July 28, 2010

V4YS Concert Review - Prince - Nice at Nikaia & After Show In Cannes - 25/07/10

My musical week in south of France had already been amazing but I did not forecast it would end with a phenomenal experience....named Prince!
Having learned (too late) from a friend (who was there) about the phenomenal 4h-long surprise concert that the star gave in the middle of the night on July 23d in Paris in my favourite concert venue, the New Morning, I realized there were some tickets left for his last european show in Nice on sunday the 25th.
Despite my strong reluctance to go to big venues or stadiums-like concerts I made an exception hoping that this immense artist would still be on the same fantastic mood and secretly hoping of an intimate after-show.

The official show in the Nikaia stadium was a great surprise as Prince and his band were absolutely stunning on stage for a 2-h long set where each musician and chorist offered us a piece of his outstanding talent. They constantly had the audience participate which was all the more successful as they focused mainly on classic songs. More importantly they seemed to have much much fun playing together for this last european tour date and this added to the overall excitement and the feeling I had to attend a really special show.
"Purple Rain", "1999", "Little Red Corvette", "Kiss", "Musicology" etc..(full listing here) were all part of it but my favorite live track was "shhhh", a pure moment of smooth&groovy R&B.

Prince in Cannes
As much as I enjoyed this big show I started to get really really excited when I learned about the after show planned in the Palais-Club in the neighbouring city of Cannes.
I arrived around 1am in this really posh place where young jet-setters seemed to have a good time listening to low-quality house music. When people coming from the Nice show to see Prince started to fill the club we could feel the difference between the usual audience of the place and the Prince fans.
Strange dual-atmosphere indeed, even stranger when one of the jet-setter from the vip place bought several dozens of Champagne bottles to distribute them to the "have-nots" only here for the show and sweating neck-to-neck in front of the scene. I was at the other side of the room and could not get some but who cares as it was only groove&funk I was hoping for!

Technical issues delayed the start of the show, and it's only around 4am that Prince and his band came on the tiny stage set-up in front of the tiny dancefloor.
Standing 4 or 5 meters from the man I had my first shot of "groovyness" before the show even started : while the musicians were tuning their instruments in a scene turned dark, the dj finally decided to play some real music to welcome them, and when Marvin's "Let Get It On" was on, all of a sudden I realized that there was an additional guitar line on top of this eternal song that I know too well.
I tried to distinguish in the dark what Prince was doing and I realized that while turning his back on the audience to seemingly tune his guitar, he was in fact having fun improvising a splendid riff on top of the song. Two or three minutes of pure joy.
(I guarantee the jet-setters part of the audience did not notice anything, they may have asked a "Marvin who?" if asked about the song ;)

The crew played a bit more than one hour (and had planned at least two without the damned technical issues) once again in a really joyful mood, you'll find the listing below but my highlights definitely are the explosive version of "The Jam", where each musician got introduced in the funkiest possible way, a slow motion version of his usual cover from Sly Stone's "Thank You" and the fantastic speeded-up cover from James Brown "Sex Machine" (this easy one was even identified by the young jetsetters part of the audience I believe;). Amazing drum tempo and wicked guitar and organ gimmick on this final gem.

What an unforgettable night! Thank You Prince!

Don't forget...I just need your extra-time and your....kiss!

Below the tracklisting from this after-show (thanks to the Schkopi community for the help) :
The Jam
Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)
We Want To Be Free
Baby Love
When Will We Be Paid
Girls & Boys
Ol' Skool Company
Sex Machine

And here is the closing medley starting with "Girls and Boy" and ending with "Sex Machine" which starts around 8mn :

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