Prince, the self-confident and sensual musical legend, told throngs of fans Friday, April 22 during his performance of a medley of hit songs spanning over three decades, “I have too many hits.” And he was certainly telling the truth.
From “Raspberry Beret” to “When Doves Cry” to “Sign ‘O’ the Times” to “Purple Rain,” and the list goes on and on, Prince performed hit after hit for a packed house of loyal fans at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif.
The iconic music legend arrived in Southern California on his Welcome to America tour for what marks the beginning of a series of several performances at the venue with approximately 70-80 percent of the tickets being sold for as low as $25.
In what has developed into his signature pattern of multiple encores, Prince has always been the master of “the tease.” He left and returned to the stage four times for an audience that could not get enough of the musical genius. For two hours, we witnessed the aging process in reverse. From dancing atop his purple piano, to multiple wardrobe changes, from ascending and descending through his lighted symbol stage, the 52-year-old superstar appears to be in better shape than most 20-somethings — spike heels and all.
About midway through the show, the musically gifted Alicia Keys took the stage to perform with him, “How Come You Don’t Call Me.” It was an amazingly beautiful performance.
The special highlight of the evening was when Prince ushered actor Cuba Gooding Jr. and Shelia E onto the stage to dance to “Cool,” the 1981 hit song he wrote and produced for Morris Day and The Time. Gooding Jr. proved that he has more than acting chops, he’s also a good dancer.
It was evident that Prince arrived with a statement to make, and he had two military-clad twin dancers to back him up. He asked the crowd, “Can I just be me?”
It is certainly no secret that Prince is a devoted Jehovah’s Witness. Some critics assert that he is quite different, perhaps more self-censoring, than the overtly erotic Prince we all grew to love in the ’80s and ’90s. Of course, the days of watching like voyeurs as he simulated sexual acts onstage to songs like “Darling Nikki” and “Do Me Baby” are probably long gone. However, it’s quite evident that his creative talent, musical performance, and abiding commitment to his fan base has neither wavered nor faltered as result of his beliefs.
When a packed stadium patiently waits over an hour and a half for an artist to perform, and sits for nearly an hour after he leaves the stage hoping he returns for yet one more encore performance, it’s quite evident that his power is undiminished. He is still Prince. He still has it. He is better than ever. –dana l. stringer