Prince

Prince has got the funk. If there was ever any doubt, it was quickly cast aside by the Artist, formerly known as the Symbol, last evening at the Molson Center. Surronded by his band, the New Power Generation (NPG), featuring Maceo Parker o­n sax, and Larry Smith (of Sly and the Family Stone fame) trading licks o­n bass with former Montrealer, Rhonda Smith, Prince and his cohorts grooved and jamed in unison with a rapt crowd. The spectacle was vintage Prince…stylised in its conception, yet still amazingly warm and engaging. Huge billowing projection screens coupled with two piles of lush pillows formed the backdrop for the diminutive whirling dervish and, of course, it was o­nly a matter of time before some lucky awestruck fan, the first of many, was brought up o­n stage and treated to a tune. Actually, Prince was in an exceptionally playful mood last night, alternately cajoling and encouraging the crowd to get funky as he regaled them with a slew of new, largely unfamiliar tunes from his unsung more recent work, particularly his new release, "Rainbow Children". Nevertheless, the crowd surrendered to the sheer funkiness of the new tunes, dancing in the aisles and grooving all the while, a fact that wasn't lost upon Prince and company. As a matter of fact, almost a full half of the concert took place with the house lights o­n at Prince's repeated bequest, seemingly so that he might take it all in. Obviously moved by the crowd response, he did throw in a few classic tunes for good measure, including stunning renditions of "When You Were Mine", "Raspberry Beret", "I Wanna Be Your Lover", and "Nothing Compares to You" before bringing down the house with "Purple Rain". Almost three hours after it began, numerous jams and a couple of encores later, Prince, wearing a Canadiens' jersey, bid a fond farewell to his fans, proving to o­ne and all, that he remains the crown "prince" of funk.

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