PRINCE @ THE OGDEN THEATRE | 5.12.13 Prince had one job last night, and that was to make this crowd forget about the price of admission. For about sixty of the ninety minutes he was on stage at the Ogden, he did just that, but his focus on the obscure, the new and the abrupt ending of the show left everyone feeling like they didn't get enough. It felt like eating dinner at a fancy Chinese restaurant: Everything was delicious, fresh and enticing, but ultimately, all you did was pay a bunch of money to feel hungry an hour later.
See also: - Slide show: Prince fans at the Ogden last night - Donna Grantis of 3rd Eye Girl on what it's like to play with Prince - Monday: Prince and 3rd Eye Girl at Ogden Theatre, 8 & 11:30 p.m., 5/13/13
It has been promised that no two shows would be alike on this entire tour. This leaves room for quirky choices, and rarely performed sleepers. This approach didn't leave a lot of room for the classics. So did he play enough of the classics? A quick temperature check outside the Ogden after the show says no. Even so, when the classics showed up, they were incredible.
Things started off well. We were treated to a chopped and screwed version of "Let's Go Crazy" that just kicked the funk out. "Endorphin Machine" from The Gold Experience admittedly sounded better than it ever has and left a few people in the crowd turning to their friends doing the Kanye shrug. "Do you guys mind if we lip sync? Since everybody else is doing it" was the way Prince introduced a much beefier, bluesier version of his latest single, "Screwdriver."
The band, consisting of new protégés 3rd Eye Girl, played like they could barely be contained and you got the feeling that lead guitarist (yes, lead guitarist) Donna Grantis might just consume Prince whole one of these nights on stage. She is that much of a beast. Don't fret, Prince has shed his megalomaniacal ways in recent years and become a more benevolent band leader fostering growth and development (no, seriously, this man will be speaking at business seminars before you know it).
So it must be this new, chill Prince who was responsible for a set list that dovetailed into "Dolphin" before anyone even knew it. Prince should be either commended or punished for playing an odds and ends set culled from his catalog and a few covers that had no rhyme or reason. It honestly sounded like he chose these songs because he lost a bet at first. But if you were down to bask in the glow of the purple one then you could definitely get down with this song selection. If you were looking for more bang for your buck, it looks like you would have been better off at the late show that followed this one.
Maybe Prince just wants to go all Band of Gypsys on us since the ladies could more than handle the challenge. This was a set of songs that would sound wicked if played by Jimi Hendrix and Band of Gypsys. "FixUrLifeUp" is a new song that definitely benefited from the chunky retro arrangements which were on full display, like when a riff that could have been "All Along the Watchtower" slowly birthed "Colonized Minds" from the unfortunately spelled LotusFlow3r back in 2009.