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Prince Delivers a Powerhouse Performance at The Forum

Sarah Erickson |
April 25, 2011 | 9:45 a.m. PDT


Prince (via Wikimedia Commons)
Prince (via Wikimedia Commons)
A dimming of the lights… a crowd that buzzed with anticipation leapt to its feet and roared before the first chord even sounded... Then, like true music royalty, Prince delivered. 

Performing in The Forum’s 360-degree venue upon a stage shaped like his legendary symbol, Prince and his tight band unleashed a powerhouse concert Saturday night as a part of his “21 Night Stand” in LA during his Welcome 2 America tour. 

Taking the stage at 9:10PM, Prince put forward an over 3-hour pop-funk-R&B-rock music extravaganza that featured scores of his fans’ favorite hits such as “Raspberry Beret,” “Little Red Corvette” and “Purple Rain.” Two dancers and a fiercely talented backup band, which was so great they could've played solo all night long, trumpeted Prince’s arrival onto the stage. Once there, he gracefully sauntered about in his white suit and boots with black detailing, then opened his arms and welcomed his audience on every side of the stage. The upbeat “D.M.S.R.” set the tone for this energetic concert of chart-toppers.

After seamlessly transitioning from the opening to “Pop Life” and into “Musicology,” Prince slowed it down with the cozy ballad “Extraordinary,” which was one of several songs over the course of the evening that got the audience swaying and cuddling.   

It’s hard to go wrong with a set list when you have as many hits as Prince, but even with that guaranteed foundation, he did a great job of constructing the concert into an ebb and flow that allowed the audience to dance and get excited for several tracks before directing that energy into sexy slower rhythms like “Cream” and a cover of “Make you Feel My Love.”

The entire performance was dynamic: from the moment the concert began one couldn’t help but dance and sing along. Even after hours of grooving to the music (the show lasted well beyond midnight), it was an effort to take a seat for a breather. This can be attributed to the ferocious talent of the backup singers – who took center stage during costume changes – and ensemble band as much as to Prince’s tireless enthusiasm. 

As if Prince himself weren’t enough, the concert opened on a literal high note with the mind-blowing vocals of Chaka Khan who belted out her hits “Tell Me Something Good” and “I’m Every Woman.” Wearing a glittery black tunic, tight pants, heeled boots and that massive ‘do, she looked every bit an old-school diva – sparkling with every shimmy.

Frequent collaborator Sheila E. made appearances throughout the show, singing and killing on the drums during “Mountains,” “Everyday People,” and her classic - written by Prince – “The Glamorous Life.” Guitarist Larry Graham also added funk and soul to his band’s originals “Everyday People” and “Thank You (Falettinme be Mice Elf Agin).”

Fully invested in his audience, the 52-year-old ageless rocker even brought them onto the stage to dance with him multiple times. At one point Prince appeared to challenge a woman from the crowd to “dance battle” with him on stage, but she – wisely so – didn’t take the bait, to his obvious disappointment.

Rounding off the show (or so we thought!) with confetti rockets and an encore performance of a medley of crowd-pleasers, plus a full rendition of “Adore” left the audience chanting “We love Prince” in the dark. Early exiters beware: Prince gave his people what they wanted – in a total of four encores!

With plenty of LA performances left and tickets starting at an affordable $25, Prince’s “21 Nite Stand” is not one to miss! 


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