Prince concert at the Cleveland State University Convocation Center (part of his “Hit + Run Tour“) on November 2000 with a scheduled starting time of 8 p.m.
GREAT CONCERT THAT WAS WORTH THE WEIGHT OF PEOPLE PUSHING YOU BEFORE THE SHOW
My wife Heidi and I arrived in Cleveland, Ohio at the CSU Convocation Center around 6pm to meet up with some friends. The amount of people in line was moderate and there was a nice atmosphere and cheerful people on this brisk autumn night.
After some snacks and mingling, we got stuck in our spots at about 7 p.m. as everyone clammered by their respective sections to get into the arena. A delay in opening the inside doors caused some uncomfortable waiting time as people tried to squish through each other even though there was no place to go. Everyone got some much-needed space as the doors finally opened around 7:40 p.m.
Prince’s continues to present audiences with a dual personality theme in his music (Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic album credited Prince as producer with 0)+-> arranging, composing, and performing the music) as a short-haired “Prince” came on the floor around 8:30 p.m. whipping the audience into a frenzy. Prince wore a sleek black long-sleeved outfit and eventually took his seat after some mingling and waves to the audience.
At approximately 9 p.m.“The Artist” (sporting longer hair) came out to begin the concert. The introduction music includes bits of 1992’s hit “My Name is Prince” and led into a classic collage of hits including “Uptown” and “Controversy”. Prince’s number one focus was definitely the audience as he floated from various instruments (keyboards, guitars, etc.). Prince (or the Artist, which ever you prefer…our ticket stub says Prince) consistently jumped up on the huge row of speakers to the left and right of the stage. He continued to entertain audience members with some incredible dance moves to compliment his formidable vocal talents in hits “Cream”, “Little Red Corvette” and “I Wanna Be Your Lover”.
His gifted NPG (New Power Generation) band and a lovely female dancer complete the stage talent performing on a fairly basic stage with good lighting and a tall cloth drop screen (black on top, white on the bottom) used for angled projections of fire, cityscapes and other backgrounds. After an extended dance and drum break, Prince continued with songs including “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man” from his 1987 Sign O’ the Times album “Do Me Baby”, “Diamonds and Pearls”, “Scandalous”. Most of the audience stood for most of the show and answered back Prince’s vocal prompts to finish the lyrics of his famous songs. Saxophone solos, extended raps, guitar showcases, and great dancing increase the overall entertainment value of Prince’s “hit parade” while allowing much-needed performing breaks.
Prince’s shortened performances of “The Beautiful Ones” and “Nothing Compares 2 U” are amazing testaments to his talent and versatility. After a short break, he reappears to cut into a Purple Rain grouping of “Let’s Go Crazy” and “Take Me With U”, then “Raspberry Beret”. In Prince’s “Darling Nikki” performance the dancer comes out in a provocative schoolgirl outfit which produces a sexy sideshow to compliment the song.
“When Doves Cry” and “Purple Rain” finish a great song run which is followed by a spirited talk with the audience about universal law, God, and the current music business complimented by a song called “When Will We Be Paid” (…for the work that we have done). Prince points out how DJs lack of power to play great musicians and local bands has been replaced by a large national playlist of “popular” acts like Britney Spears and Eminem. “It seems like I can’t get on the radio these days…that’s OK…I’ve been on the radio,” says Prince as the audience roars with approval. A polite Prince kept reassuring the audience that he “doesn’t want to step on anyone’s toes” as he expounds on these interesting issues. Prince also tells the audience to trust in God and not be worried about the current election issues concerning our nation’s President.
Prince continues the music with “U Got the Look” then audience members are invited on the stage to dance during a quick version of “Kiss”. “Gett Off” kicks off a driving funkfest with special guest George Clinton who basically screams to the delighted audience as the concert closes with hidden gem “Come On” from Prince’s 1998 New Power Soul album. Prince thanks the audience several times and exits with his band as the arena lights are immediately turned on to cut off the encore chants of “We want Prince” from the audience. I wasn’t really bothered with this approach. It just demonstrates Prince’s evolving creative independence from the music industry and financial freedom to conduct his concerts as he sees fit.
Outside the arena, concert patrons were receiving invitations to a party hosted by The Artist with special guest Prince at a location in Cleveland which was also announced at the end of the concert which seemed to help “soften the blow” of the absence of encore requests as audience members buzzed with excitement. My wife and I did not attend, but couldn’t help thinking what that experience would’ve been like. If we only didn’t have to work tomorrow morning.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler