Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Prince - Earth Tour 2007

I never thought I'd have the pleasure of being able to write the inclusion of '1999' into one of Prince's shows ever again, but there it is. The set-list may not look to appealing, however this is a great show with Prince in fine form and a very enthusiastic, energetic crowd who's energy he is evidently feeding off. Not the best show of the tour, but a mighty fine one. The recording leaves a little to be desired and added to audience noise (who are audible, but in no way detrimental overall) there is some distortion on the high-end of Prince's mic and guitar which leads to a little crackling. It settles down as the show progresses, but the first half of the show certainly has some audio issues. In a similar vein, there is some movement of the mics/equipment used to record. Normally I'd rate this as an EX- recording as the show is very clear, but the audio issues on parts of Disc 1 force me to demote it to a VG+, albeit a mighty impressive VG+. As for the show - it could have stopped after the first song and still been fantastic. The majority of the opening half of the show is pretty standard fare until the inclusion of two back-to-back Planet Earth tracks in the shape of 'Guitar / Somewhere Here On Earth', followed by a very rare, and extremely impressive 5 minute version of 'Forever In My Life' which includes various "Alright" crowd chants. The bass solo is back at the beginning of 'Black Sweat' (having been omitted the last few shows) which is always a plus, other than that the remainder is funky but unsurprising. The aftershow recording is vastly superior and certainly suffers none of the minor problems which affect the mainshow recording - thankfully, as it's a beauty. The audience are audible throughout, but in no way detract or overpower the recording to the detriment of the show. There are a few little niggles in the beginning where the person perhaps changes position or moves, which affects the sound momentarily, but on the whole this is a pretty impressive audience recording. Beverley Knight was once again the support act at both the main show and this 3121 aftershow, and her aftershow set is surprisingly enjoyable. The only Prince-related moment of her show is a cute cover of 'Raspberry Beret', along with the NPG Horns joining her for the closing numbers. The Prince set begins with 'Empty Room' and whilst the opening piano bars lull one into a false sense of security, he proceeds to tear us a new asshole with a blistering guitar solo. 'Peach' follows which features the music only and Prince inserts the lyrics from 'Rock Me Baby' before Marva King takes to the stage for 'I'll Take You There'. A James Brown medley follows and not only has Prince covering JB on two tracks, but also features both bass and keyboard solo's. An instrumental 'What Is Hip' is slightly abridged to the normal lengthy workout, however the following 'Stratus more than makes up for it at 12:30 in length. Disc 4 begins with Shelby taking over vocals on 'Love Is A Losing Game' before Prince joins her on 'Sing A Simple Song'. Shelby is back on the mic for a cover of the Mary J. Blige song 'Be Happy' before Prince takes over proceedings for two of his own. 'Girls And Boys' begins as a fairly normal version of the song, but soon evolves into a fast, frantic 13 minute jam with a number of different songs, lyrics and horn-lines thrown in for good measure climaxing in a real party atmosphere. Likewise the jam on 'Thank You' features the intro of 'When You Were Mine' played on the guitar, along with the riff of 'Head'. Overall this is an excellent release in terms of content. The main show may be lacking in sound quality compared to many others, but it more than makes up for it in the quality of the show itself. The aftershow is a joy from start to finish, and the quality of the recording is superb with very little to be critical about.

Earth Tour
O2 Arena, London
London, Main Show & Aftershow
Aug. 14, 2007

(Great Audience Recording)

Disc 1:
Main Show:

01. UK Hall of Fame video intro
02. 1999
03. Musicology
04. Prince And The Band
05. Cream
0U. Got The Look
07. Shhh
08. Take Me With U
09. Guitar
10. Somewhere Here On Earth
11. 7
12. Forever In My Life

Disc 2:
01. If I Was Your Girlfriend
02. Black Sweat
03. Kiss
04. Purple Rain
05. Keyboards interlude
06. Alphabet St.
07. I Feel For You
08. Controversy
09. Let's Go Crazy
10. Audience
11. Crazy
12. Nothing Compares 2 U

Disc 3:
Aftershow Feat. Beverly Knight:

01. Keep This Fire Burning
02. I'm Every Woman
03. Flava/Raspberry Beret
04. Time Is On My Side
05. Piece Of My Heart
06. Think (About It) incl. More Bounce To The Ounce/Atomic Dog/One Nation Under A Groove)
07. NPG Horns came on - continuation of above with BK's band incl More Bounce To The Ounce Zapp / Atomic Dog George Clinton / One Nation Under A Groove Funkadelic / No Diggity Black Street - all with Mike on vocoder vocals. (Beverely Knight's band leave the stage to NPG at 1.36)

Disc 4:
Prince 1.43 am - 3.30 (approx)

01. Empty Room
02. Peach/ Rock Me Baby (BB King)
03. I'll Take You There (The Staples Singers)
04. I Can't Stand Myself When You Touch Me/There Was A Time James Brown/Tutu Miles Davis
05. What Is Hip Tower of Power
06. Stratus (Billy Cobham)
07. Love Is A Losing Game - Amy Winehouse (Shelby J. lead vocals)
08. Sing a Simple Song (Sly and the Family Stone)
09. Be Happy (Mary J Blige)
10. Girls & Boys / 3121
11. Partyman
12. Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) - instrumental Sly and the Family Stone - included riff from "Head".
13. Shake Everything You Got - Maceo Parker
14. I Never Loved A Man (The Way I love You) - Aretha Franklin (Shelby J. on lead vocals)


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