ONA Kansas City Review
ONA-Kansas City Review
Just got back from the KC show...I live about 2.5 hrs away from KC, so I'm just getting online to let everyone know how it went.
I am a member of the NPGMC, but I had two friends of mine wanting to go with me(with membership could only take 1 guest). So I can't report on the soundcheck, but I'll do the best on everything else.
Five minutes before the show started, I saw Candy Dulfer head back to the back of the theatre. I don't think the majority of the people there knew who she actually was...but she did have her sax with her and had some pretty serious personell following her around, so she got more than a few glances.
A few minutes before that, a guy came out and lit the inscense they had on each side of the stage. They had like 2 little fancy inscence pots with like 8 sticks or so in each, and the guy just came out and lit them with a lighter. Me and my friend were joking on how they better get the show started before the "atmosphere" was gone.
In the NPGMC section, there couldn't have been more than 30(maybe 40 at most) people sitting down there...no joke. There were only 3 rows, and in the Midland theatre, there were no seats on the side where the speakers obstructed the view, so the seats only went the width of the stage between the speakers. It was hilarious...there is like this total barricade blocking the NPGMC members from the rest...it was easy to pick the club out from the rest.
Now I have read what people have said about the stage setup, but I never could quite grasp what the stage would look like from peoples descriptions. I always thought it would look like the inside of "I dream of Jeannies" bottle or something. But its like this: Renato's keyboards are to the left, then Rhonda stands right after him, more towards the center of the stage, John Blackwell is sitting behind a plastic see through case playing drums in center back, then there is a platform immediately on the right of the drum set which featured Maceo Parker, Candy Dulfer, and Greg Boyer(trombone). To the front right stage there is another keyboard setup, made for Prince, which is incidentally on wheels(more on this later). Behind all of the setup there is a white backdrop which is used most of the time as a video screen, where various images are shown...in correspondence to the song...wavy water on rainbow children, planes and bombs and people checking their luggage at airport terminals on Xenophobia, the Abraham Lincoln quote before Avalanche, pictures of old book pages to do with slavery during Family name, there was fire on one screen, several times they put up images of free flight through blue sky and clouds(usually when Prince was talking about God) and stars flying at you like in outer space when he sang Anna Stesia...Also the http://www.npgmusicclub.com logo at the end while everyone was leaving the venue, and at the end of the concert when Anna Stesia was followed by a quick recapture of Rainbow Children, there were the words "rise" raising up on the screen....very cool. The lighting was top notch...I actually thought I might have eye damage after some of it...flashing strobe type lights on various parts of songs, and intense flooding colors(oranges, greens, purples(of course). Oh, and did I forget to mention the flat plastic tall bubble contraption that had bubbles racing through colored lights and water by Renato's keyboards. And the old car grill tht was a front to Prince's keyboards?
Ok, sorry enough of details...on to the show...well pretty much the same setlist as everywhere else. Prince was dressed in sort of a white sleeved get up, I think the middle suit section was maroon. His look is very Jam of the Yearish(imho). During Adore, when he was joking about smashing up the ride, he said- "what baby? You did what? My ride? You smashed up my ride? Where is it? In the front? OOh lawd...who was in the front seat with you? Maceo Parker? Oh that's alright...I guess I'm going to have to just produce his next album for him or something..."
He didn't pick anyone to change last names with on Family name, but when he said..."Violet Brown" he said afterwards, "Sounds like an oxy-moron to me"
The set was very jazzy...even the uptempo songs were a little toned down. But Prince plays tons...I mean tons of guitar...mostly that tan one(is it a strato caster?). He only dawned Habibi on Anna Stesia and the end of Family Name.
He also asked the "would you rather give or receive?" to this one girl and she actually said "give" and she had a look on her face like she knew what was coming. So he said, "So why don't you give your front row seat to the poor guy behind you?" And then, just when Prince thought she wasn't going to, and even chimed in with a "doesn't sound so great to give now, huh?" type remark, she switched seats with the guy(it was still in the NPGMC seats...like I said...only 3 rows! So he said to the girl...for being a giver, I wanna give something to you...a guitar solo. Then he brought her upstage and played for her as she sit on a pillow.
The show was pretty high energy, even during the slow songs, but I gotta say, I was getting a tad sleepy when he was doing the ballad medley thing. I think it was a mixture of hearing these songs so many times, plus it was just him and his keyboard, and one still blue light on him(at first this was cool, but this portion of the program I swear went on for like, at least 40 minutes, with no change in atmosphere or sound except for when songs(or shall I say, short interpretations of the songs) changed.
Prince is still a first class act on stage, especially in this age of such fabricated commercial cerealbox suprise type bands. But like Prince says in the ONA tour, "If you drove here in your Little Red Corvette, you might have come to the wrong place...last time I checked this was not 1984"(that's what he said in KC).
Prince is in a new stage of his career. And what I saw of him in KC was less of the pop-py, dancy, get all in your face-dirty let's see how many splits he can do type Prince.
It was more of the jazzy, slow and mid-tempo groove, no dancing but lots of guitar, lets let a song unfold the right way no matter how long it takes, lounge music type Prince. I like it very much, but I think its going to take some time for people to get used to it...I suspect even some of his hardcore fans.
Oh, and by the way, at the concerts outro, Prince(after leaving the stage), re-introduced the band using the Bob George voice changer and it has been here that he has announced the official after party. He didn't mention one for KC. By the way, I love the voice changer, especially on Family Name when he is doing Thomas Jefferson. Sorry so long!
*layin' phat claims 2 the new power booty!*
"this is where the PURPLE PARTY PEOPLE be"
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thank you for the review and the description of the stage set-up!
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