Review: Prince and 3RDEYEGIRL at Shepherd's Bush Empire
We were lucky enough to grab a ticket for the hottest shown in town. Spoiler: it was BRILLIANT.
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Prince has pretty much thrown London into a frenzy since his triumphant return to the UK last week. And he continues to melt the internet on a daily basis as devoted fans speculate where he's going to crop up next.
After a few days laying low, last night he resurfaced at the 2,000 capacity Shepherd's Bush Empire for a mammoth two-hour set.
Despite the rumoured price tag of £70 per person, thousands queued all day in the wind and cold for the gig. It turned out to be a bargain tenner entry fee, but members of the devoted #princearmy told us they'd have paid up to a grand to see The Purple One in such an intimate environment.
Flanked by his incredible band 3RDEYEGIRL, the icon took to the stage just after 8pm and ran through a wealth of new material, mirroring the first half from last week's Camden gigs. He's certainly a modest one, though, is our Prince, asking the crowd dying She's Always In My Hair: "D'yall mind if I play my guitar?" Considering he's undoubtedly the greatest living guitarist of our generation, we don't think anyone would ever have a problem with that.
It was after the first set when the crowd really came alive, though, with the icon taking to his piano to play a sublime medley of some of his best-known hits, including How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore, Purple Rain and Do Me, Baby, to rapturous delight.
"Do you wanna play with me?" Prince asks during another medley. And it certainly seemed like Prince was in a playful mood, throwing out absolutely belting pieces of music, like The Most Beautiful Girl In The World and I Would Die 4 U, as if they were filler. Any other artist would kill for a back catalogue like Prince's.
But the new stuff is brilliant too. Pretzelbodylogic is a roaring, arms-in-the-air funk anthem (could we get away with using the phrase Funkasaurous?), while Plectrum Electrum is an all-out, brazen guitar-fuelled masterpiece. It really is exciting to be a Prince fan again.
So was it worth a tenner? Definitely. Would it have been worth £70? Most probably. And a grand? We wouldn't count that out from most of the Prince Army last night. Prince is back, and let's hope he isn't going away again anytime soon.
Where will Prince play next? Keep an eye on @3RDEYEGIRL for the latest updates.
Words: Ryan Butcher, @ryanjohnbutcher