Prince Excites Then Confounds In First of Three Chicago Shows!

For an artist who hadn't graced a Chicago stage in eight years, Prince may as well have phoned in his first of three "Welcome 2 Chicago" performances before an adoring United Center audience.  For starters, The Purple One hit the stage an hour late, then meandered for long stretches, leaving his backing singers to sing the choruses of some of his biggest hits,

Since this is the first of three shows, Prince must certainly know by now that the arena would be full of critics and media, yet he performed with all the urgency of an old man tinkering in his worskshop.  At times, Prince seemed completely oblivious to the fact that there were actually thousands of people watching him.  Other times, he taunted the crowd, declaring that he "had too many hits!"  There were flashes of brilliance throughout the night, mostly during the night's first encore, which lasted about as long as the set it had followed.

After about two hours, the artist formerly known as a squiggle disappeared.  We faithful fans cheered, and cheered, and stomped, and clapped, and screamed our lungs out, eagerly awaiting his return.  After all, there were a few big hits he hadn't yet performed.  Then a couple stagehands began sweeping the stage.  Was the show over?  Many thought as much and began filing out.

An hour after leaving the stage, Prince hit the stage once again and performed "1999" and "Little Red Corvette" to a quarter-full arena.  While it was enjoyable, a part of me felt like I was eavesdropping on a soundcheck.

After two songs, Prince left and that was the end of the show.

While I did not attend the $75-a-ticket "Purple After-Jam" at the House of Blues that had promised an intimate performance by Prince, it turns out that Prince refused to perform at the event, citing sound issues.  The standing-room-only crowd did not take the news well, I hear, and refunds were handed out to patrons before things got too out-of-hand.

Superior St. Rehearsal Facility

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