Prince is no stranger to generating media hysteria, whether it be changing his name or creating his own androgynous symbol, the star never fails to create a stir, and it seems this recent visit to London to promote his new album ‘Plectrum Electrum’ is no exception. Having performed a series of secret free shows at Camden’s Electric Ballroom earlier this week, eager fans were keeping their ears to the ground for information on where this enigmatic artist might surface next.
News emerged early yesterday morning that Prince was appearing at London’s Shepherds Bush Empire. As news soon spread amongst social networks, the throngs of people could be seen queuing all along Shepherds Bush. With a capacity of nearly 2000, (almost double the Electric Ballroom) if there was an opportunity to see the musical icon in person, this was it.
Starting at 8pm, Prince began the show showcasing new material from his new album ‘Plectrum Electrum’ with his all girl backing band 3rd Eye Girl. Despite the lack of familiarity with the new material, the barrage of heavy funk riffs and dance grooves ensured there wasn’t a still person in the room. Even at 55 years old, Prince showed that he still has what it takes to captivate an audience, between the Hendrix inspired guitar solos and the Jackson-esque dance moves it was clear that this was no ramblings of a musical has been.
Finishing up his set (or so we thought!) he returned to the stage to perform some of his greatest hits with nothing but a piano, his voice and a room full of eager backing singers. After renditions of ‘Purple Rain’ ‘When Doves Cry’ and ‘Diamonds and Pearls’ Prince brought back his backing band to rock out some more new material and some surprise covers. Their rendition of Wild Cherry’s ‘Play That Funky Music’ couldn’t have been more fitting and set the room alight.
Never one to play by the rules, Prince then returned for a further five encores, (or so we think, we stopped counting after five!) delighting audiences again and again. After an hour and a half encore section and various call and responses with the crowd, spreading his message of ‘peace and love’, Prince finally exited the stage promising to return in the future with more secret shows across London.
For anyone who hasn’t seen Prince before, we can highly recommend that you try to see him in action, as these words don’t do him justice. Here at Matchbox Music we shall try and keep our eyes and ears open and keep you updated with any future developments.