Thursday, September 27, 2012

But I say it's only mountains and the sea

So I went back to the United Center last night to see Janelle Monae open for Prince, thanks to the clearance-priced tickets...

...And ended up with a priceless show with eleventy-thousand encores, including one that was just Prince, soloing on the piano with "How Come U Don't Call Me Any More?" "Do Me Baby" and "I Wanna Be Your Lover." Although we saw the show on different nights, I agree with this assessment.

But my favorite moment was hearing the song I'd forgotten about, the one that I dug, yeah, but never really dug into (and who bought Parade, anyway?), the one that was a middling hit in the summer of 1986, a summer about which I actually remember most details--movies I saw and with whom, who got a drivers license, who worked at which mall job, how I couldn't wait to get back to doing plays and speech at school.

Damn, this came at me hard, the culmination of a night that was in every way better than Monday's already "okay, I saw Prince; therefore it is good' show: sound, energy, set, pace. It had joy--and ass. My friend reported that an audience member nearby declared loudly during the "Do Me/Lover" encore that, to paraphrase, something was happening to her underwear.

He really is a sexy m.f. And ageless, too.

Anyway, at this juncture, there was such a great groove going, it was clear we were reaching the ecstatic apex of the show proper, which we slid deliciously back down with "Purple Rain" and an actual, gawddamn weep-inducing guitar solo played under a glitter-rain of confetti. We were all testifying, child. TESTIFY. Oh, this was a show.

So, yeah, back to that groove apex: until I heard the chorus I had the barest sense of recognition of this song.

Here it is, "Mountains," paired here as it was last night with "Everyday People," but featuring Sheila E., at the LA Forum shows in 2011.

But really, you should watch this clip from a Parade-era show, to feel me on this one.*

Prince Parade Tour Mountains

Anouk | Myspace Video

If you watch the "Purple Rain" clip in the set list link embedded above all the way through, Prince implores us to remember "we're s'posed to take care of each other."** Hollowly pontificating from the lip of your multi-million-dollar stage, was he? Do I believe him? I do. It's the same idea he laid down over Wendy and Lisa's track in "Mountains:" There's nothing greater than you and me.

Plus, there's a genuine simplicity about Prince now. It's apparent in an interview with Greg Kot that appeared in the Trib. He's out of the game. He's free to just make music, and give us what he called in his all-caps email interview with Time Out "A NIGHT 2 REMEMBER."

Oh, it was. To remember after, and remember during.

*edited to add: I have a feeling that for some, a Myspace login (!!) is required to view the Parade concert video. You can also try this: 

**edited to add: I withheld some information. The clip proves that I did hear right and Prince did tell us to "read your Bible" during the peak of "Purple Rain." But this, like the way I noticed he won't sing "in and out around your legs," "you got an ass like I never seeeeeeeeen" and other naughty bits in his older, racy material, I am going to ignore in deference to the greater good, i.e. my  having had a blast at these shows.

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