Better than…almost anything else.
For the second time this week, eccentric and elusive music legend Prince showed up to play a very late night set in Hollywood. Tucked away behind a Papaya King, The Sayers Club has a speakeasy vibe, and Prince and the New Power Generation hit the small stage at 12:30 am.
The crowd included just over 200 people, including Robert Pattinson, and Kristen Stewart. He had his arm around her and at another point she was holding on to his arm.
The room was abuzz with anticipation two hours before Prince appeared. Once he emerged it was immediately clear that the wait was worth it. To start the show, Prince's protege and latest NPG member — singer/guitarist Andy Allo — opened with her recent single “People Pleaser,” executive produced by Prince. As Allo crooned, some of Prince's horn players played behind her, dancing in unison, while Prince played guitar at the back of the stage. He wore sunglasses, a zipped up black sweater, and black pants.
When he moved to center stage the audience went ballistic. His huge band was comprised of 11 horn players, two keyboardists, two back up singers, two drummers (who alternated on songs), two guitarists, a bassist, and a back up dancer. Prince joked to the crowd: “The name of the band is TMP, too many people.”
See also: The Best Los Angeles Concerts of 2011
Even though it was late, the crowd was enthusiastic with a wild and electric energy. Everyone was screaming, dancing, and holding their hands up in the air above their heads, swaying with the music.
You never know what you'll get when Prince plays a small club. This time around, he performed some of his more popular songs including “Pop Life” and “U Got The Look.” He also did his newest single “Rock & Roll Love Affair” and two covers, Sly and The Family Stone's “Everyday People” and Cold Blood's “Shop Talk.” For “The Dance Electric,” a song written by Prince but originally recorded by his former bassist Andre Cymone, Cymone joined Prince onstage.
Prince seemed enthralled with watching his musicians jam. Dancing to their music with a smile and stepping aside for saxophone and drum solos, at one point he pointed to his extensive line up of brass players and said, “Real music, real musicians.”
He was in near-perfect form as usual, brilliant on guitar with masterful vocals and great charisma. His musicians are simultaneously tight and relaxed with each other. It's a cliche to say by now, but a Prince show leaves you wanting more.
He didn't talk to the crowd much, other than to say “Thank you, Hollywood” a number of times. The show ended at 2 am, but the crowd seemed to be just getting started, chanting, “We want more! We want more!” Oh well. Ninety minutes with Prince in a tiny venue? We'll take it.
Personal Bias: I saw Prince at The Troubadour and figured nothing could top that show. But I was wrong.
The Crowd: Oh, Jeremy Piven was also there.
Random Notebook Dump: Everyone had to check their cell phones at the venue's entrance, so nobody could text friends to brag about where they were.
Set list below
Rock & Roll Love Affair (with teases of When You Were Mine)
U Got The Look
Everyday People (Sly and the Family Stone cover)
The Dance Electric
Shop Talk (Cold Blood cover)