced the cover of Esquire. He’s appeared in a Versace print campaign. He is Couture with a capital C. I saw one woman who either made, or had made, a black dress with purple trim, cut so low in the back that it revealed the famous Prince glyph at the base of her spine.
Prince took the Macy’s stage an hour late. Again, no surprise. The PA system kept us on our toes with a variety of Prince and eighties music, including a little Michael Jackson. I couldn’t help but think, And Michael thought he was the king of pop. I guess Prince has shown who had the staying power.
We took our spot just a person or two from the stage. I had eyed that telltale Sheila E. drum kit instantly and navigated my position at this standing-room-only event. Lately Prince has been more apt to turn his stage over to other musicians, so it wasn't too surprising when the Macy’s gig started out with a killer three-piece horn section filling the eighth floor auditorium with “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Then the smoking-hot Sheila E. came to the stage in a shimmering gold minidress reminiscent of J-Lo (frankly, I find Sheila more intriguing). Watching her obliterate the drums—standing in three-inch heels—is a rite of passage. I have seen her many times, including at Glamorama a few years ago, and she always blows the crowd away.
So the question was, What seven songs would Prince play? I had two guesses on what he would start with. He started with one of them ("3121") and ended with the other ("Let’s Go Crazy"). When he gave a shout out to Minneapolis, I couldn't help but glow. People around the world know of this place, Minneapolis, because of hearing Prince belt it out in songs over the years. To his international fans there is a mystical place called Paisley Park in a mystical land called Minneapolis. Kind of cracks me up. The lineup continued with "Girls and Boys" (from Parade), Sheila’s "A Love Bizarre" (Prince sang backup on the original 1985 song), "Get on the Boat" ( 3121 ), back at Sheila E. with "Glamorous Life" (from the album of the same name), "Take Me With You" (Purple Rain), and the super gnarly "Guitar" (from his forthcoming album). He then turned the spotlight onto one of his backup singers, who cranked out a rendition of Gnarls Barkley’s "Crazy." Followed, of course, by Purple Rain's "Let’s Go Crazy."
Prince looked perfectly coifed—as always. Precision-cut white suit, black shirt, major bling cufflinks, and a black and white ascot. Oh, and white, heeled boots. Not as high as back in the day, but pimp nonetheless.
We left Macy’s on a major high. I think that was my fourteenth time seeing him live. The third being that close. I don’t feel so bad now that I haven’t made the trek to Vegas to see him. The auditorium show was very special, and the crowd was a Minneapolis who’s who. I gave a nod to the mayor—I’m sure RT has seen Prince at First Avenue. And I wish I could have been in Myron Johnson’s head as the Ballet of Dolls creative director and choreographer watched the twin sister backup dancers. I can’t even explain the moves and grooves these sisters throw out. As well as the hundreds of other fans who I knew were backed-up behind me basking in the purple reign.