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Issue 1090

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Prince & 3RDEYEGIRL: Ronnie Scotts, London 17/2/14

Prince & 3RDEYEGIRL: Ronnie Scotts, London 17/2/14
Prince & 3RDEYEGIRL: Ronnie Scotts, London 17/2/14

Well no doubt you must all be aware, Prince & 3RDEYEGIRL have been in town recently popping up unexpectedly (guerrilla stylee) at smallish venues, including recent B&S cover girl Lianne La Havas' tiny flat! All causing a rush of excitement in the capital and long queues as a result and tonight world famous Ronnie Scotts club would be no exception! The queue had started at 6am, so it might be rather fatuous to say, expectations were running exceedingly high!

Two separate shows were the order of the day at Soho's most finest and I was in for the second show (which most of the celebs stayed for as well) An absolutely heaving Ronnie's experienced a blistering two hour set, which encompassed selections from his vast repertoire and some interesting coversâ€Â¦

The first number being Billy Cobham's "Stratus", an absolute giant in the canon of Jazz Funk. Prince seated playing electric keyboard sounded cool, calm and collected as he noodled on with his jazzy tinkling. Adorned in what looked like a white hair net hiding his new afro look and Hendrixified demeanour! A great start with a great all girl band featuring guitarist; Donna Grantis, bassist Ida Nielsen and drummer Hannah Ford Welton. The band more than held their own with their musical genius boss, proving their immaculate credentials in the field of serious jazz / funk chops as well as their proven and absolutely necessary, heavy rock skills. They were joined after a few numbers on by special guest saxophonist Marcus Anderson, who added that Maceo 'good vibes' touch.

His Purpleness was hell bent on blowing our tiny minds and the inclusion of "777 9311" certainly did the trick! Who can forget this cult classic from "The Time" way back in '82. This perky and funky song opened with a drum machine, but let's face it the bass is truly the 'star' of this song - Prince knows this is one of his signature basslines and can't resist grabbing the bass from his band member, tearing a 32 bar bass groove to die for! I'd forgotten about his rampant and truly unique bass playing, folks were duly impressed which teed up sweetly the next pearl of a tune "Something In The Water" (Does Not Compute) or as Little Britain might add "The Computer Says No!"

At last a preview of what's to be expected on the new album "Plectrum Electrum" and if this is anything to go by, we are are in for a royal treat. This is classic Prince and it seems he is back with vengeance judging by this peach of a tune, shame he didn't do the guitar solo (however good Donna Granta is) in fact he didn't touch the damn thing all night, which was a personal let down for me. A bit like going to see the famous whirlwind Buddy Rich whose only there playing bongos!

Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" was a surprise inclusion on the night, especially when a million function bands ruin it daily - obviously Prince ain't bored with it. But my eyes, sorry to say, glazed over on this particular one.

However and moving swiftly onâ€Â¦"A Love Bizarre", Sheila E's 1985 hit got a surprise airing. A glorious one chord grooving chant and an excellent vehicle for the guest saxophonist to sink his teeth into, by this time the crowd were swaying to this funked up stomp the party was in full swing mode, which is just as well as the classic hits poured out including; "When Doves Cry", "Sign Of The Times" and the ultimate crowd pleaser and rousing finaleâ€Â¦yes you've guessed it, "Purple Rain"!

If that wasn't enough there was a full 20 minute encore featuring a slowed down and riff heavy version of "Let's Go Crazy", which I can safely say fully satiated the hungry horde who hung on his every note and wordâ€Â¦ Job's a goo-dun (wish) "My Name Is Prince and I am Funky!" So be itâ€Â¦Prince took over as Hendrix left the building all those years ago.
Words Emrys Baird

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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