A capacity crowd flocked to Uncasville's Mohegan Sun Arena to watch the Minnesota Maestro conduct a three-night celebration of the legend's 35 years in music.
Saturday night's performance was filled with funk and soul, big band-like stagecraft and prodigious guitar solos. The 10,000 seat arena felt more like an intimate night club with no more than a few hundred people in attendance.
Prince greeted the audience casually, dressed all in black, with the support of a 20-piece band behind him.
"We're going to jam", Prince declared. For the next 2 1/2 hours, he made good on his word.
The show opened with "Act of God" and was followed by two Jackson covers - "What Have You Done For Me Lately" by Janet and Michael's "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough". After a half dozen songs including "Partyman" and "Take Me With U", Prince granted the band a break before being joined by 3rd Eye Girl, his all girl rock accompaniment.
"Prince can do it all: blues, jazz, funk, rock, everything," said 3rd Eye Girl member Donna Grantis in an interview with Westword. "He's just a master of all styles. He plays with so much skill. He's so melodic, but he can shred and rip it up at any moment. It's such a pleasure to play with him, and a huge honor, as well."
For anyone who has ever wanted to hear Prince just wail on guitar, this was the tour to check out. He performed a mini-rock set, and also included a slowed-down version of "Let's Go Crazy" followed by "1999". Looking around the audience, it appeared some, including myself, forgot where they were as we marveled at the awe-inspiring display of talent on the stage.
No two shows over the course of the weekend were identical - the set list varied night to night and depending on which show one was attending, they were either treated to a catalog of hits or a selection of deeper tracks.
Even the opening acts were uncustomary. The Friday and Saturday events featured jazz diva Esperanza Spalding while Sunday's attendees were treated to Grammy award winner Janelle Monáe. Sunday night's show also saw a special appearance by Doug E. Fresh.
"It's an old school party", Prince told the audience. As long as he decides to keep throwing parties, we'll keep coming.
Upcoming events at Mohegan Sun, get tickets here:
- Jay-Z, January 17
- Luke Bryan, January 23/24
- Lady Antebellum, February 1
- Marc Anthony, February 13
- Brad Paisley, February 14
- Kings of Leon, February 15