He played small venues, less than 2,000 seats. When tickets went on sale, a lot of people missed out. For perspective, the last time he toured, he sold out huge arenas, multiple nights. I went to both shows the first night in Melbourne. I paid $1,500 for VIP and got the front row for the first show. I was literally right in front of Prince.
There was no opening act. There was a backdrop, with lights on it, and a door opened and he walked out. It was the night that news had broken of Vanity passing away. He told a lot of stories about her and was obviously deeply affected.
The shows were advertised as being two hours, but he only played for 90 minutes. At the time I put that down to Vanity, but later the venue admitted to me they had just assumed and had been wrong. The show included a lot of deep cuts. He played a Bob Marley cover ("Waiting In Vain"), but I didn’t realise, that’s how many songs he played I did not recognise (I also like Bob Marley and know some of his songs). Nevertheless, everything he played was amazing. He played "Paisley Park" in a barrel house piano style, he played a lot of super fast, very clean jazz piano. He confessed in both shows I saw that his father was a great jazz pianist and he had always hoped to be as good as him. I never heard his father play, but I’ve never heard someone play piano as well as Prince.
Later set lists included songs like "Cream," "Kiss," and "Let’s Go Crazy." The curse of the Internet is that when an artist varies their set, you find out about the songs you missed. But, what I heard was brilliant. Seeing him tell stories about his childhood was also a rare treat. He played several songs from his new CD, which we were given at the end of the night. The absolute highlight though, was "The Beautiful Ones" from Purple Rain, a song that he was able to pour a lot of virtuoso playing and a lot of emotion in to.
Overall, I would have loved to have heard more songs I knew, but I was thrilled to see what I did, it was definitely a once in a lifetime experience (now definitely true, with news of his sad passing). Wearing the tour shirt, lots of people have stopped me to ask how it was and told me they could not get tickets. Having got to two shows was obviously a real stroke of luck for me.
I’m very sad I never got to see a full Prince show, but I am very glad I got to see the "Piano and a Microphone" shows.
Prince -- Giant Rainbow Over Paisley Park Home https://t.co/gnLDzPWmXk— TMZ (@TMZ) April 22, 2016
My favorite Prince song of all time is "7." Let this be a reminder to go see your music heroes live while you still can.