After I came down from my high from seeing Prince at Macy’s, at 8:30 we headed over to Target Center. We were confident he wouldn’t take the stage at the published 8:30 start, but you can’t imagine the scene we encountered as we walked down 6th Street. First Avenue was closed off—and nearing 9 p.m. the doors to Target Center hadn’t yet opened. All I could do was laugh. It reminded us of a similar scene in downtown St. Paul years ago when Prince also kept the fans at bay. Only Prince can get away with this in his hometown.
The music finally started at 10 with the song Macy’s originally asked him to play at their place—"Purple Rain." What often becomes an encore song was his out-of-the-gate hit. I looked at my husband halfway through the song when I realized that's Wendy. There is no mistaking that stance, those guitar moves. Even in the shadows, Wendy Melvoin was at his side. Wow, first Sheila E. at Macy’s, now Wendy Melvoin at Target Center. Could there be a Revolution in the air?
Prince went on to lead the band through "Take Me With You," followed by the new "Guitar" (which I can’t get out of my head today). By 10:30, Prince told the crowd to "Call the babysitter, 'cause it’s gonna be a long night." (Thankfully, we had already arranged for our sitter to spend the night.)
The next hour and a half was filled with what I didn’t expect—pop hits from the past and, as Prince said, he got “old school, y’all.” We got some of my favorites: "7," "Do Me Baby," and "I Wanna Be Your Lover" (pretty much Prince solo on the keyboard), "If I Was Your Girlfriend," "Nothing Compares 2 U," and (OK, I could go home right now) "Sometimes It Snows in April." His acoustic set with Wendy ("Little Red Corvette," "Raspberry Beret") was like a gift.
Though I enjoyed the trip down memory lane, I missed not hearing more from Musicology and 3121—there's some kickass music on those two albums. Some complained that he didn’t give us the whole song when he played many of his hits—I quickly reminded them that Prince had once vowed on one of his tours that it was the last time he would perform his hits. I wonder if by playing only portions of them he is keeping his word.
It was a great show, but I do miss those days when Prince danced, shimmied, and gave us that signature funky footwork. That was another era that is still a part of the aura that fills the arena, though he commands the stage in a new way these days. (Those phenomenal dancing twin sisters help fill the gap of crazy moves that we no longer get from his majesty.) There is something at peace about him. He doesn’t have anything to prove. The music and legacy speak for themselves. And for fans like me, whose Prince concert stubs have climbed into the double digits, we know what we have experienced, and that this is the Prince of today.
Sheila E. eventually joined the stage for the final leg of the show. There is a history with those two that is unmatched. Her moxie and stage presence make her the perfect princess to our Prince. There aren’t many that can tell Prince “now we’re in my house” and get away with it. She also knows exactly how to work the crowd and get them going in that old-time Revolution way (think Sign O’ the Times—Live). That he ended his show with Sheila belting out "Glamorous Life" and then a get-the-funk-out solo was perhaps Prince telling us something about his respect for her. The stage went dark . . . there was a moment of anticipation . . . and then the house lights went on. We all knew he was already on his way across the street for his historical return to First Avenue. It was after midnight, and Prince’s night was likely just getting started.