I don’t understand why bands (or venues) cater for the cheaper standing ticket buyers before the more expensive seated guests. Given the option, and I didn’t have it because the standing seats sold out in under two minutes, I’d have been down there in the throng rather than perched up high overlooking four ants and a melee of mostly middle aged funk rock fans lapping up what they were clearly enjoying.
I was particularly looking forward to Prince because of advance reviews and the fact the gig was in the largely lauded SSE Hydro. However it turns out the advance publicity was misplaced.
Let’s start with the venue.
The sound, from Block 224 Row P, Door G was shite. Absolute shite. Prince sounded like he was being broadcast across an AM transmitter and the Bass was turned up to 11. No mid tones AT ALL. It was painful.
The visuals. I’d have liked to have seen what was on the three screens mounted centre stage and pointed slightly downwards directly towards the standing audience, but I couldn’t because the sound and lighting rig obliterated everything. Consequently we were viewers from afar.
I left at the end of the 14 song greatest hits main set and his first encore. It included all the classics including Let’s go Crazy, Raspberry Beret, U got the Look, Kiss, When Doves Cry, Sign of the Times, 1999, Little Red Corvette and a cover of The Family’s Nothing Compares to You (which does not remotely compare to the far superior cover by Sinead O’Connor).
By then I’d had enough; the sound and visual experience having been so bad (thanks SSE Hydro), but decided on my way out to try my luck getting into the mosh pit. To my surprise I outwitted the security and found myself at the back of the throng as Prince re-entered. Immediately the sound became more acceptable and I could see the action on the screen, even on the stage. As the seemingly endless encores (all 14 of them) wore on I got nearer to the front only for the sound to once again deteriorate as it was reflected off the back wall creating something akin to a sound moiri pattern in the centre of the arena.
The improved experience was also patchy as most of Prince’s best numbers (Little Red Corvette being a stand out) were used up in the mess that was his main set.
However, we were treated to an epic Purple Rain that was good, as well as some nice covers (Play that Funky Music, Live it Up and Crimson and Clover).
Encore 2 which included Sometimes it Snows in April was good but too long and lost his audience who began talking around me.
Encore 3 (Housequake) was the ludicrously bad low point of the whole affair and the closer. He shouldn’t have bothered and, instead, licensed it to Stars on 45.
Overall a poor experience. Had I have been in the cheap seats throughout I suspect I’d have been a lot more enthusiastic but I’d have been disappointed with the very long encores.
As for his performance (technical issues aside) you have to say that at 55 he has lost none of his singing skills in fact at points they were outrageously good or his astounding guitar skills (his sidekick, Donna, falls intro the same category).
He has a degree of showmanship about him that can be endearing ibut are also a little tedious at times “Come on Glasgow” x 100 and constant singalongaprince moments does grate.
The diehards loved it.
The diehards, however, are a lot more forgiving than me.
Iincidentally his May 17th setlist In Manchester was nearly an hour longer and looked far better structured)